Most travel blogs you read will be inspirational, aspirational, even motivational. They will rouse up the fire and yearning in your heart to follow your dreams, seek out cool experiences and even just take a nice break from it all. It can be mighty tempting to jack it all in to chase rainbows and live the nomadic life. But let’s be totally real for a moment, travel isn’t always fun. It isn’t always easy. And you know what? Sometimes you don’t have a good time. And that’s ok.
When we arrived in Singapore this past Sunday we did not get off to the best of starts and from there small crappy moments just kept cropping up that eventually got on top of me. I was not enjoying Singapore one bit.
From our luggage that got caught on the wrong carousel for an hour to mouldy showers. It’s been piling up. The first hostel we stayed out was pretty much an open hallway with no lights, a bunch of dorms beds and the skankiest showers ever. The next hostel dorm was where we first met Pants-Man (aka world’s most horrendous snorer – our email subscribers have the full story there). And then, of course, there is the general expensiveness of Singapore which is quite the shock to the system when you’ve been enjoying chicken-on-a-stick for 30p in Thailand.
When I’m tired, sweaty and little niggle-y things like this keep happening I just get grumpy.
Yesterday I woke up grumpy. Nothing I did could shake off that feeling. And for the first time on this trip I almost felt a tad homesick.
So, why am I sharing all this boring grumpiness with you? Well, it all goes back to a conversation I had with a friend several years ago. Said friend had had a difficult time when backpacking and remarked that they weren’t like me and didn’t take to travelling so easily. I had been shocked that they had thought it had been an easy task for me. Had they not realised the homesickness, tears, tiredness and frustrations I had gone through on my travels? Of course not. Why would they? They’d been reading my blog, a blog which recounted all the good times. It made it look exciting, adventurous and care-free. I hadn’t dwelled on the moments when I phoned home crying, feeling lonely. Because who wants to read about that? Who wants to admit that?
There is a general feeling amongst travellers that travelling is the best way of living, and we should certainly feel grateful for the chance to be able to do so. It almost feels that to have a bad time, or moment, is frowned upon because TRAVELLING IS THE BESTEST THING EVER, YEAH!
Most of the time I get that.
But let’s be real here. Life is rarely sunshine and unicorns all the time. Life is raw, emotional and challenging. The rollercoaster analogy exists for a reason. We have loads of ups and downs, and going travelling doesn’t change or stop that.
Sometimes when you travel you have bad days. Even bad weeks. That is a fact.
It’s important we recognise that, and to a certain extent share that. By sharing, others who end up in the same boat don’t feel like a massive failure if they’re not having the most amazing time of their life every single minute that they’re abroad.
So here it is: travel is sometimes hard, lonely, challenging or not fun.
And that is ok.
You roll with those times and it gets better.
Being able to overcome the sucky times is rewarding in itself and you’ll have some great travel stories to boot.
And when those awesome travel moments do come around you’ll totally be pleased that you stuck it out.