Travel can be rough, gritty, dirty and smelly and it will probably give you the shits. Literally.
There’s some really awesome motivational photos on Pinterest and Instagram showing someone with a backpack standing atop a mountain, overlooking a lake and just looking motivational in general.
If you’ve ever climbed up a mountain you’ll know that by the time you reach the top you’ll be out of breath, sweaty and laying on the ground. If by chance you have a tripod or have gone along with a friend, you can then quickly get your dishonest photo that shows only one tiny fixed point of an activity that was a journey, and not a snapshot.
By the same token, most of those photos you see showing a quaint little bamboo hut perched on a river bank, probably doesn’t show you the open sewerage channel running behind it.
You probably know that I’m a full time traveller, after all you’re not reading an article on stationaryminimalist.com, so why am I being negative about travelling? I still love travelling, I’m just trying to demonstrate that travel is never what you expect it will be, which is half the fun, but can sometimes come as quite a shock.
Like most Western Australians, my first overseas trip was to Bali and I can remember always hearing about the fun things to do, the laid back culture and just how awesome in general that people found it to be. When I arrived however, I was met by rude airport officials and then took an hour long taxi ride through the craziest and busiest traffic I had ever seen, being harassed by beggars at traffic lights, and just seeing dirty, poverty stricken lifestyles in general.
Of course Bali turned out to be pretty cool in the end when you made it out of the places that were overrun by Australians, which is tragically almost everywhere now. I had a fantastic time and have been there since but I was amazed at how much of a contrast there was between expectation and reality.
I’m not quite sure what the point of this whole story is, It just seems relevant to ponder about these things now that I’m living in Bangkok.
Travel is a permanent battle between the desire to seek constructive discomfort and the human need for comfort. But I suppose all good things are.