The decision to travel to Australia was the best decision I have ever made in my life. Thank you past Steph for taking the leap and going when you weren’t quite ready. I have pushed myself out of my comfort zone, done some awesome activities and seen some amazing things. But it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. Here is my experience with some of the lows of travelling.
The Comforts Of Home
The biggest thing I am struggling with while I am away is missing the comforts of home. The smell and feel of freshly cleaned sheets in the familiar Areal gel. Being able to spread out in a big, comfortable double bed.
Everything having its own home. Living out of a suitcase or backpack can become tiring. It’s an effort to get clothes out every day. Meaning the same outfit gets worn several days in a row and the sniff test has become a regular occurrence. Taking toiletries with you to the bathroom every day instead of them having their own place.
Not having space in the kitchen to cook and clean properly, so making quick meals with fewer utensils. It’s not easy living out of hostels. I have been doing it for 4 months now and 3 months ago I was ready for it to end.
The TimeZone Difference
This has hit me the hardest at times where I have been struggling to make a decision. When I have arrived in places that are awful or that I am not comfortable being and I have had to decide between, sticking it out, moving hostels, moving cities, going home.
I am the worst at making a decision and sometimes I just need to talk it through with someone who knows me, knows what I like and can help guide my thoughts. Having to wait until 3 pm for the UK to wake up each day is tough.
It’s also the wrong end of the day as few people have the time to talk in the mornings as they are getting ready for work. If I want to catch them in the evenings before bed I have to wake up super early.
Due to the lack of comforts and poor sleep my routine is completely out of wack. So waking up early at the moment doesn’t happen unless I have a flight or an early activity and then I end up not really sleeping anyway.
The Privacy and Alone Time
As an introvert, I am discovering that this means I am not anti-social, I just recharge when I am on my own. It takes a lot of my mental energy to keep introducing myself to people, to build up the courage to say hello. It’s not a case of the more I do it the easier it gets. It’s a case of, if I am in the right mood the easier it is. But to be in the right mood, I need to have had some time by myself.
Finding time to be by myself whilst living in hostels has not been easy. I missing cooking in a kitchen on my own. Having a podcast or the radio blaring out while I dance around the kitchen and make healthy food. Laying in a bed of an evening and reading and then falling asleep in complete darkness and silence. Having breakfast and easing into the day before making conversation. All these things are hard to do whilst living in a hostel and being surrounded by people.
Dealing With Illness
I have been very fortunate so far that I have only had a few illnesses. I have IBS which means I am intolerant to certain foods. When I do eat them or if I am particularly stressed I can become bloated and incredibly uncomfortable.
Early on in my trip, while I was on the tour, we were on the go pretty much 24/7. I was not able to get into my usual healthy food routine and the free options on offer were not IBS friendly. So I ended up in a lot of pain.
As I write this on Sunday the 6th of October I have a cold. Not a bad one, but enough that it has completely drained me of energy. Combined with being at the beginning of my cycle this has meant I have hardly moved for the last few days.
Every time I have been in pain or felt ill, it has made me want to go home. Not literally, but home is all I can think of and it seems like the best option at the time. I recognised today that I get this down in the dumps, emotional, ‘I want to go home’ feeling every month. Having been on contraception for years I hadn’t recognised how my feelings and emotions changed throughout the months, until now.
Now I know this is the case, I am able to tell myself that it is just a phase and to stop being ridiculous. It also means I will not be booking any flights during this week of the month.
Reframing the Lows
In fact, as I recognise what causes the lows I can look back at the things I miss about home and the things that are hard and reframe them.
The Comforts of Home
Although I miss my bed dearly, sticking it out here will make me appreciate it so much more when I go home. I am also learning to cope with less sleep. Practice for if I have children one day.
Not being able to ask for help, when you need to, can be positive. When I am trying to make a tough decision and I really just want to talk to my mum about it and can’t. I end up forcing myself to make the decision anyway. Or at least think about and research all the options more before talking to her.
Most times I will have come to my own conclusion before she wakes up and doesn’t bother her with it anyway. There have still been times when I have talked it through with her. But in general, I think the lack of communication with home has forced me to be even more independent.
Privacy and Alone Time
Although solo travel can be lonely as you don’t have the deep connections with people that you do at home. All the people you meet are going through the exact same thing you are. Sometimes I call home and talk to my family about the lows I am feeling and they just don’t get it. “At least it’s sunny there” “I would rather be feeling like that in Australia than at home”.
They all think I am so lucky to be here. Why would I waste this opportunity by being miserable or considering going home? But when you talk to others who are travelling and having the same struggles you feel far less lonely.
So although you don’t get privacy and alone time, you will always have someone to talk to that understands what you are going through.
Dealing with illness
I think this would be a lot harder to deal with if I was seriously ill while travelling. But as it’s mostly dietary and hormonal issues I have faced then this is positive. I am learning how my body works and what I need to do to keep it healthy. Right now I am not doing that and I am suffering for it. I recognise when I need to be easier on myself because emotions are going to be running high. And when I can allow myself to crack on.
To Sum Up
I hope this post has hoped you to realise that although travelling is an amazing experience. It is a LIFE experience, and in life, you cannot know a high unless you experience some lows. Life would be pretty mundane if we were happy 24/7.
So these are the lows of travelling that I have experienced while travelling so far. I know I need to allow myself to feel into them, understand the feelings and where they are coming from. Also to I know I need to learn from them, to reframe them or work around those feelings to get back to the highs I know I can feel.