Ain’t nobody want to see you down in the dumps because you’re living your dream and this shit should be fun.
The title of the blog post comes from a new Ed Sheeran song, Eraser. Granted, he’s talking about his life as a high-flying, global singer-songwriter. Alas, I am not. But the line is relatable and something I’ve been meaning to write about for a while: Living The Dream.
We’ve met a lot of people on our travels who said they were so envious of our lifestyle. We’re “living the dream” they’ve said. Travelling and working combined is certainly a blessing, and Mitch and I realise how lucky we are. We’re lucky, and for the most part, really happy with our lifestyle.
However, just because I’m happy with my lifestyle doesn’t mean I’m happy all the time. One of the problems with Instagram, Facebook, travel blogs (social media as a whole) is that we can so easily construct that we’re having a peachy rosy time and every day is a super adventure.
It’s really not. I’ve been sick a couple of times since arriving in Mexico but there aren’t any photos on Facebook of me curled up in bed looking pale are there? No. When I’m ill, I want nothing more than cheese on crumpets, a cup of tea, and Netflix. These things aren’t easy to access in China, Mexico, Laos, and other countries we’ve been to.
As Ed sings about, nobody wants to see you down because you’re “living the dream” and you can’t show that you’re unhappy because it seems ungrateful. I am happy. But, for everyone that thinks travelling is fun day in and day out, here are some of my not so fun time, most of which we can look back and laugh at now.
The second one is about illness so skip that if you’re squeamish.
1. Memphis, Tennessee: The Greyhound Bus Over-Booked Us
Most of our USA travelling had been on the bus, and for the most part, it was fine. However, when we were in Memphis, there was a problem. First, there was a problem with our tickets and they were unable to be printed. By the time they were printed and the issue was sorted, the bus was full. A bus we booked on two weeks ago was full. How? We’ll never know. We had to wait 6 hours for the next bus and the bus station was in the middle of nowhere. We got well acquainted with the local Burger King.
2. Everywhere: Sickness
I’ve been sick while travelling a few times – even here in Mexico. From a bit of a cold to not keeping down food. In Vietnam, I was sick over myself on a bus. I haven’t written a blog post about that one, have I? No, because living the dream doesn’t mean throwing up on yourself.
I also never wrote about the time that I missed a pre-booked tour to the Longji rice terraces in Guilin, China. The night before I was the most sick I’d ever been in my life. I didn’t eat for about 3 days after, if you know me, you know that’s ridiculous. Mitch even says I lost a lot of weight after that bout of illness.
One step up from sickness while travelling is an infection that you catch. I woke up one morning in Vietnam with a very annoying, itchy, red rash. It spread across a lot of my body so the next day, for the first time ever while abroad, I visited a doctor.
After that $90 appointment, I’m very grateful for the NHS. I saw a British doctor who confirmed my unknown rash: scabies. It’s an itchy rash that you can often get from dirty sheets. It’s not life-threatening or anything but it does spread unless treated.
For the next few nights, I had to rub my body from neck to toe in a special lotion. Unfortunately, it got a little worse before it got better and I ended up passing it onto Mitch. That’s what happens when you spend all your hours together. Just over a week later the rash and itchiness had reduced and the spots went fully away after about 3 weeks. I pray that you never have to endure scabies. It was not pleasant.
3. Laos-Vietnam Bus: Having my iPod Stolen
I’m very cautious with my belongings when travelling. I’ve read numerous stories about stolen goods on the street, in hostels, and on buses. I’m hardly surprised that at some point it happened to me. However, it was the extent of the stolen goods which bugs me the most.
We were on the bus from Laos to Vietnam and we arrived at the border at 6 am. We got off to sort out our visa and I left my iPod on the bus. Deep in the back of my mind, I knew it was a risk leaving it there and I actually wasn’t too surprised or bothered to find it was gone because it was ancient. I did cover it with my blanket to conceal it and we asked the driver if they’d seen it because the blanket and the iPod was gone. But of course not. They didn’t know anything (apparently).
It wasn’t until we arrived in Vietnam and checked into our hotel that I became annoyed and saddened by the theft. My iPod was so old that it needed a different charger to the standard one most of them have these days. I packed said charger on the top of my big backpack before we left.
I opened up my bag in Vietnam to find the charger gone. This means someone stole my iPod, realised it needed a special kind of charger, went to the bags under the bus, and searched for my bag to find the charger. There’s opportunist thieves and then full-on thieves. Mine was definitely the latter.
4. Austin, Texas: Being Homeless Three Hours Prior to Arriving
We’ve had some great Air BnB experiences and met wonderful people on our travels through the service. For Austin, Texas, we booked an Air BnB. About 3 hours prior to us getting on our bus to Austin our host contacted us and said there had been a mistake and her girlfriend had booked the room to someone else.
Our bus was leaving in 3 hours and we had nowhere to stay. It was the weekend of the Grand Prix meaning there was no accommodation left within our budget. We called and begged hostels to let us sleep in common rooms. I tweeted Austin-based travel blogger Nomadic Matt to see if he knew any coach surfers, and we contacted all of our American friends.
In the end, it was our faithful American friends who hooked us up. We are once again so grateful for the hospitality we’ve received from people in the USA. Someone who had never met us gave us her whole studio apartment for a night. Eternally grateful!
The point I want to make from this blog post is that my life isn’t perfect travelling. I’m really happy and extremely grateful for having the opportunity to travel. However, next time somebody says they’re jealous of my lifestyle, perhaps I’ll mention some of the stories above. These are the photos I don’t post on Facebook and the stories I don’t write about in my blog.