In a bid to stop myself getting too sad about my imminent departure date I started to think about all the things I wouldn’t miss about travelling…..just to try and stop myself getting too sad so here’s what popped in my head during that flight.
I will not miss…..
– Sleeping in a bunk bed. This has been without a doubt one of the most irritating things about travelling. No one over the age of nine should sleep in a bunk bed. Ever. They are small, noisy and it is just impossible to get in an out of one without either banging your head on the frame (if you’re on the bottom) or slipping off the ladder (if you’re on the top – and maybe, occasionally a bit squiffy whilst doing so). You will twist and turn and still not get comfortable. You will bang your knee/arm/head repeatedly on the wall and swear….alot. You will not sleep properly for the entire time you are away. Fact.
– To add to that I will not miss sharing a room with people I do not know. Now there have been lots of occasions whereby the strangers in my room have quickly become ‘friengers’ and then proper friends, which is lovely, but outside of that, sleeping in a room with strangers is just a bit weird. You have to put up with all their weird sleeping habits, sounds and activities. The snoring, farting and fidgeting (I’m aware that some of that is probably me too!) can just be a little too much to bear. You also have to be considerate all the time….you can’t just make yourself at home. There are rules. Don’t spread out your stuff too much, don’t switch on the light if someone else is in bed (regardless of the hour of day), be as quiet as possible when you get in at night/early hours of the morning – or if you have to leave very early. And even if you are being the most considerate room-mate possible, you know there will be some asshole who isn’t. That person whose crap is all over the place, who snores like a giant walrus and who is unnecessarily loud every morning at an ungodly time hunting out their organic oaty flakes. Nope I will not miss sleeping in a room with randoms. I will not miss the sounds, the sights or the smells. Not one little bit.
– Seeing people naked. As above it really is one of the downfalls of sharing a room with people you don’t know. I’m not talking about the strangers who become friends, again totally separate, nakedness amongst friends is fine. I’m talking about the people who’ve you’ve met who just insist on having a conversation with you naked. Totally naked. Not in a ‘oh you’ve just caught me coming out of the shower, I shall try to be discreet and not flash you while I quickly find some clothes to put on’ kind of naked…. Nope this is full on nakedness, in your face nakedness! And to make it worse these are normally people who really shouldn’t be naked….slightly over weight and furry in ways that give you nightmares type people. That’s all I’m saying about that – I really can’t talk about it any more. Still gives me shivers……
– Living out of a suitcase and the never-ending cycle of packing…repacking…packing….repacking….packing and repacking over and over and over again as you move from one place to the next every two-three days. The never-ending cycle of “now where did I put my bra / plug adaptor / hair dryer / flip-flops / top with the stripes on / deodorant and so on and so on and so on. You get so exhausted hunting for everything and loosing everything all the time. It’s so frustrating.
– Constantly checking in or out. The routine of this is so repetitive and just plain boring. You arrive at the hostel, the room is either ready or it’s not. You’ve just travelled or dragged your enormous bag for hours and you’re knackered. You get handed your room key (always to a room up several flights of stairs – joy!) and then your bed sheets before finally being lectured by a mini-hitler on the noise/drinking rules of the hostel. Blah, blah, blah. You get into the room, pick a bunk bed (I always tried to get a bottom bunk) then make your bed. On the day of check out, usually 2/3 days later, you have to pack your life up (again) unmake the bed and take the sheets back to reception. I have probably made and unmade a bed about 150 times now?! Very, very dull doing this every other day.
– Paying for the internet, washing machines, clothes dyers, towels and all manner of other stuff you just take for granted at home. This stuff is seriously expensive – it’s about $5 per hour online, $4 to wash one load of clothes and about $10 to dry them….expensive when you think you probably get online every day and wash your stuff once a week. Ok I’m lying about that bit ….more like washing your stuff when it’s started to grow legs and has threatened to leave you because of the awful living conditions you put it in!
– Food. Living on the road you quickly acquire a food bag for your dry/tinned goods and also a cool bag for the fresh stuff. You will carry these food bags around with you like some kind of travelling donkey, carting them about to every single place you stay. When you arrive you have to find the kitchen and the little labels, write your name on the label along with what room you’re in and for how long before finding an empty shelf in the fridge or cupboard to store it. If you’re lucky your food will still be there next time you look. It feels very sad to cart about your tins of tuna, some packets of noodles and a bit of limp salad all the time. Depressing is not the word. For the most part I tried to be healthy, with my staple diet consisting of muesli for breakfast, tinned tuna and salad for lunch or a wrap of some kind with a bit of ham, then for dinner an omlette with mushrooms and maybe some ham. Great for a day or so. Three months on…..well, you begin to hate tuna….really, really hate it.
– Wearing flip-flops in the shower. This is an absolute necessity when travelling. You do not want to step in anything that lives on the floor of a hostel shower….trust me. But it just feels so wrong, so odd to be wearing shoes whilst int he shower?! So whilst it’s vital out here, I am very much looking forward to being back in a lovely bathroom where I can plod about bare foot and not have to squelch about in wet flip-flops.
– Alcohol. I’ve said it before but when you’re travelling on your own you do kind of need to drink most days to be sociable and make friends. It’s pretty hard to be in a pub with people you’ve just met and have to explain why you’re not drinking or alternatively stay in the hostel at night, by yourself, in your little bunk bed…..erm no! But that said I am starting to feel very pickled and am quite looking forward to a few days off the liqueur, a nice cup of tea in the evening perhaps, maybe with a few biscuits. Bliss.
– Bugs. Add to that all manner of insects, pests, creepy crawlies and spider – all the ones that are bigger than a ping pong and could kill you with one look – which is most of them BTW! Oh and of course the absolute bain of my life….the mosquito!!! How I hate, HATE, the mossie. It has feasted on me for the last three months. I mean in a King Henry III feast kind of way…helping itself to massive chunks of my legs, arms and even my bum. After one particularly bad night I woke up to find 12 – YES 12 – bites on my bum. Now I don’t know about you but that made me feel pretty sick….what the hell?! Where they just having a big old party on my but cheeks – yes I think so. And don’t even get me started on how it feels to have 12 bites on your bum and then sit on a Greyhound for hours on end. I’ll say it again I HATE MOSSIES!!!!!!!
– Being on a bus. The Greyhound is an awesome thing. It takes you over massive, massive distances and delivers you safe and sound to some brilliant places. But it is still just a bus. A bus filled with lots of people, smelly backpacker people who will be on that bus for a very, very, very long time. I have travelled from Sydney to Cairns, that’s nearly 3,000km – a LONG bloody way…..(yes I did sort of start at Coffs Harbour but that’s by the by…)
To be precise my route went a little something like this……start at Coffs Harbour, then up to Byron Bay, on to Surfers Paradise, up to Brisbane – over to Moreton Island, then back and on to Noosa, on further to Rainbow Beach – over to Fraser Island, then back and on to Agnes Water/1770, then up to Airlie Beach (the epic 10hr journey), a short trip over to the Whit Sunday islands, then back on the bus up to Townsville for the ferry out to Magnetic Island, then back and on to Mission Beach before finally…..finally arriving in Cairns….then flying back to Sydney.