One thing that most people our generation have come to realize is social media is used to present the high-lights of your life – when you graduated, your new job, engagements, marriage, and of course, travel photos. We do this too; of course you want to share the best parts of your life with everyone. One thing that Facebook, twitter and instagram allows for travellers, is to show with beautiful filters the high-lights of their trip.
Well, what about the low-lights? What about the time where you stood in the rain for 2 hours to enter a museum (both of us)? Or the time you got eaten alive by fleas in Istanbul and had to take Benadryl just to fall asleep (Kristen)? Or the time you’re so tired after a hike in Montverde you ate two large pieces of fried chicken and passed out for the next 24 hours in a food / exhaustion coma (Trevor)?
One of the best parts about doing this blog and using instagram to display our travels and pictures, is I get to re-visit so many great moments, and be reminded when times were a little tough. Take a look.
In Warsaw, first we did a walking / semi driving tour in the rain, then waited in line (still in the rain) for the Warsaw Uprising Museum (Muzeum Powstania Warszawskiego) for two hours. Our only jacket and pair of shoes, soaked through and took days to dry. But at least I got these shots:
In Istanbul, I got eaten alive by what I am still assuming to be fleas from the stray dogs. No, I did not pet them, but did you know fleas can jump over 1 meter (3 feet), and I’m also the person in the group to get the most mosquito bites, so it only made sense I was the only one to get flea bites. But then we went to Antalya so I could rest, and we could relax for the end of our trip, and I got to meet a 2 week old kitten and enjoy this view…
Have you ever been backpacking and you were just so tired you needed to sleep for a day? Just a solid, “we are taking the day off from traveling”? Us too. Getting up early, walking 20 miles a day, and getting to bed late is exhausting! Well imagine all this, and you’re staying in a budget apartment where there are two rooms, and the other room is rented out to a couple, and the guy looses track of the girl, and the girl has the keys, so the guy comes back completely hammered and bangs on the door screaming to be let in… at 4 in the morning… Thankfully, Sander, the manager of the apartment in Budapest responded to our skype call and came and put him to bed in a different location.
What about food: you’ve been going for 4 weeks, you are craving some delicious Canadian bacon, or maybe some Kraft Dinner, basically anything that reminds you of home. Well, you take a shot at the bacon Split Croatia has to offer and you ignore the fact that it is … kind of … green. I slept on the bathroom floor that night. On top of that, we had some other weird food moments...
Or you’re just so hungry and you’ve wandered for an hour looking for any kind of meal, that is somewhat cheap, and not totally “weird,” and you learn that in Croatia, they prefer to drink instead of eat. You have a panic attack because you’re so hungry, you were up at 4 am to get on a 7-hour train, and all you want is some freaking food. Listen to your hostel recommendations for food… we finally did and found a delicious place. In the case of Budapest, where we too had moments of... where do we eat! we were told about this amazing buffet with all you can eat and DRINK! including alcohol! Highly recommended.
The point of these mini stories is that we’ve promised to show our audience the reality of backpacking. Sometimes there are days where you refuse to get out of bed, you have to face the drunken stranger, and you have to take medication to feel better. One thing we’ve struggled with and are more aware of now, is to not feel guilty about this. So you had a rough day, you needed to sleep it off, and all you wanted was to stay dry after 4 days of rain. It’s an understandable request. Maybe you missed out on a walking tour because the thought of getting on another water taxi in Venice made you want to have a break down. Take the rest. Life is not perfect, and neither will be your backpacking experience. As long as you have not been robbed or had your passports stolen, keep your head up, have a nap, and continue the next day.
These stories though, did you notice, ended with happy endings or a change of course in our trip: sometimes a low-light might lead to an unexpected, and needed, high-light. Continue on, change plans when needed, and be thankful you're out there, seeing the world - even if your day was kind of crappy.
Thanks for reading!
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