- You will always look a bit shit….sweaty red face….frizzy hair…swelling hands and feet…it’s not all glamorous shots on the beach filtered by Instagram you know.
2. Hand sanitizer is your best friend as is a packet of tissues….germs and dirt everywhere!! Also lack of poop paper in places!!
3. Websites lie…ooh this hotel is right by a sea with a beach….actually it’s a lake which looks to be filled with rather suspicious things…not safe to paddle in! Or my favourite…this hotel has a pool….ooh great I thought…turned out to be a small pond…filled with fish!!
4. You can survive off very little….you live in the same outfit most days….unless you have stunk it out that is…but you can survive on only a few tops and shorts and don’t get me started on shoes….flip flops, sandals and trainers is all that is needed.
5. Home is not a stationary place it can be anywhere…anywhere I went I would put out my toiletries and hang up my clothes and could make it feel like my own little home.
6. A tan is not for life…I sunbathed until I could no longer go any browner…I was a bronzed goddess….2 weeks later and no sun bathing…back to pasty white girl again!
7. Little things can make your day/week…for me it was things like finding a food stall that sold banana cupcakes or spring rolls…yes I am a bit of a fatty but food matters when you have a bad experience like eating a bowl of grossness with floating white bits in it in a Cambodian market!
8. Google maps is the best….also knowing your right and left is helpful but writing out directions was a great help when I was wandering around Thailand looking for a bank.
9. Everyone speaks English…I tried my hand at learning a few words in each place I travelled to but I had trouble…sah wah dee khaa (hello in Thai) often became swastika in my head!
10.You become a pro at sleeping anywhere…train station…airport…and you don’t care if you become the lady whose heads wobbles and who dribbles on coach journeys…I needed my beauty sleep!
11. Long distances become meaningless…in England a 2 hour car journey is considered a long way to go….now I have been subjected to 29 hour coach journeys I’m ready for anything!
12. Most people don’t walk places…in most of the places I went people would get tuk tuks, taxis, or subways to local tourist spots but I always opted to walk if it wasn’t too far…maybe walking a 4 hour round journey to the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur in the midday sun was a bit far…I was a bit frazzled and exhausted by the end of it but at least I didn’t care about all the chocolate and crisps I consumed in the evening.
13. Finally…you learn a lot about yourself…what you can cope with, how strong you are and what’s important to you. Travel doesn’t change you though…it enhances you and gives you the time and space to really understand yourself.