My Facebook page is a total lie! I only ever post the glamorous parts of my travel on it – the stunning vistas, the great meals, the new friends and perfect wildlife shots. Everything I post is, of course, something I have done, I am not making these experiences up. But the lie is in that my posts represent at best 20% of the travel experience…. So, what do I leave out……
- The hours spent sitting in airports with nada to do. Yes hours!!!! In my former career I arrived at the airport as late as possible, and did not think I was doing a good job of time optimisation if I didn’t miss a flight or two a year (as if I made every flight on time, I was clearly getting there too early). You can’t do that when flying to most of the places I go to now, as if you miss the flight there might not be another one for days. And most airports in Africa are chaotic, so you need to get there early to make sure you actually get your seat. As a result, I have spent more time than I like to recall sitting on floors at the airport (sometimes blissfully next to a power point so I can charge my phone) waiting for flights.
- The huge number of stomach issues and resulting time spent bonding with grubby bathroom facilities. Hand on heart, i would prefer to crap behind a tree than use most of the public conveniences on offer around the world (Iran and Japan being notable exceptions). India gets my vote for worst global toilets. At least in Africa, they don’t normally bother to even pretend their is a loo. I can’t resist trying local food, and while most of the time I get by, at least once or twice per trip I have some issues.
- How much I miss good food and would chew someones arm off for greek yogurt and berries. Proper total greek yogurt, free range meat, dark chocolate, asparagus and crab. Things I miss enormously whenever i travel. We are so spoiled for choice i London and can get everything anyone would want to eat….., that it is even more of a challenge when I am travelling somewhere remote. The worst experience to date was probably the weeks of fish and cabbage I ate in the pacific. And fish was bizarrely quite tough to come as the locals didn’t really like it. I just couldn’t bring myself to eat the fried rice, fried battery chicken and spam that everyone else was ordering.
- Bed bugs, bites and mysterious rashes. Always get them, and never sure where they come from. So far, haven’t died, so they can’t be that bad.
I guess all of these things add some colour to my travels and make me appreciate my life when i go home. But next time you read one of my glamorous travel posts, take heart in the fact that as I am posting it I probably have the craps, am covered in bug bites and am sitting on the floor of an airport somewhere feeling hungry