Backpacker blues

A slight disclaimer…Its been about 4 days since I typed this up…I’m feeling a lot less ’emo’…but there’s nothing like puking in the squat toilet on a night bus, having a broken camera, and waking up drenched in sweat, leaving your room to get heckled into rides, flashing lights, and 60 cent pad thai to make you wish you were either home for a day or just rich enough to …well be rich for a day. Anyway…I figured, lets post it anyway and keep the blog honest. I’ll post something a bit less depressing to follow

Railay beach was a stunner. Absolutely gorgeous, happy people…a bit overpriced, but it didn’t even matter….oddly, I laid there thinking only how great it would be to be at an all inclusive in Mexico again. I was with my new friend Becky, with an amazing plate of green curry and a freshly cracked Chang looking on to the first beach to compete with the Whitsundays since October…and yet I had no interest in being there. I don’t know how to explain it really…without sounding like a total brat that can’t appreciate things. I’ve just hit a wall with travels….lets rephrase….backpacking. I know how dumb it sounds, but if I’m practicing what I’m preaching….I am going to say how I feel even if I know it sounds ridiculous, even if I know people will tell me my feelings are ‘wrong’ or ‘selfish’.

I don’t think it’s a matter of being ‘lonely’…or ‘alone’…which have different meanings….but the former isn’t true and the latter doesn’t bother me. It’s moreso a matter of being sick of calculating how every meal and bottle of water will affect my budget. How I can’t even buy the cheap things I want because I can’t carry them around for the next 6 months. How I’m sick of wondering if a toilet has a seat…or toilet paper, and I’m tired of being constantly paranoid that everyone is out to scam or rob me. I’m tired of questioning the hygiene everywhere and trading off wifi or air con to save literally a couple dollars. I want to feel like I’m doing something, not avoiding something. I am sick and tired of people asking how I’ve changed, or telling me I will. I want the anticipation as to how the job market will be when I get home to end; I want to stop knowing rates for the dollar better than I know what’s going on in the lives of my loved ones. I don’t want to have to change 3 times a day because my clothes are drenched in sweat with a sprinkle of pollution, and I want to be wearing different clothes than I wore last month, the one before, the one before that, and the two before that. I am tired of making decisions about where to go or what to see and hoping I’m not missing out. I’m SO tired of explaining where I’m from, why I’m travelling, how I have the money for it, and the world’s unanimous hate on for Americans. I want a bed that isn’t the same softness of a piece of MDF, I would like my hair to dry properly, and I would love a wax. I want to drink tap water. I want to run when it’s not a million degrees outside and still have it be safe, I want to not have to plan workouts around laundry and having enough time to air out clothes before checkout. I want my ipod. I want new music. I want an income. I don’t want to think I’ve caught dengue or malaria every time something bites me. I would like good shampoo and conditioner, different sized handbags, and accessorizing not to attract thieves. I want a giant leafy salad, with dressing not derived from fish sauce. I’d like to eat lunch without being swarmed by flies. And I’d like to meet people that I could feasibly have long term friendships with, because my logical side has no interest in friends for a night…and most men in Thailand don’t want to be ‘friends’.

On the note of doing rather than avoiding. Contrary to the words of even some of my closest friends…I’m not running away or avoiding anything by travelling…in fact I’m pursuing many of my goals. That being said, there are some days…like today, where all I do is walk around and snack on street food that I begin to doubt what it is I’m accomplishing. I’m finding it hard to absorb that not every day will be a productive one. When you’re gone for a few months or less it doesn’t really matter because you can see your travels as some sort of long vacation…but you get to a point in the long term where you start to need some sort of direction. Even the ‘not hipster German hipster’ said the same. His breaking point was 6 months in….he worked on a farm for a few months, just to feel like getting up in the morning you might do more than see stuff. Australia was fine to be on a 3 month long spring break…literally: Beach, booze, boys…but as the culture gains normalcy in south east asia, I’m getting quite antsy about my day-to-day. I’ll be volunteering in Cambodia next week…so I’m sure I’ll start to feel better…I hope.

Whiny, I know…but I had to get it out…it’s been over 5 months of living out of a backpack and travelling alone. So sue me. The nomadic life really isn’t for everybody. Everyone says they’d love to pick up and leave forever, but it’s not all its cut out to be….and I know for a fact the people I know that say they want to travel the most would actually have the hardest time with it…perhaps they know it too, and maybe that’s why they’re all talk. And it’s those people that give me the hardest time about not ‘loving life all the time’. Don’t get me wrong, I do love travelling, I did have a great time at Railay, and I’m sure I’ll be back to loving life completely in a few days. Also important to note that travelling is much much different than living and working abroad… When you work you establish a routine and a network, comfort, and familiarity. AND INCOME. It’s not so much that I’m homesick….more that I’m sick of backpacking. It’s not that I want to be home….if somebody gave me even 10,000(not much these days), I would travel. I’m just sick of ‘backpacking’….poor man’s travel….I’ve been raised to be so money conscious that I have to actively try to enjoy myself while on a budget. To a fault. Hence why, to the detriment of my grades, I worked over 40 hours a week while enrolled in 5 classes a semester for the past 3 years of my undergraduate degree….hence why I sacrificed having a fun Bondi holiday to work….to make more money…to have money. I bank ‘security’ and success pretty much exclusively on my bank account which I can’t seem to change no matter how hard I try.

Anyway, this post makes me look like a glaringly terrible person…but it’s honest. And as postsecret seeks to do…perhaps one of you reading has felt even one of these annoyances while travelling and beat yourself up about not being grateful…you’re not alone.

On the bright side…Bangkok is actually amazing. I have been sick since I got here (I don’t recommend spewing in squat toilets on a night bus) and my camera is broken…and still I find it to be a great city…not nearly as crowded as I thought, and everything in excess….just as ye handy old lonely planet states. Mostly fake ray bans, havaianas, asics, and james bond dvds.

2 responses to “Backpacker blues

  1. I stumbled upon your blog while trying to find info on the premier bus in Australia. I read a couple Aussie and New Zealand posts yesterday and quickly realized I loved you. Well, your writing and perhaps more so your chain if thoughts. I have Canadian friends and yes I bond with them a lot more when it comes to thinking than my American so I wasn’t surprised you were Canadian. Now I am reading this. I am also back packing btw, probably should’ve made that clear to begin with. And I just left south east Asia; and I cannot agree with you more and I am so fateful that you put words to feelings which I clearly am not the only one to have (thank you). I am so pumped about how your honesty really give a fair reflection on travelling and how it is, no fuckng guide book or I am the happiest person alive nor this is hell or “I am about to tell you all details of my day hour by hour”. Thank you for writing. I have stayed away from travel blogging because of the forced imagine an tradition but now I am sincerely excited and want to start one because I want to share what the heck I want and give the people at home who doesn’t travel the real picture without worries about spell check, layout or traditional travellers diary. Like you.
    Thank you.
    Ps. I neve read blogs or less comment so I really hope you get the huge compliment this. is but not that it really matters. I just had to say something. Thank you.

    • WOW those are some seriously wicked compliments you’re sending my way! I appreciate them, and you reading!

      Go with Premier…after talking to all my friends who took different buses in the end I paid least and had the best experience…

      Thanks again!

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