I hit post on another dreamy-looking picture of wherever I have traveled to this weekend. The comments from friends and family trickle in - some people are jealous while others tell me how lucky I am. And I know I'm lucky! I do. But I always feel so guilty that I am only showing the highest point of my travels on social media, because well... it matches my theme better. To make up for it, I want to tell you everything that can, and has, gone wrong for either me or one of my friends during the travel process.
1. You can get SO exhausted.
A huge part of going to new places is spending long hours on the train or plane, or running through stations packed with equally tired people. Packing, unpacking, and packing again also takes a lot out of you. It's the few moments when you can sit and breath on the train or enjoy the sights of a new city that make it worth it.
2. You can hop on the wrong train.
With all of the language barriers, it can be hard to know if you're in the right place, even after double-checking. Somehow you may find yourself paying a fine for not having the right ticket, on top of ending up at the wrong final destination and having to pay for another ticket. No one cares if its late at night, or if you have a class to get to. It's all on you to untangle.
3. Your bus can break down.
On our second hour and a half bus ride in two days, we rode along the curvy cliffs of the Italian coast. Gulping down our car sickness and trying to catch a breath of fresh air in the overpacked bus, all of a sudden the vehicle stopped moving and people were so confused. IT HAD BROKEN DOWN. We frustratedly gathered bits of information from other flustered passengers. And after waiting in a pottery shop on a cliff for thirty minutes, a new bus arrived and we sprinted to the doors to be the first new additions to another packed bus, but not after fighting off the other passengers from our broken-down bus until the door closed them out and we stood like sardines until, finally, we got to our stop.
4. Your phone plan can stop working.
If you have an international SIM card or an international phone plan, you never know what can go wrong. You can forget to pay for the new month, etc. And then you are stuck at a train station in a different European city or country with no phone and hardly any way to contact people. I know someone who was alone when this happened and needed to be picked up from a train station in Venice! Scary stuff.
5. You spend wayy too much money.
No matter how frugal I try to be, I am always shocked after checking my back account. You have to pay for transportation, a place to sleep, experiences, three whole meals a day (at least), and any keepsakes that you decide to buy.
6. You can leave your stuff on the many modes of transportation that you come in contact with.
There is very limited space on public transportation, so when you have a backpack, duffle bag, and a purse, after a long weekend it can be easy to accidentally forget something that's shoved under the seat. Once, I didn't realize that I had somehow forgotten to grab my purse when getting off of the train until I was standing on the platform getting ready to walk away. Once the sick-to-my-stomach panic set it, I rushed on the train and tried to shove my way through the extremely thin isle way. After getting on, I realized that the train could shut its doors while I was still aboard WITHOUT my phone!! Because it was packed with people and their large suitcases, anxious to find their seats, I could not convince many of them to let me by. Still, not wanting to be rude, I repeated "excuse me" about 80 times while sliding in the spaces until I saw my purse strap peeping out from under a seat. I snatched it and practically sprinted out of the door.
7. You can REALLY struggle to make all of the sightseeing fit into two days.
After you've gotten over the headache of traveling, you finally have some time to experience your destination. But it is a mad rush to see and do what each person in your travel group wants before checkout day. After the time is up, that's it! You can't stay any longer if you have to make it back home before classes!
I'm not saying that any of these things discount how incredible it is to be able to travel so much at this time in my life. I just want to share the hard parts. Because it is SO hard. Just because I am smiling on my social media in a new location every weekend, doesn't mean that I just wondrously appear in each of these places like it seems. There is so much planning and energy that goes into it. I know I should be more "real" on Instagram, but that's like my scrapbook and I want it to look nice! If you want the whole truth, well, maybe I'll have to publish my travel journal.