The Not-So-Fun Reality About Traveling
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The Not-So-Fun Reality About Traveling

A few things to keep in mind before you hit the open road.

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The Not-So-Fun Reality About Traveling
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So you want to travel? Well, I may not have been doing so for the longest time, nor have I traveled out of the country, but I can at least let you in on a few details the Travel Agent may have “conveniently” left out. Traveling can be a beautiful thing, especially going to new places and doing things that you’ve not experienced before. There’s always the fun side to traveling, and then there’s the reality side. And here I thought I knew what traveling was all about. Ha.

Of course, there are many different ways to travel, with flying and driving being two of the most common. If you’re going to be flying, then we can’t be friends. Right now my husband and I are in southeast North Dakota, a 13-hour drive from our home. He works Monday-Friday, which means we leave for North Dakota Sunday morning and, after he gets off work Friday, arrive back home Saturday morning around 4 am. We drive home every Friday, so yes, we drive a total 26 hours each weekend. And if you want to really get to know someone, stuff them in a car with you for 13 hours straight and see what happens.

So without further ado, here’s the list I’ve compiled about all the not-so-wonderful things I’ve learned about traveling.

  • Living in hotels can suck sometimes. It’s super fun at first because it’s all new places and new things to do, but then at the end of the day, you want to go home. But "home" is now your small hotel room with sheets, towels and a bathroom that’s been used by numerous other people. Try not to think about that when you go to bed at night. In the same bed, that’s been used by other people. Yay.
  • Be thankful for Missouri roads and highways. Seriously, not every state’s roads are as well taken care of as the good ‘ol Show Me State. Especially driving in the middle of the night. In the pouring rain. When the lines are so faded that you cannot even see where the road is anymore. And your spouse is fast asleep in the seat next to you. Super.
  • You appreciate being home SO much more. I almost want to kiss the ground when we cross the city limit of our hometown at 4 am every Saturday morning. It’s the best feeling ever! Just being able to cook with your own dishes, wash them in your own kitchen sink, use your own washer and dryer and sleep in your own bed. It’s priceless.
  • People are not as nice. This may be a matter of opinion, but in my hometown, there are actually nice people. People that respond with “Yes, sir” and “Yes, ma’am”. People that will pull over to the side of the road and help you change your flat. People that will pay for your meal in the drive thru because they want to pay it forward. People that will help you unlock your car because you accidentally locked the keys inside (true story). I never fully realized how helpful and kind people can be, until they’re not. Now, I’m not saying that everywhere you go people will be cruel and mean, but it’s easy to take for granted how kindhearted your hometown really is.
  • Just driving in general. I can definitely speak for myself and my husband when we say driving can suck. When you’ve got a 13-hour drive one way, you’re under a time crunch, and you only stop for gas and bathroom breaks, it’s not exactly the most enjoyable experience ever. Sure, getting to look out the window and see some beautiful scenery is great, but when you’ve driven to the same city (through the extremely flat state of Iowa I might add) more than once, the phrase “road trip!” can get a little old.
  • Gas station bathrooms. O. M. G. You may not be as much of a germ freak as I am, but let’s be honest, no bathroom should ever look that bad. Ever. Especially when you have to go so bad that you’re forced to use it. There’s no other option. OK. It’s only for like, two minutes, tops. You can do this. Oh, and another thing, you get super good and super fast at decorating the seat with toilet paper. Makes you feel a little better about the situation at hand, at least.
  • No more home cooked meals. You will never appreciate how awesome it feels to be able to cook with a stove top and an oven, until it's taken away from you. So unless you want to spend a ton of money eating out and make your body feel horrible, I would suggest dragging along the 'ol George Foreman grill and give Pinterest your best shot. Believe me, it's worth it.
  • The weather. When you drive all the way up to what area my husband and his work buddies call ‘Canada’, the weather will seriously mess with you. In Missouri, the weather has been consistently around 70 degrees for the last couple weeks. And then you get into North Dakota where the high doesn’t get above 50 during the day and hits in the low 30s at night. Talk about a shock. I left my house in knee length yoga pants and arrived at our destination wishing I had definitely worn something warmer. Talk about freezing!
  • Enjoying what’s around you. I love going new places and seeing new sights, going to an unknown city’s downtown and exploring all their cute little shops. But unfortunately, we had been in the same city for close to two months. If my husband and I were to travel to a new city every week, then this wouldn’t be much of a problem. I try to be a ‘glass half full’ type of person, but when the city you’re in has a population of less than 10,000 and you’ve been there for what feels like forever, there’s only so much sightseeing you can do before you feel like you’ve seen it all. Multiple times.

I hope this may have brought a little insight for you as you leave out for your super fun ‘road trip!’. Believe me, traveling and getting to see new places is so refreshing and so awesome, but it’s also nice to know what you’re really getting yourself into. Hopefully, you’ll be a little more prepared and knowledgeable about what it’s really like out there. Now it’s your turn to “go and smell the roses!” because you’ll never know until you go.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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