The more I travel, the more I realize how many things can go wrong while traveling. Yet we still do it? We are actively putting ourselves at risk for theft, chaos, sickness and just all around uncomfortableness. Why? Because it’s worth it. The life-changing experiences, the crazy stories, the incredible humans you meet – it makes the bad seem not so terrible.
These past few months I’ve done some hectic traveling and I’ve determined six inevitable truths of travel:
- When it comes to dressing for the airport or plane, no matter what you wear, you will always be too hot or too cold.
If I’m not sweating balls as I frantically go through security or walking (sometimes running) to my gate, I’m a frozen popsicle sitting on the plane. I can’t think of a time where I wasn’t either dying of heat stroke or Googling symptoms of hypothermia. This is where the ghost of my mother’s advice to dress in layers comes back to haunt me. I’m almost 23 and finally starting to listen to my mother (YOU WERE ALWAYS RIGHT MOM).
- You will get sick.
Between the germ-filled public transportation and the stress of traveling from one place to another – it’s a deadly combo. Picture evil germs attacking your poor, weakened immune system (anyone else constantly thinking about Osmosis Jones??) You don’t stand a chance! You’re getting less sleep, you’re traveling in germ-infested planes, trains and automobiles, you’re eating shit food and you’re flooded with emotions ranging from YAY to OMFG to HELP to WTF to WOOOOOO. Or maybe you get sick from the country’s water, food carts or just a plain ole case of Bali belly (an upset tummy usually coming out of your mouth or your butt). Chances are high you’ll get some sort of bug, whether it’s during the trip or, hopefully, after. Overdose on Vitamin C, drink bone broth and take naps (this is the only time I will endorse nap taking – don’t be a lazy fool). Be kind to your body!
- Your bag will never be first out at the baggage claim.
No matter how hard you hope or pray, I’m convinced your bag will never come out first. I once heard a theory about airlines throwing a couple of decoy bags on the conveyor just to piss us off. My bag did come out third once, so I did a little happy dance and got some ice cream.
- There will never be enough time to do everything you want to do.
This has been extremely hard for me to come to terms with in the last few trips I’ve taken, especially in Australia, it’s just too big to do everything I wanted. I’ve been living in New Zealand for the past year and wasn’t able to do even half of the things I wanted to do. After an initial panic, I’m finally alright with the fact that I didn’t travel as much as I had planned. It’s OK because I was able to spend so much time fully immersing myself in the culture and people of Nelson. My life has completely changed since moving there so….OH WELL. I went to Bali and spent the entire time in Ubud. As soon as I arrived I realized how many places I wouldn’t see or things I wouldn’t have time to do. The same happened in San Francisco – it’s impossible to do everything. Enjoy the time you have!
- You will either over-pack or under-pack.
I’d say about 92% of the time I overpack because I make sure I have outfits for every possible weather situation. I could be going to the earth’s core and I’d still make room for a ‘light jacket.’ On rare occasions I’ll try to impress myself with how stealthily I can pack, then when I arrive at the destination, realize I completely under-packed and didn’t bring the proper necessities.
- Something will go wrong. Sometimes everything will feel like it’s going wrong.
Murphy’s Law says if it can go wrong, it will go wrong. It could be leaving your phone in a taxi or getting food poisoning or missing a flight (this may or may not have happened to me recently……) or someone stealing your wallet – something bad is bound to happen. Sometimes one thing goes wrong and then it feels like it’s snowballing and you can’t control the situation. Take a deep breath and embrace the pain because it’s completely normal. Traveling is hard. It’s stressful, physically and emotionally taxing, and pushes us to our limits.
With everything that can go wrong, I can’t imagine living life differently. It’s made me struggle and it’s created a more well-rounded and truly happy person inside of me.
Meditation has taught me not everything lasts – the good nor the bad. Embrace the change no matter how hard it is and you’ll come out fly as heck. I think that’s what the Buddha said, right?
What inevitable truths of travel have you found? Let me know in the comments below!