Things only seasoned travellers get excited about
Travel changes us – there’s no argument about that. It opens our eyes to new things, changes our views of the world and educates us in ways we could never duplicate at home.
And I’m not talking about going to Bali for a week and coming back with cornrows, a few offensive singlets and a nasty stomach bug.
I’m talking about REAL travel. The kind where you forget what your regular coffee order is and you don’t care what colour the bed sheets are – as long as they aren’t moving.
In saying that, there ARE a bunch of things that you’ll occasionally come across that will get any seasoned traveller a little bit giddy. Here are some of mine.
1. Flushing your toilet paper after a poo
If you’ve spent time in any part of the developing world you’ll be nodding your head. Their poor little pipes just can’t handle our western habits of getting rid of all that nasty stuff down the same drain. After spending six months travelling up through South and Central America to North America earlier this year I couldn’t break the habit and caught myself using the bin in Miami. Sorry!
2. Hitting up the tap for a drink in the middle of the night
Another third-world difficulty is drinkable tap water – and when you’ve had a big night on the cheap rums you might forget this fact when you wake up in the middle of the night with the old cottonmouth. Hangovers are much more fun with E.coli right?
3. Wi-Fi that works
All of the cafes, restaurants and hostels will advertise ‘superfast Wi-Fi’. So you’ll pull up with the intention of having a few beers, a snack and catching up on some emails. I’ll tell you now that it’s extremely rare to find any free Wi-Fi that can handle more than the Google homepage. My top tip is to check the facial expressions on anyone with a laptop before sitting down.
4. Free luggage
It’s no biggie to shout $40 extra for that two-week trip to New Zealand – but if you’re hopping flights every couple weeks as you meander across continents then those fees REALLY start to add up. You suddenly become that bum at the check-in counter holding everyone up while you re-pack your bag six times. Embarrassing – but necessary.
5. Familiar tastes
You might groan when I say this – but sometimes seeing a Maccas sign can nearly bring you to tears. Try spending a month in Bolivia – where the menu choices consist of chicken, potatoes, slightly different chicken and terrible attempts at pizza. You’ll be dropping your crap and running for those golden arches like that scene in Forrest Gump when his leg braces fall off.
6. A decent cup of coffee
We’ve got it pretty good on the coffee front in Australia. Even Gloria Jeans will do the trick in a bind. You’d think that you could find a nice cuppa joe in Colombia – where most of our beans come from. Nope. Black coffee and milk is the go-to for the seasoned traveller. That first flat white back home will wake up senses you didn’t know you had.
7. Your own bed
The smell of your pillow, the perfect squishiness of your mattress and perhaps your cat – be prepared for some alone time when you get home from a long trip. Your family and your mates are going to want to catch up – but you’re going to need a few nights of blissful home-bed slumber.
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