Packing for a year is like packing for a weekend for me. Visions of freshly applied makeup and Steve Madden wedges dance in my head prior to heading to random places like Richmond, Virginia for four days.
Will you end up in a snowstorm on that trip to the Sahara? "Maybe..." I used to tell myself. Do you need this floor-length gown? "Yeah, I'll throw it in just in case."
While I love the active things and the hikes and the trails and the beach days, it's always a pleasure to think of that hot shower and Herbal Essences head whip at the end of a long day. This trip? Far from that painted picture.
The realities of traveling for a year are hitting a lot of us on this trip pretty hard the third week in. And I'd like to share those realities with you: the good, the bad, and the ugly. Because that's the point of this blog and it's what I wanted to read and, well, you're reading it now so that kind of says something, right? Please brace yourselves for some realness; it's comin' in hot.
Traveling opens your mind, your heart, and your armpits. You know, when you need to constantly air them out every few minutes from the endless sweat that travels down every crevice of your body. My knees are sweating as I type this. My UNDERknees are sweating as I type this. I thought this was the San Francisco of Europe? The weather, the bridge, the fact that I can't tell whether some people are homeless or hipsters? Clothing can be worn once and only once unless you're keen on slathering yourself in body spray and calling it a day because UGH, showering four times a day gets really old.
Your largest organ now resembles a poorly executed mosaic. Forget farmers tan, bro. Might wanna wear a strapless top or you're gonna be left with a Portugal Tan. Gone are the days of my even toned olive skin thanks to pool days and carefully placed bikini pieces. Wear a backpack with a spaghetti strap top for a 20 minute walk to the workspace? Tan line. Wear a racerback top for a quick run at 8 am? Tan line. Wear a swimsuit to the beach and then cover up with a towel for ten seconds? TWO tan lines. Wear shorts one day? Tan line. Wear shoes with socks? Tan line. Wear flip flops? Tan line. Johnny Cash could walk lines all over my friggin' body at this point.
You feel guilty that engagements and post-work beers don't live up to your photo standards. I know you're enjoying life with your family in ABCtown and I truly am happy that you're finally engaged to Male. He seems like a great guy and you guys have been dating since high school so why would you stray away from something so comfortable? Your ring is uggo but I'll heart your pic anyways and wish you a happily ever after because I actually do feel really guilty that this is my reaction in my head. I am an awful human sometimes. (But I'm admitting it, because this is real.)
Your fashion sense trickles in and out of consciousness. Does this workout top go with these polka dot pants? You bet your sweet, spotted ass they do. While others may be worrying about things like "matching their clothes" and "remembering to put on pants before leaving your room", we're pioneering pantaloons and bringing back baby doll dresses. Onwards, fellow fashion freaks!
Your body is not a wonderland. John Mayer tricked us all. Here's what really happens: you will poison your body with fried this and alcoholic that. But don't let it deter you. Go ahead, push yourself. Your body will take its revenge soon enough. A slight cough will turn into a fever and you will discover that your body is making you its bitch. Carefully explain to your body that you're on the trip of a lifetime and that you're sorry kale is not available in bulk. Explain that you HAVE to try that ginjinha and that a carafe of sangria at 10 am is normal here. Explain that you had to drink vodka out of a pot because pot shots! Tell it that sardines are a delicacy, snails are an apertif and you're sooooorry that the duck breast you thought you bought for an awesome meal was actually duck heart. Tell your body you will replace its organs with those of other animals that you unintentionally eat. Then apologize. You could never do that. You'd die. Ha! Your body does not like jokes. It does not laugh. You vomit. Tell your body that you're sorry (again). Buy it some green juice. Don't feed it alcohol for a few days and apologize thoroughly for eating too many pasteis de natas. Find your balance. It'll take time. Your body is not a wonderland, but be sure it does not become a wasteland.
You Instagram a cool picture even if your trip was shitty. Not every trip is going to be awesome. Not every beach is going to be pretty. But that's why filters exist. And you're in a beautiful city living the dream and you'll be damned if you're not gonna milk that for all it's worth. Don't get me wrong, it's magical. But this blog stands for real shit, and this is definitely a real thing that happens. SO JUST LIKE, LIKE ALL OF OUR PICS OKAY???
Though the reality is, this reality is a bit of a fantasy, it's still real life for us. Can I say the word "real" any more times? It's a weird life we live compared to what we left behind, but I wouldn't trade it for the world. *happy cries into a napkin as I sweat*
Coming up: a few projects I've been working on, including Tindering in other countries, Ads of the world IRL, your week 3 recap, and drunken remote interviews.
In the pipeline: cue Toto up baby, WE GOIN' TA AFRICA!
Freelance writer, designer, and do-it-aller. Traveling the world with Remote Year 6, living in a different country every month. Currently living in Cape Town, South Africa and probably drinking wine.