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Transitioning from young vagabond to mature traveller...

Updated: Dec 11, 2020

I hit the wall the other day. Although we are having an amazing trip, and 99% of our days have been wonderful and gone smoothly, the 1% seems to have taken on huge proportions. My legs hurt, my feet ache, it’s a baking 35 degrees out and we’re in a bone-dry town with not a body o’ water in sight. The sweat is pouring off our faces and dripping down our backs under our clothes. I’m missing small things. Toilet paper in the bathrooms and bathrooms that sparkle. Smiles from bus drivers, ticket-sellers, and people serving in restaurants.

We have taken two overnight buses in the last three days, leaving cities at 11:30 pm and getting in at 7 a.m., exhausted, awake more during the trip than we’ve slept. Then, after a ten-hour bus to our current destination, getting in at 9 p.m., our Air B&B host doesn’t show up. We sit for an hour outside the apartment trying to connect with him to no avail and finally book into another hotel for the night. We have spent hours today looking for a bus to get us where we want to go next and there are none, or if there are, they get us there at 3 in the morning. Our only choice is to take a 6-hour bus east to a bigger town where we can find more options. We get to our next hotel at 9 p.m. Yes, it was right by the terminal, and so yes, I should have expected less, but...that 1% skyrocketed to its highest level as we walked down the dark streets to our hotel, passing hookers doing their business and scary, sleezy characters. We follow our host down a long, dark hallway, looking at each other uneasily, and see that we've secured the worst room on our journey so far.

The long, dark hallway ... Oh god, what's it going to look like inside?

Now, those are some gorgeous pillows.

Our bags are jammed full and so heavy they are flattening our feet when we walk. We box up everything we don’t need and traipse to a post office. It’s moved out of the city. We walk ten blocks to the next one we’ve bookmarked. The next one doesn’t send internationally. We walk dejectedly and like slugs back in the heat to our hotel and stuff it all back into our bags.

As a young traveller, I could easily have dealt with this shit. As a ‘mature’ traveller, not so much. I’ve particularly got no patience for the uncertainty associated with this type of travel. I lay on my bed thinking. It’s really about the choices we make. So…

We book a bus direct to our most northern destination. We book a rental car for pick up there. Then we go to a steakhouse and have a massive sirloin steak with all the trimmings and a jug o’ sangria.

I feel much better.

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