Travelers and mainstream media make travel look like the most wonderful thing. Don’t get me wrong. Traveling full time is an amazing thing, but it’s not what most people make it out to be. People show only the parts of it they want you to see, this can lead to misconceptions about travel. This will cause people to be disappointed in travel or to be unprepared for many situation one might encounter. I speak out of experience. I used to be one of these people. I saw all these amazing videos, blogs, photos and documentaries about people traveling full time. And all of these things made it seem so amazing and wonderful. When I started traveling full time, I quickly learned the downsides the hard way.
To prevent you from having to learn the hard way, I decided to write this to educate anyone who might be reading this about ‘real’ travel. You all know the good parts, that’s all you ever see. Here I will highlight the bad parts of travel. I say ‘bad’ parts. I have a philosophy where I believe there are no bad experiences, just different multitudes of good experiences and the ‘baddest’ experiences makes the best stories and teaches you the most valuable lessons. With that in mind, here’s the bad things about travel:
The most obvious downside of full time travel is your finance. Unless you are some rich businessman or very successful travel blogger or Youtube star (In which case you probably shouldn’t even be reading this), you will almost always be broke. And everyone wants your money because everyone thinks your rich. You have to bargain for everything because everyone will always try to overcharge you if you are a foreigner. You have to make every cent count.
As a result of the previous point. Most of the time, you won’t even be able to have a decent meal, and if you are traveling to cheap third world countries like me, decent meals are hard to come by even if you can afford it. Some days might go by without getting anything to eat at all. Or you will have to eat local food which are really really REALLY bad sometimes. Or eat exactly the same thing everyday for 2 weeks.
The next big hurdle is accommodation. Couchsurfing is not that popular in third world countries. And even if you do manage to find a host, many of the times they expect gifts or money from you. Volunteering opportunities is also much harder to come by and can also cost you a whole heap of money. Even many of the hosts on places like Workaway will try to charge a small fee per day. When you do manage to get a volunteering gig, they will let you work 8 hours a day, 6 days a week which defeats the whole purpose of spending that much time in one place anyway. There might be times when you have to spend the night on the street, or sleep on buses or not sleep at all.
People can also be very unreliable and deceiving, you might find a host on CS which cancels on you at the last minute because you didn’t bring him expensive gifts. Or people will ‘help’ you ‘out of the good of their hearts’ but expect something in return at the end. And everyone will always stare at you and laugh at you everywhere you go. Be prepared for that as well.
You will almost never be able to visit all the cool attractions and do the fun activities because they will be too expensive most of the time. You will also feel alone, you will miss home, it’s a nightmare to find reliable internet, or to find clean water, or a warm shower. But in the end, it’s all worth it. I’ve never regretted a single moment of it! And I’ll do it all over again in a heartbeat.