I always daydream about traveling the world; the places I've been and the ones I'll soon see, all fill my head. It's wonderous isn't it? The idea of constantly being somewhere new? Experiencing new cultures and widening your horizons to levels you couldn't even imagine were possible! I love that feeling. It's in my character. It's who I am. I AM A WANDERER.
Albeit, I'm not always on the move (although it might quite possibly seem so), there is a good portion of the year where I am stuck at home, heading to my sub-par job, and engaging in my "normal life". It's horrid. All I can think of when I'm in my bedroom late at night, is leaving. Getting as far away from here as possible, and starting a new life in another place. Staring into the dark, it never occurred to me that the wanderer life may not be the Utopia I was searching for.
I imagined a life on the move to be a constant voyage, to be adventurous, and exciting, and an illuminative scope on my seemingly dreary world, and it was! What I wasn't prepared for were the downfalls of such a lifestyle. I had never considered that the grass might not be greener on the other side. My recent trip to Turkey (with stops in Egypt and Sudan) has made this cliché more of a reality than ever. Although my departure was for a mere month, there was much that I had yet to learn.
What sacrifices must you undertake to wander? Take these into consideration...
1. Living Comfortably
Say so-long to your personal bedroom. You'll now be sleeping in hostels and sharing a room with anywhere from 3-12 other individuals. Get ready for your new roommates to come back at obscure hours, drunk, have sex on your top half of the bunk-bed, and snore. Wonderful, isn't it?
2. Showering Comfortably
Don't take it for granted that when you enter your bathroom at home, you already have all of your shampoos, conditioners, soaps, loofahs, and razors ready. As a wanderer, you must carry everything with you each and every time you want to wash yourself. When you're done, you'll need to lug those same items out. Though not necessary in every hostel situation, if you want to make sure you're the only one using your essentials, its the safest route.
3. Locking Up
One thing I constantly took for granted is being able to leave my stuff laying around the room. Whether a book-bag or a random pair of shoes, when you're staying somewhere with other people, its always safest to lock up everything, all the time. It might not sound so horrible until you think about how sucky packing is. Now imagine needing to pack everything up every-time you leave your house...welcome to the first level of hell.
You already know this one. You're gonna miss them, unless they're on the trip with you. And even then, they'll manage to get on your nerves. Don't take them for granted though, you never know what you have till it's gone. Especially thousands of miles away.
Just like family, except they don't get on your nerves as much. You'll try to stay in touch using apps like WhatsApp and Viber, but it's never the same. Stories become too long to text, overseas connections aren't the best, and you're left in a slew of "I'll tell you when you come back" and "Wait, what was that? I can't hear you...what?...HUH?". The distance will weigh heavy on you.
It's exactly what it sounds like. Ice is a luxury in case you didn't know. Most places don't have ice, and drinks are served at room temperature. My mind was blown too. That aahh-mazing WaWa ice that you love to crunch on? Forget about it. You'll be lucky to get any sort of ice, let alone have a preference.
It is available, though scarcely. When you do find it, the signal isn't that great. When you find a great one, hold on for dear LIFE. There's nothing like being able to surf google freely. Censorship is a thing. Oh yea, forget about any Netflix and Hulu dreams. Non-existent. WTF.
8. Central Air
When you walk into your house when it's summer, you feel the cool breeze. When you walk in from the frigid air, you feel the lovely heat as soon as you enter. Central air is seriously sent from the Gods. It's only common in the United States. I haven't been anywhere else where its a "thing". Walk into a room and turn on the air conditioner for that room. Step into the hallway and Satan's air smacks you in the face. Also, bathrooms don't generally have any sort of ventilated air, except a possible window. That smell. We seriously live in a heaven of sorts.
9. Hot Water
Waking up in the morning and stepping into a hot shower feels like a hug from grandma, warm and cozy. Your wanderer showers will feel like electrical jolts running through your body, cold and crisp. Not the imagery you would've wanted? Get over it. People all over the world regularly take cold shower, and to have a heater warm your water for you is an extravagant addition, one many can't afford. "Jump in, jump out, turn yourself about" will now symbolize your shower routine.
Most of the sacrifices you'll make will be the ones you don't even think about. There are many things in the United States that other countries don't have, and you don't realize these things until you leave. Say goodbye to the free public library, and free water at restaurants. Free bathrooms with water fountains right outside are only but a dream. Paved roads and citizens who follow traffic signals are a thing of the past. Constant refills? Prepare to pay.
What all of this has taught me is that you can't get something, without giving up something else. I never thought that I would ever miss my normal life! But I did. I genuinely missed all the things I take for granted on a daily basis. I'm a wanderer, so you'd think that the last place I would want to be is in the same place I've grown up for over half my life.
I didn't know what I had, until it was no longer available. Traveling doesn't only allow you to appreciate outside cultures and experiences, but makes you see how lucky you are on a regular basis, in your normal life. When you wander far, you notice how close your daily blessings are.