‘Make the most of every minute. One day you will look back and wish you were where you are now’
Most days will be bursting with exciting new experiences and you will be too busy enjoying yourself to feel anything but content and happy to be living the life of a nomad. However, even the most optimistic of travellers will occasionally be challenged by situations that travel is capable of surprising us with. Here we take a look at how to stay positive on the road when faced with these challenges.
Homesickness pangs can hit you when you least expect them. Whether you miss your family, friends or beloved dog, homesickness is a common ailment of the traveller. You just have to accept that it will pass and keep busy. Many people find Christmas particularly difficult whilst travelling. Indeed, although we love to escape the British winter, we miss partying with friends and celebrating Christmas Day with family.
If you miss your pets, housesitting could be the answer. Not only do you stay in a home, rather than a hotel or hostel, but you get to spend time in the company of cats or dogs. When we have the opportunity, we like to housesit between staying in hotels and guest houses. It’s a perfect way to slow down and enjoy the company of animals as well offering the opportunity to indulge in home comforts.
Sometimes a call home helps. Establishing that all is well and nothing much has changed since your departure can put your mind at rest. Also, reminding yourself that you are privileged to be wandering the planet free of responsibility can help you stay positive and diminish thoughts of home. At least you are not stuck in an office clock watching!
Aggressive touts can test the patience of the most chilled backpacker. Obviously, this particular problem depends on your location. In certain places in the world, rickshaw touts can be the bane of the traveller’s existence (and sometimes their saviour too!) It is not simply their perusal of a fare, but the tricks that they play once they have you safely ensconced in their vehicle! As lovely as most of the population of Sri Lanka were, the touts were among the worst we had ever encountered.
Pretending not to know the location of our guest house, driving us all over town unnecessarily, attempting to charge three times the agreed amount and shouting at us as we got out of the rickshaw were just a few of the unpleasant experiences that we had. We were taken for a ride in more ways than one!
Of course, touts are just trying to make a living. Many of them will approach you with a smile and graciously accept it when you make it clear that you don’t require their services. Others are a major pain. The important thing is to stay cool. You will get ripped off occasionally. Obviously, do whatever you can to avoid this happening, but don’t get too upset when it inevitably does. It will only spoil your day, and it’s just not worth it!
Surviving on a Tight Budget
Surviving on a very tight budget can be tough. There are so many great opportunities and not having the cash to fund certain activities because your budget won’t stretch to it is a bummer. Sometimes we have to remind ourselves that at least we are exploring the world, even if we can’t afford to go white-water river rafting or whatever. Instead we choose to do things which are free or cheap.
Staying in the most basic of accommodations can take its toll. Bedbugs, paper thin walls, cockroaches and concrete like mattresses can break you. If that is the case and you can afford to, splash out on something a little more comfortable every now and again in order to keep your spirits up and stay positive.
Illness at some stage of an extended trip is inevitable. When Delhi Belly or Montezuma’s Revenge strikes, it can be pretty miserable and very difficult to stay positive. Being holed up in a hotel room, throwing up, instead of outside exploring and having fun isn’t why you decided to travel. Drink plenty of safe water and use rehydration salts. If your symptoms persist, make arrangements to see a doctor. Being sick isn’t pleasant at any time, but when you are travelling, it can be a real downer, especially when you are in a foreign country. Be patient, take it easy and soon you will be back in the world of the living.
Feeling displaced is something that we have heard some travellers complain about. While most of us are travelling to escape routine, some people find that a lack of structure to their days requires adjustment. Whilst travelling you are gifted with an abundance of time. You won’t always be out exploring temples or climbing volcanoes. Instead of wasting this precious commodity, focus on doing something that you don’t have time to back home, and incorporate it into a routine. Learning a language, reading a classic, writing a book, whatever it is, will keep you occupied, give even more purpose to your journey and make you feel more positive.
If you are travelling solo, it can occasionally be tough to cope with not having someone around to share things with. If you are having a bad travel day, it can seem much worse when you are alone. The good news is that it is substantially easier to meet new friends when you are on your own. If you are in need of company, hostels are usually ideal places to meet like-minded travellers, have a beer and share travel tips. Often a chat with a fellow traveller can leave you feeling motivated and positive again.
Whether you are at a bus station or a cafe, you are more likely to be approached by both locals and other travellers than if you are travelling with someone. Befriending locals is a great way to learn about local culture and enjoy the company of those whose lives are very different to your own.
Burn out happens to the most committed of world explorers. Maybe you have arrived in town at midnight after a thirty-hour journey on a seriously over-packed bus. You can’t find your guest house and when you eventually do, they have lost your booking. You are physically and emotionally shattered. Perhaps you have been travelling too hard and fast. One night in Mumbai, a couple of nights in Udaipur before catching an overnight train to the Himalayas. You get the idea – overdoing it is a sure-fire way to start feeling the effects of burn out.
When you find yourself in this situation, slow down, The beauty of long-term travel is that you don’t have to travel with the intensity that you would if you were squeezing everything in on a two-week break. Rather than attempting to cram too much in, spend at least a week in one place. Relax, eat healthy food and get to know the locals. Before long you will be revived, refreshed and feeling positive again. Above all, always remember that travel is a privilege. It’s something that many people don’t have the opportunity or means to do – so make the most of it while you can!
We have been housesitting for around eight years now and it has revolutionised our lives. Not only have we met some great pets, but also some lovely people, who we have stayed in contact with over the years. Many of our housesits are arranged by word of mouth, through friends and people we have housesat for previously. We also use TrustedHousesitters, one of the largest housesitting websites around, who offer housesits worldwide. Affiliate Disclosure: It should be noted that some of the links above are affiliate links. This means that we earn a commission if a purchase is made at no extra cost to you. If you have any questions about the companies or our status as affiliates, please feel free to contact us.