We’ve been on the road for a shade less than five months. While there’s plenty we’re enjoying, and overall the chance to travel is a massive privilege, it’s also timely to acknowledge the things we miss. Here’s a collection ranging from the big and meaningful to the small and practical.
- Friends and family. Obviously. People who have known you forever, or as good as, are very important. There aren’t many of those in Bolivia, it turns out. Friendships on the road tend to be superficial. Conversations with other travelers are as much a kind of trade and exchange about travel information as anything else.
- A fridge, a pantry and a fruit bowl. Our food experiences traveling have ranged from sublime to stomach curdling. But no matter how good the food on offer it’s not the same as having control of your own eating destiny, accessing a well stocked kitchen. We miss being able to make a hot drink, or a sandwich, and knowing how it will taste before the first bite.
- A week with a schedule. This is definitely a grass is always greener one but… Working full time has – in theory at least – a delineation between the time you are working and the time you aren’t. There’s a predetermined time for guilt free relaxation. We recall this pleasing realisation when we moved from studying to working. When we’re traveling we’re 100% in control of our own schedule and therefore need to make judgements about when to relax and when to really get out there and tourist. Sometimes it’s hard to know whether you should forgo that museum for an afternoon nap, or exactly how many House of Cards episodes it takes to recover from a night bus.
- The news. At home it is easy to absorb the news – local, national, international – through osmosis. That’s probably because of how easy it is to browse news sites when blurring the theoretical work/relax distinction set out above. It’s much harder to dabble in news in this way on the road.
- Drinking from the tap. Buying bottled water is annoying, costly and bad for the environment.
- Brushing teeth after breakfast. Very often our morning routine involves checking out of where we’re staying and/or going to find somewhere to breakfast before starting our traveling day. Teeth brushing fits in before check out and before breakfast and is less satisfying this way.
- Going away and coming home. Surely one of the most satisfying features of travel is the anticipation before the journey. And another is the feeling of homecoming – back to your own bed which feels exactly as it used to. Both these feelings are commonplace when we’re at home. There’s always a trip to be planned and talked of. And there are plenty of homecomings, even if just from a day trip to Auckland.