Yin Yang of Travel

Last week I wrote about the reasons that I love to travel and this week I want to write about the things that I could live without on our journey.

I have always considered myself a “realist”, which some people call negative or pessimistic. I protest this misunderstanding heavily. Being a realist is having a positive attitude that something may/will go wrong with every big plan. Think of it, have you ever been on a trip, or even gone through a single day, where everything went exactly as you planned? Thats right…my point is proven. So my realist attitude makes me prepare for the (extremely) possible craziness that will ensue at any given moment. It also helps me to remember that when plans don’t go as expected it’s not the end of the world. I have learned not to let the bad diminish the good, but I feel its important to be honest and say not everything is amazing while traveling. So here are the things that I find are the most trouble while traveling.

Bugs

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(Photo by Chad R. Mitchell)

Here in Santa Rosa, we are blessed to have very few bugs that make me jump onto chairs or feel like my skin is crawling off. The occasional ants in the kitchen, or (non-poisonous) spiders that grow to be about the size of quarter, and even the rare sighting of a potato bug (also called a Jerusalem cricket) I can handle. I feel like this little city of ours is an oasis from most of the many legged critters that inhabit and terrify the rest of the world. I used to believe I was one tough cookie because I never felt scared of bugs. My pride was quickly dashed as Chad and I traveled through Thailand and the rest of southeast Asia and Taiwan. The cockroaches (that fly…EEEEEK!!) and spiders as big as my hand were enough to make me realize that I was a wimp when it comes to bugs. I remember one night in Koh Panang, Thailand walking into our bungalow bathroom and seeing a HUGE (about 8 inches long huge) centipede crawling in from the shower drain. I screamed like a little girl and most likely woke the whole island from a sound sleep. I realized that I do not like bugs, but bugs like me, well mainly vicious and annoying mosquitoes like to eat me. I would wake up most mornings looking like I had been in the heavy-weight boxing ring with Muhammad Ali because the mosquitoes would bite my face (over and over) and I would swell up so attractively. I think this time on my travels I may just walk around with a huge mosquito net around myself…or wait… maybe a bee keepers suit! Let them try to get me through that..HA!

Traveling Clothes

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Me in Thailand  in 2006. Don’t you just love the camouflage pants?

(Photo by Chad R. Mitchell)

It is very popular with the backpacking crowd to travel with as little clothing as possible. Most people try to keep it to a few outfits, a couple pairs of shoes, and all the electronic gadgets you can carry. I accomplished this standard of packing last time. When Chad and I left for Southeast asia in 2006, I had packed one pair of jeans, 2 capri pants, 2 pairs of underwear, 3 pairs of socks, 4 t-shirts, one swimsuit, and one set of pj’s. I brought a pair of flip flops and a pair of converse all-stars. I figured that if I needed anything else, I could buy it along the way. Being my first time out of the country, I had absolutely no clue that they do not sell clothing for women that are 5’10” and larger than a size small (seriously their larges seemed like an american small) in Asia. And to even think about finding shoes my size…well, I wear size 11, their largest size is 8, maybe 8 ½. I got laughed out of many a shoe store for the next two years that we lived there. I was able to find a couple of basics at Costco once we lived in Taipei that were not very attractive, but at least were something new. I think I would physically throw up if I ever had to don one of those outfits again.

I will not be packing that way this time around. I have been buying skirts, dresses, leggings, jeans, tank tops, t-shirts, and sweaters that will roll up into tiny little balls. I like to look feminine and stylish and I mostly wear skirts and dresses anyways so I plan to take all my clothes with me on our travels. Yes, some things need to be tough and useful while traveling, but I refuse to give up my style this time around. As far as shoes go, those are the most important possessions I will be taking with me. I plan to somehow fit three pairs of boots, a pair of flats, a pair of flip-flops and my all-stars into my backpack. I will make it happen, even if I have to leave my hygiene products, besides nice shoes will cover up the smell of B.O. right?

Well, look at that, I have only two things I can really think of that make traveling a tiny bit less amazing! I feel like a total optimist right now! I am sure that I will think of some more things that can make our journey more realistic, but right now I am just going to bask in the glow of positivity.

What have you found hardest while traveling? Go ahead and leave a comment! And don’t worry, its not called negativity here, this is a realist zone.

 

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