The Rant: What It’s Really Like to Travel, This Much

A Long, long time ago, on a Facebook post far away, I posted this rant because many of my friends kept making comments about how nice it must be to do as much traveling as I did. And honestly, traveling is more my husband’s thing than mine. I like it, but I’m more inclined to be a bedslug, curled up with a book avoiding the world which is vastly overpopulated by ….people. And plagues. And people who carry plagues. And I’m about to go get tested for Covid, and if I have Covid, I’m not going to be allowed to go home, and I am really, really ready to be home, and I made the incredibly stupid decision to spend the last two nights in crowded pubs, allowing people to breathe on me. But at least the Bedchamber Slaves were happy because they got to do their jobs at night, so they feel accomplished. But if I test positive, I might be stuck here in Jolly Ole for a bit longer and I am tired.

And in my downtime, while bedslugging, I’ve been going through Facebook and transitioning all my old travel posts and pictures onto this blog, now that it’s been resurrected from the ashes, and as I sit here on my hopefully Final Day in London, after a six week sojourn into the world, I’m really feeling this one again. So instead of backdating this one, I’m just reposting it today. Because today, I am definitely feeling the “Arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrgh!!” And it is just as relevant to me today, as it was 4 years ago.

August 31, 2018 Somewhere in Canada

Okay, so like, legit remember that Bridezilla going around your social media who threw an epic tantrum because her friends and fam refused to hand over a check for 2 large each to fund her Kardashian-wedding? Remember the outrage at her egregious sense of personal entitlement? Remember how you wanted to punch her in her arrogant nose? Remember the indignation?!! If that was your reaction to her, stop reading now because I’m about to lay out a manifesto of first world entitlement that’s going to make her look reasonable. The hubs and I travel a lot and it’s fantastic and great and oh yes getting to see all these wonderful places is so awesome and I could wax poetic about all the many and numerous upsides to doing this, but I’m not going to. That’s for people who lie, like those women who tell you that pregnancy and childbirth is an amazing thing and so rewarding and don’t tell you about the hemorrhoids the size of grapefruits and the fact that after you squeeze that thing out of you, for the rest of your life, every time you laugh you’re going to pee yourself a little. So yeah, it’s wonderful and a joy and a really great life experience and there will be rewards for the rest of your life but there’s a lot of pissy, pain in the ass stuff involved too, especially the way we do it.

Everyone loves to go away for a couple of weeks, and get outside their comfort zones but everyone loves coming back to their own bed, and their own kitchen and their own food because there’s a limit to how far outside ones personal boundaries most people want to go for an extended period of time. Vacations are fun. We aren’t on vacation. We’re living our life in other people’s houses, by renting airbnbs and moving every couple of weeks. For months at a time. We aren’t on vacation, we’re perpetually packing up, moving to a new place and then unpacking and doing this, over, and over, endlessly for months. And it’s not just a suitcase, no. Because when you’re on the road for more than a quarter of your life, you need some STUFF. Lots of stuff. Kayaks and stuff for the kayaks, bicycles and stuff for the bicycles. And of course grocery staples that you have to tote with you. And every couple of weeks, all that stuff, ALL.THAT.STUFF has to be packed and unpacked, packed and unpacked.

And while we’re on this “vacation”, clothes still have to be washed, food still has to be cooked, dishes still have to be done (without a freaking dishwasher), floors still have to be swept and every single task that you do by rote in your own home without even thinking about the steps involved now becomes a 15 minute process of “Where’s the pans in this place, crap! where’s the pot holders! , where’s the dishes, where’s the FRAKKING SPATULA!”.

Imagine if one night someone snuck into your house and completely re-arranged everything in it and put every single item in a completely different place. Then in two weeks, just when you’re finally remembering where everything is without once having a frantic freak out in the middle of meal preparation like “OH MY GOD!!!!THERE’S NO COLANDER! HOW CAN THEY NOT HAVE A COLANDER! HOW AM I GOING TO DRAIN THE NOODLES!!!! They’re Going To Be MUSH!!! ARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRGH!!!!!!” and you’ve finally got everything locked down, well then it’s time to move to the next place and you get to do it all over again, with new and different stuff in different places. And repeat. And repeat.

And you try to prepare by planning to make simple meals, so you buy sandwich makings and a box of mac and cheese, nothing difficult, and then of course, the place doesn’t have a colander. So when you go to buy your groceries for the NEXT place you think, okay they may not have a colander, I’ll get a frozen entree of mac and cheese, but the next place DOES have a colander…. but they don’t have a microwave. And you have to buy your groceries ahead of time, because you’re staying in some BFE cabin in the middle of nowhere and the grocery store is 40 minutes away. And this happens over. And over. And over. For. Every. Thing.

Doing the dishes, but they don’t have a dishrack, or a dish towel, doing the laundry but they don’t have a washer and dryer, and every simple task that takes up no actual brain processing energy in your own home and can be done by rote, is now a complicated analytical calculus of HOW CAN I SWEEP THE FREAKING FLOOR IF THEY DON’T HAVE A BROOM! ARE THESE PEOPLE SAVAGES!!! HOW DO THEY CLEAN THE FLOOR?! and WHO DOESN’T OWN A COFFEE MAKER!! and WHERE’S THE STUPID LIGHT SWITCH BEFORE I FALL OVER ANOTHER DAMN CHAIR AND BREAK MY NECK! I’VE BEEN LOOKING FOR TWENTY MINUTES, how do they turn on the light?!! and “Oh, look at this adorably quaint little bathroom, so snug, I’ve always found it easier to pee when my knees were at my chin, not to mention having to shave my legs in a shower that’s a 2×2 and I can’t bend over without risking a concussion”. And have I mentioned that we travel mostly in summer, and 90 percent of homes in the world don’t actually have centralized air-conditioning? Incessant sweating is very fun. And so easy to sleep through. If of course the bed is not too hard or too soft, Goldilocks was a burglar, we pay for the privilege of constantly uncomfortable beds. And of course, there’s never sufficient outlets so that everyone can charge their kindles and their computers and their phones. Not that I can actually charge my phone because I haven’t seen my charger since our last stop, who knows where it’s gone to, probably in the same place as my headphones which disappeared two stops ago.

So see, yeah, getting to travel and see amazing places is….amazing. But every once in a while, when you go “Wow, must be nice!” and I just start frothing at the mouth and screaming “AAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRGHHH!”…. just let me have it, every once in a while. And, now, I need to go and pack up all my crap. Again.

June 1, 2022 Postscript

As I sat there in the nurses office with a cotton swab jammed into my brain all I could think was how of course it was going to be positive and I was going to be stuck here for another week and I was going to be trapped in a nightmarishly expensive hotel that didn’t even have the fucking decency of having a decadent dessert selection and that entire above rant was running through my head and all I could think was “It’s FUCKING COLANDERS ALL OVER AGAIN!!!” which thank god I didn’t actually blurt out because they would have sent me off to Bedlam, but you’ll be happy to know I tested negative and joy of joy, I’ll be returning home, with nothing but happy memories, of a really great time in London. Except for being constantly sneered at by an uppity staff at a pretentious hotel who know I’m not a real lady because I roll down my own damn sheets.

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