TRAVELLING … if you believe everything you see on Facebook, it’s all about the glamour and if you take Instagram’s word for it, we’re all supermodels carrying around a curling iron and a pair of heels in our backpack so we’re always ready for the perfect selfie.
Apparently, looking perfect has become more important than enjoying the experience.
But it seems it’s not only looks that count. And for once, I’m afraid that’s not even a good thing.
A while ago I received hate mail for writing an honest story about a sh**ty experience because “you shouldn’t write things like that, or people are never going to want to go there …” (that’s the censored version).
Apparently, travel bloggers are supposed to be selling the dream, not telling people about their real experiences. Now I’m not one to voluntarily shatter people’s dreams into pieces, and I apologise in advance, but I have to call it for what it is!
Let me tell you a secret. Travelling isn’t always perfect and most of the time your average traveller doesn’t look like a superstar while they’re trying to keep it together at 38 degrees and 95 per cent humidity after being scammed for the 17th time that day.
So here’s a list of my least glamorous moments on the road. Yes, you’re allowed to laugh at me.
That time I managed to jump off my bike just in time to avoid fainting in the middle of the street
What did I just tell you about keeping it together at 38 degrees and 95 per cent humidity? Add a bike tour on the hottest moment of the day and the result is me lying under the bike on the side of the road and my boyfriend throwing two litres of water in my face. Luckily I didn’t spend two hours using my curling iron that morning.
That time I didn’t manage to jump off my bike just in time to avoid fainting in the middle of the street
Well to be honest, I wasn’t actually on a bike or in the middle of the street that time, but I’m pretty sure it doesn’t look any more elegant just because it happens in a bus station full of people instead.
That time I tried to save a bird’s life — and failed
It was 11am in Koh Chang, Thailand. I was having breakfast next to the water when suddenly this guy starts running after a waterbird, trying to kill it by throwing stones at it. I was sitting on some kind of pier and — except for risking my own life jumping off the several meters high balcony — saw no possibility to even reach the water, so I had to be creative and come up with something else.
Don’t ask me why, but screaming like a crazed woman somehow seemed the best thing to do. Do I need to spell out what happened next? The guy didn’t care, the bird still died and other people in the restaurant started making phone calls — probably to the closest mental institution.
That time I lost my patience with this disrespectful tourist in China
When visiting a Buddhist temple, the least you can do seems to be — at least to me — cover up and adapt to local habits. Unfortunately, not everybody seems to agree.
So there I stood in my anything-but-sexy almost knee-long shorts, sweating my butt off in the scarf I’d wrapped around my shoulders — aka not being glamorous at all — when this woman dressed in shorts not even long enough to cover up her butt starts making a scene and insulting the man at the entrance because she’s asked to wear a (probably stinky) scarf they propose to lend her at the reception, followed by an attempt to try to get people to pity her because “she didn’t know”.
No need to go into all the nasty details but things like; “How about you check the introduction about the country you’re visiting in your guidebook instead of heading straight to the section about the best bars and nightclubs to hang around all night showing off your butt” might have been said.
That other time I lost my patience in China
I was at the Great Wall of China. I had been dealing with a lot of things including the crowds, the constant spitting, and shameless staring.
But imagine waiting in line for two hours at the Great Wall of China ticket booth, only to realise there’s more people skipping the line than people actually standing in it. And when you finally get to the point where you buy the tickets, there’s five hands on each side of you trying to put their money through the tiny hole in the window just to get their tickets first.
And although you’ll probably be able to handle that part of the trip without too much danger for your mental health, the adventure of getting back to Beijing after your visit might just make you slightly lose it.
‘Slightly lose it’ like in that you standing there screaming at 450 eager Chinese people who have no clue of why that European woman suddenly decided she needed to go completely insane.
Because, by the 47th time someone grabbed my ass, I couldn’t take it anymore. And I lost it. I just. Totally. Lost it. I turned around. And I screamed: “Stop pushiiiiinnnnggggg!”.
What followed were the five weirdest seconds of my whole life: A few hundred Chinese people just staring at me with their mouths wide open. It seemed like an eternity. The laughs that followed afterwards — pretty much just in my face, obviously — were almost a relief.
But believe it or not, from that moment on, nobody touched me anymore! They were probably all to scared to get close to that nut job European woman.
We finally got on a bus after almost three hours of waiting.
See, all those times I actually tried to be glamorous but — well — kinda failed …