Travel isn’t always pretty.

Most people seem to think that if you’re #blessed to go traveling for a long period of time, your whole life’s a beach. Of course not, haven’t you seen Jaws?!

After the rollercoaster that was Kuala Lumpur, or Petaling street to be more specific, I have zoned out on the beach in Penang for a while, to regain some sense of equilibrium. I was really gutted that I didn’t see my Marine again. 

After spending another day daydreaming on the beach I check Facebook and the first thing I see is this quote from Anthony Bourdain. (I really like the fact that it autocorrects to Boursin – ah, cheese) 

“Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s okay. The journey changes you; it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart and on your body. You take something with you. Hopefully you leave something good behind.” 

Anyone who’s ever taken the 12 hour nightbus, on a cramped seat sitting next to some guy who could’ve had the decency to shower somewhere in the past week, with non-existent aircon knows that traveling isn’t always comfortable. Or when you get to your hostel, more dead than alive after a long journey to find out that the flimsy mattress is covered in bed bugs, the shower doesn’t work – and god forbid; the wifi is down. Or that time you did eat something from that dodgy stall at the hawker center and you’re now cursing your existence on that flimsy mattress, getting up every two hours to hurry to the hole in the floor to empty your bowels once more. No; not pretty. But it comes with the territory and that’s all good. 

Now, those of you who know me aren’t surprised that I’ve hurt myself. I’ve fallen through almost every crack in the pavement on Bali. The silliest way to sprain my ankle was by tripping over some sand on the beach; I shit you not. Every single fucking time I get on a boat I crack my skull. I’ve been stung by jellyfish and attacked by monkeys, dogs and roosters. Obviously I’ve forgotten to put on sunscreen. Walked face-first into a stalactite. But nothing serious, so stuff I can live with. 

But not finding the marine again put me in a funk. It’s so easy to stay in touch. Why didn’t I just ask for his Facebook, phone number, a handle or the old-school email address? Well, for one, he’s a marine and not a traveler. Sure, I could have met up with him for a couple of days in some faraway land where the visas are a pain to obtain. Or fly out after his tour. But would I? Second, been there, done that and a fat lot of good it did me. 

So I let my rationale decide and I just walked out, something I regret doing. So, lesson learned. I don’t need the cheesy fairytale bliss, the instant happily ever after. I want that guy who thinks I’m as hilarious as I find myself. Who’s not pussyfooting around and calls me on my bullshit. Who makes me laugh. With whom I can have late night discussions about semantics. But to get all that some contact information would be convenient. 

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3 responses to “Travel isn’t always pretty.

  1. I travel intensely for work and you got it…traveling aint always pretty and actually pretty brutal at times. I need like two days to recover lol

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