Blog Post by: Michelle Manganello
You see this picture. Doesn't it look so simple. It looks so easy. It looks like that man is a thousand miles away from any worries. Don't you want to be there. But, you know, I bet theres more to this picture. I bet there is a whole lot more. There is so much more to a picture, like what is happening before, or after it was captured. No on puts up their hard times up on their social media. Everyone makes it seem so much easier. They don't tell you that when you travel you don't just magically arrive at these amazing places. They do not tell you that it was not smooth sailing to get there. They do not tell you that the backpack hurt their shoulders, or that every street sign was in a different language. They do not tell you this.
But I will.
It's hard. It is not glamorous. Travel is the most magical, life changing thing you can choose to do with your time. I recommend it, I urge each and every single one of you to go somewhere you have never been, to see something moving, to help someones life change, to make a difference, whatever calls your heart; go. But I am not going to lie to you, not now not ever. You kind of have to walk threw some sheep poop to get there.
I have been traveling my entire life. It is so ingrained in who I am I can't help but pursue this passion. I thank the Lord every day for the life I live. The blessings are endless. I am eternally grateful. But damn. Sometimes I have to wonder; am I doing this right?
If you, like me, only book with budget airlines; they only leave at six in the morning. This means spending a night in the airport a least three times a month if not more. The floor is cold, dirty, and hard. I don't know who decided that fluorescent lighting was a good idea, but let me tell you, it was the worst idea.
There is never seating, if there is, by some cold hearted design flaw, the seats are separately bared off so you cannot lay down across them. Breathe.
Getting there is hell. I mean you can cough up 30€ each way for a taxi, but who has that kind of dough? So your only choice is to take two trains and a bus to the airport, because the T8 is under construction the entirety of your trip.
Sometimes, you are on you way to the airport and you miss the last train and you have to pay the 30€ anyways because if not you are royally screwed out of you mind.
Sometimes, your budget airline isn't so cheap. Sometimes, they charge you 70€ if you don't print out your boarding pass, and twice that much if your bad is over the sizing chart.
Sometimes, you lock yourself out of your rental car. Breathe. Sometimes you arrive to a new country with no plan and no phone so your only option is to make six pretty signs to hitchhike your entire way down the country before your flight leaves.
Sometimes, you have really solid plans but Mother Nature legitimately down pours on you and your plans. Sometimes, you get brutally sick and your average joe insurance doesn't care that you have doctor bills, it will tip it's hat, send its best and tell you "tough luck". Sometimes, you don't have anywhere to live and it is already dark, so you sit in McDonald's until you get confirmed in couch surfing, as per you can't afford actual housing. Breathe.
Sometimes, your diet solely consists of sweet potatoes and carrots because your funds are too low for a proper meal. Sometimes, you back up into lava rocks and dent your rental car. Sometimes, you just want to go home but it will take an extra $250 to get there, and you do it because you miss your bed and the people you are staying with are dicks. Sometimes, your host cancels on you two hours before you get to the country and so you will try to roll with it but all of the hostels and Airbnbs will cost you 200€ just for two nights. Sometimes.
You get homesick. You get lonely. You can't talk to your family when you need to talk to your family because it's 3AM where they are and when they wake up you are busy, out of wifi, or sleeping. Breathe.
You will feel an overwhelming pressure to look like you are having the best time ever, every single day because you were somewhere magical, because you worked so hard for it, because it is the time of your life. (And it is) You will feel so much pressure to do everything that this person and that person did, because if they found a way to make it work so should you.
They don't tell you.
I am telling you, things go wrong.
I am also telling you, it is worth it.
I cross my heart, hope to die, stick a needle in my eye....it's worth it. Boy, will it all make for a good story. I promise you; you will be sitting on that flight home, looking out your seat 13A window, and will sit there knowing you milked every bit out of your time abroad.
So don't worry. When things go wrong, roll with it as much as you can, because it happens. You aren't doing it wrong. I think we all just missed the life brochure that life doesn't go according to the way we thought it is supposed to be. Just breathe, breathe in really, really deeply, let it all out, and just know it will work out.
Even when it gets windy.