The Reality of Traveling3 min read

The Reality of Traveling

It’s become a huge trend: traveling. Travelers are everywhere, no matter if you’re on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, or just reading a magazine. They’re everywhere. So there’s them, living the life, and there’s the others who wonder “How do they do that?!” How do 20-year-olds travel around the world, do all sorts of cool stuff, and you just sit at home and struggle to pay rent? Being in a different country every couple of days, seeing the most beautiful cities in this world and adventuring in a bikini all day long, who’d say no to that? So I’ve been getting lots of messages from friendly requests for some advice on where to go, to “I’m jealous” and even to “you’re such spoiled girl”. Ummm…okay, let me give you a quick reality check.

The Reality of Traveling

The stuff you see on social media is not “IT”

Of course, there are some people that can afford that whole 5*-resort-spa-first-class-flights-and-all-inclusive travel lifestyle. I, and most other travelers can’t though. When traveling, you get ups and downs. You miss your trains, you get lost in the heat with a 20 kg backpack on your shoulders and find yourself in uncomfortable beds in hostel dorms that you share with 20 other people. That’s all part of traveling, just as the “nice stuff” that you’ll get to see on social media. But, of course, I’m gonna show you the crystal clear water I swam in and the beautiful streets I’ve strolled through instead of the shitty yogurt that I ate with a fork for breakfast because I couldn’t find a spoon.

Still not convinced? Here are some examples:

While interrailing, my best friend and I caught mostly night trains to save money for accommodation. On our way to Belgrade/ Serbia we slept in front of the train toilet on the floor using our backpacks as pillows. It was freezing cold as the doors of the train kept opening, we slept there for 5 hours until someone felt sorry for us and let us sit in first class (where we got kicked out before).

On the way back from Belgrade to Bucharest, Romania, I sat on my friend’s lap for 9 hours in a about 40 C hot train as it was completely full and only my seat was reserved for someone else (of course).

In Bari, Italy, we stayed in a hostel with about 10000000 mosquitoes in our dorm. The whole night was just a struggle between hiding under the sheets from the mosquitoes and dying because of the unbearable heat or getting eaten by insects. Oh, and we also caught bedbugs there. We still have scars all over our bodies from their stings.

In Athens we had lunch sitting on the street eating yogurt with oats and a banana that we cut up with a plastic spoon that we stole from Subway. Yum!

We washed our dirty laundry in the sink with normal soap. That didn’t even include shirts- after weeks of living out of a backpack. You can’t tell what’s clean and what’s dirty anymore and you’re gonna sweat in the heat again anyway- might as well just wear the same shirt as yesterday.

Make-up? What’s that? It’s way too hot, too much effort and who cares anyway? That’s why photos of places closer to the end of a journey are usually the “back to the camera, pretend I’m not looking”- type..or sunnies, sunnies are great to hide behind!

When road tripping in South Africa, we slept in our car. I should probably mention that it was a tiny little car (cheapest rental option) and I couldn’t even stretch my legs at night, even though I’m not even 1,60 m tall.

The Reality of Traveling
Sleeping + living in our tiny car in South Africa – last night’s dinner is still in the background.

So, are you still wondering on how we travel so much? We save money wherever we can, we don’t mind getting dirty and being uncomfortable every now and then, that’s the little price we pay for having an amazing time that you’re being jealous of. That’s the reality of backpacking, it’s not all shiny and glamorous…like, at all. Still keen on traveling? Off you go, get dirty!!



  • I love this. I’ve gotten a lot of similar “you don’t understand because your so rich” comments, and they make me laugh sometimes, thinking of the messes I’ve been in all over the world trying to save a euro here or a dirham there. The funny thing is, I find that the people often making the comments about travelers being “spoiled” are the same people who are unwilling to put up with the less than luxurious adjustments required to pull of budget travel.

    • oh, you’re so right! It really does usually come from people who’d never stay in dorms at a hostel or just grab some fruit at a market instead of eating out! <3

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