Road Wisdom: Character Building

Travelling the way we are (cheaply) for a long time can be really, really, REALLY taxing. We call it ”character building” now. I know it seems like a total dream, travelling around the world to exotic locales for 400 days, but trust me, we’re not exactly staying at Sandals resorts and living a jet set lifestyle. This is the developing world and while a budget of $50/day for two people is livable, it grows weary after a while. Its been almost 3 months now and our standards of living have plummeted from our days in the ole USA. We just upgraded from our bamboo hut with sand floors in the jungle to a real, honest to god room with a functioning florescent light in it and an actual bathroom nearby! It’s the little things. Like walls. I’ve been bitten and stung more times in 3 months than in the 30 years prior. Sand fleas, mosquitos, biting ants, scorpions, spiders, jellyfish, you name it. You could play connect the dots on my leg right now. We lie in bed often at night, sweating in 95 degree heat with no AC for hours until just as we fall asleep the roosters wake us at 4am. Our backs have grown sore from sitting on cramped busses for 14 hours at a time and sleeping on cloth bundled springs and bars being passed off as mattresses. Hot water sounds mind-blowing. I just took a typical cold shower from an exposed pipe sticking out of the wall, no shower head, just some water drizzling out of a pipe. But hey, it got the sand off of me. Most of all though we miss our friends and families. Yeah already. We’ve made a lot of great friends on the road but that doesn’t mean we miss the ones we already had any less. It’s tough not having them around to share this with or to lean on at times.

We’ve got a long way to go and a lot of the world to see…maybe it will get easier… maybe it will get more difficult… but two things are for sure… it’s all been worth it… and by the time we’re done you’ll be able to see our character from space. 😉

3 thoughts on “Road Wisdom: Character Building

  1. Take a break. Stay in one place for a few weeks. Colombia is super cheap and accommodating, as are many places in your plans. The bus rides and heat and bugs and, and, and…can wear you down. The one thing you do have is time. It’s not a race. If nothing else, in less than a year you will have a rock hard, but free, mattress to sleep on at my place. As well as an honest-to-god hot shower that’s right over my toilet, so you can pee in the shower in a totally legit fashion! Comfort at its finest!

  2. Wow! That definitely sounds less than ideal. I’m not sure 400 days of backpacking the world appeals to most people, but either way, reality checks can be rough. Sounds like these experiences are gonna help you achieve part of what you sought out to achieve, to quote your introduction, and help you guys become “more aware citizens of the world.” No one said developing empathy for all the people in this world that don’t have plush mattresses, have access to hot showers, or even 4 simple walls was easy! Just remember, while it might be hard, it will never be useless. There is always more to learn. And don’t forget about perspective–try and focus on the fact that this is a once in a life time opportunity that most people will never have! Take care 🙂

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