Personal posts

What it is really like living on the road.

The high and lows of every tour guide and backpacker out there!

Just like normal travels, there are many highs and lows to it! There are some things that you begin to get used to and some things that you just know you will never get used to! Here are 5 of each!


THINGS YOU CAN GET USED TOO . . .


 

1. Living out of a backpack.

After 5 and a half months of living out a backpack and, yes, consistently being on the move, at first it is an absolute pain in the butt to live that way! There are definitely days where I am heading to bed or waking up in the morning and just know I need to pack my bag. Yes, my colleagues and friends have heard me bitch and complain all the time about it and there are still some days where I wish I had one of these bad boys. . .

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After a few months, I finally realised how I could make this work. Bought multiple more packing cubes. and got it all together! The one thing I haven’t figured out yet is the makeup and the bathroom utensils situation correctly, however overall it’s not too bad! I do also have a backpack that opens completely up like a suitcase instead of those ones that just opens from the top. Definitely, makes it a lot easier!

2. Consistently being on the move.

As a tour guide, we are literally on the move every, single, working, day. You can get into some cities at 9 pm, sometimes later, and you usually will have to be on a coach the next day at 8 am to move to the next city. Some days are awesome and go by so quickly! Usually, the days when people on your coach are chatty and want to have a talk, play games, or are just plain fun to be around! These days usually look like this. . .

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However, other days, passengers can just be hungover, tired themselves and just want to keep to themselves. These are the long days, or if there is traffic/roadworks, those are also killers. However, you have to use your days off wisely. Rest and rejuvenate, that is most tour guides plans! After a while, it just becomes normal to move around so much and you don’t know what to do on your days off!

3. Having the same conversation over and over again!

I know this sounds horrible, however, when you’re travelling and meeting so many new people, you have to have those awkward normal conversations over and over again! They usually go like this:

“Where are you from?”

“How old are you?”

“How long are you travelling for?” 

“Why did you choose this job?”

“What are your plans after this?”

“The weather today has been good” (Unless the weather has been extreme, I dislike weather conversations!)

I have been able to combat most of these by hitting them out when I introduce myself to people over the microphone each morning when I introduce myself, which is rather handy! In saying that, you just get used to answering them and then asking them. Once I get back home I swear I won’t know how to have a normal conversation with my friends and family anymore!

4. Saying goodbye to people

I definitely get to meet some awesome people, from mainly Australia but also a lot of other cool places! However, as Busabout is completely flexible you don’t get to stay with the same people for long and you don’t know if you’ll meet up with them again! So when you start to get along with people amazingly and then at the end of the day you come to the realisation you might not bump into them again in their travels. This is when you crazily add each other on every forum of social media and keep in contact like crazy! I always find myself saying forever goodbyes to passengers who I don’t know if I’ll see again and then when you bump into each other, it’s like seeing a long lost friend! It makes this part of travelling that little bit greater!

Even though I did say “forever” goodbyes, the best way to look at it is, imagine how many places you now have excuses to travel to all around the world!

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5. Language Barriers!

This one can be difficult! I’m not going to lie, I struggle to try to learn other languages! One of my drivers, who is Greek, tried to teach me Greek. It ended in me being frustrated and him laughing like no tomorrow because I was struggling! What I have tried to do for the countries I travel through frequently is learn the basics!

+ Hello

+ Do you speak English?

+ Toilets

+ Please

+ Thank you

+ Cheers! (Because you need to cheers your new local friends once making them!)

Especially in places like France and some Eastern European countries, this can be so handy! Not a lot of people in France actually speak English, same as a few Eastern European countries!

At first it can be frustrating not understanding the people around you, especially when you like checking out local hot spots, however I usually find that if you try and speak to locals with these few things, they are usually more welcoming and can be quite intrigued about you too if you meet them with a smile!

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THINGS YOU CANNOT GET USED TOO . . .


1. The showering situation

I cannot remember the last time I had a completely normal shower. One without thongs/flip-flops/jandals on, without having to push a button for water every 30 seconds, having to hold the shower head to wash properly, not having the temperature change between hot and cold frequently, worrying about having to make sure you get dressed without getting your clothes wet because the change area is the same as the shower area, and my absolutely favourite, having your skin touch the shower curtain, then realise that there was possibly 500 people before who have also had their naked butt touch the shower curtain. . .

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In other words, I just miss a shower where I can relax and not worry about getting a disease!

2. Carrying my life around.

Yes, I did say I am used to living out of my backpack, however, it’s big heavy and the streets and stairs of Europe can be painful to navigate with a backpack/suitcase! Luckily, with my job, the coach basically drops us off at or just around from the accommodation but some apartments we have and hostels we go to, have stairs and no lifts. I do barely work out at the moment, but this is just a constant reminder of how fit I am and what an inconvenience of what backpacking is like. We all need a bag like this . . .

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How much easier would it be to carry around a bag like Mary Poppins!!!

3. The food situation.

Don’t get me wrong, I love food and love trying food from different cultures! But when the food doesn’t include vegetables often, lots of carbs and cheese (especially when you’re lactose intolerant) a lot of the time you just miss cooking for yourself! Just something basic and healthy is all I want at times! Or a nice home-cooked meal by mother also wouldn’t hurt at all! Or being able to prepare meals, I kind of miss food prepping and being able to take my own lunch to work, not really able to do so when you have to take groups out for dinner nearly every night, your accommodation doesn’t have a kitchen and you don’t always have a fridge to store it in overnight.

4. Tourists, and privileged tourists.

I get this is part of the job, there are so many great travellers I come across who are beautiful people and at the same time I technically am also a tourist, although after getting to travel through a lot of different countries, frequently I feel like I am starting to get a much better understanding of how the locals want to be treated and want to come across as. At the same time, I’m still not perfect. However, there are a lot more tourists coming through who come across with a sense of entitlement, they are definitely a minority, although they exist. Things aren’t good enough, they expect so much, don’t leave behind tips (I get it we don’t tip in Australia, however, it is respectful to tip in most countries in Europe as they don’t have as high wages in a lot of these countries as we do in Australia. Click here to read my blog on Tipping Etiquette). I completely understand people have worked hard long hours to pay for their holiday, although flaunting your money in front of locals, then not leaving tips and being rude is not the way to make friends! Try and appreciate the locals, get to know them, try and have a conversation with them and appreciate the cities you are in! If you have been at a bar all night long and have appreciated the bartenders and their service, leave some money behind for them! Try local restaurants, and don’t leave behind a mark unless it’s in a positive way (a tip, a tree, something nice and beautiful!) Tourists are starting to get a bad name around Europe and it hurts to see the “Tourists go home” signs in so many amazing cities of Europe. I would love my future children to see them one day, and their children and so on and so on. Everyone deserves to see these sights so we need to look after them and be kind to the locals.

5. Home.

People always ask, “Do you get home sick?” I shrug it off and say no. A lot of the time, yeah I do. I miss home, that warm feeling of walking into your house with your family surrounding you after a hard day of work and just getting a hug, a kiss or some supportive words from the people that know you the absolute best! Your own bed, your shower, cooking, inviting people over and people just being surrounded by people who 100% understand you and don’t need to ask questions. It is something you get used to and some days you don’t think about it at all, other days you are submerged in the feeling of longing to be home. On the plus side, especially with my job, you get to create a new family. They will never replace the family and friends back home, but they know what you’re feeling and they understand you.

I love my job, and I love the ups and downs to my job that continue to follow me around because this is how one grows as a person and how you learn about yourself and the world that surrounds you. You start to become a better person.

I also love the people I am able to surround myself with. There is no way in hell I would have made it this far without the beautiful Busabout family I have been able to become a part of you. Everyone who has made an impact, you know who you are 💕

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