What have we missed while traveling?

by - August 07, 2018

Here are 10 things we have missed while traveling, in no particular order:

  1. A quiet place to sleep: there have been very few instances where we have a nice quiet place to sleep.  We are always woken up by noisy bunk mates, barking dogs, roosters, children, or honking horns.  The buildings are all made with very thin walls and often the windows must be left open for fresh air or to cool the room down due to lack of air conditioning.  In three months we have only stayed in a handful of places with air conditioning.
  2. Normal plumbing: everywhere we have traveled thus far does not allow toilet paper or any other materials to be flushed.  You can imagine the way this makes the bathrooms smell.  It isn't pleasant.  
  3. Hot showers: when you book a hostel you just never know if you are going to get hot water or not.  In Central America you could almost be certain you wouldn't.  The first thing you do when you check out the bathroom situation is look at the shower heads.  If they have two electrical wires running to the shower head you know it's going to suck.  This means that if you turn the water on fully you will receive ice cold water.  If you want hot water you barely turn it on until you hear the zapping noise, then you wait for the trickle of scalding water to come out. Take your pick.  We have heard stories of people getting shocked by the water as well.  It does seem unsafe to have wires that close to running water.  Then there are the times when you get hot water, but is short lived.  
  4. Cold drinking water: drinking warm water is something we will never enjoy.  Ice is either not a thing because you can't drink the tap water or not sold at all.  Sometimes stores do not sell cold beverages because it costs money to run a refrigerator.  We try not to splurge on buying water anyway.  It seems like a silly thing to spend your money on for an entire year.
  5. Privacy: it feels like we are never truly alone.  There are always people around when you stay in hostels.  You can't relax in your bed because people are in and out all day.  The hangout areas are always filled with fellow travelers.  It's even hard to find a quiet enough place(with wifi) to call friends and family to have a private conversation.  Often we feel when we are talking to each other someone can always hear us.  As of lately we have taken more time researching hostels to find cheap private rooms.  We have also started using Airbnb to book private rooms within people's homes.
  6. Laundry: we try to not pay to get our laundry done very often, but it seems to be about 50/50.  If a hostel has a good area to hang clothes we wash our clothes in the sink or shower.  We miss how clothes feel after they have tightened up in the dryer.  Even when we pay to have it done, it never seems to smell like they use laundry soap.
  7. Good breakfast:  we have yet to find a country that serves a good breakfast.  We are unsatisfied by the options.  They do not usually serve meat with breakfast unless you want to pay the overpriced charge for it.  We haven't had good bacon since we left.  I also miss my Dunkin Donuts.  It's shocking how hard it is to get a good cup of coffee.  Take today for instance, I ordered coffee with milk.  I received half a cup of hot water, half a cup of dark, bitter coffee, and half a cup of hot milk.  It just doesn't make sense.
  8. Independence:  we are always relying on public transportation.  We leave when the bus leaves. There are so many times when we are on a bus ride and see something we would love to stop and do or take a picture of.  If you have a stomach ache, you have to wait.  If you're dizzy from the crazy winding roads, too bad.  You take for granted having your own car and coming and going as you please.  A lot of people in this world do not have this luxury and never will.  When we return to South America after we visit home we are going to buy an over landing vehicle to finish the country.  
  9. Safe food: you never know what is going to make you sick and it has happened often to both of us.  It makes you reconsider everything you want to eat.  Some of the best food is the street food, but it is hard when you see the same lady preparing your food, petting the stray dog, and exchanging money; all without washing their hands.  Hygiene is not something that is nationwide and mostly because they do not have the proper plumbing or education.  This annoyance is mostly on the days before travel or days of travel.  You do not want to chance being on an 8 hour bus ride and needing to go #2 or to throw up.  We try to stick to packaged food, but quickly grow tired of crackers, cookies, chips, and candy.
  10. Living out of backpacks: we are constantly packing and unpacking.  Our bags are stuffed to the brim so if you need something you have to take everything out.  Also, when we got hiking and camping we have to put a lot of stuff in plastic bags and store them at hostels.  When we return it's an entire ordeal getting things back where they need to be for everything to fit.  It's also hard to travel with that much stuff strapped to your body.

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