I can definitely say that I have become quite comfortable at this travelling business. I mean, what’s so hard about not working, seeing amazing places, and eating all sorts of weird and wonderful foods? Nothing, that’s what. But my creature comforts have been calling me for a while now, and with only three months left (approx) on the road there are a number of things I’m looking forward to when we arrive into Europe. These are my top 15 to date…
- Perfume. Actually, just smelling nice in general. Don’t get me wrong, I haven’t taken budget backpacking so far as to not shower anymore (trekking the himalayas aside, of course), but I miss having a nice smell linger around me all day (Angelo aside, of course). I refused to throw out my last bottle until every. single. drop. was finished and have since felt like I am missing a limb. Bit dramatic? Maybe. My friends know me for my smell. One even gets angry when she smells it on other people – true story.
- Swapping hippy pants for a pair of well fitted, single-coloured jeans. I LIVE in jeans. And having more than three tops, and three pairs of pants/skirt to choose from. I can’t even remember what a wardrobe looks like.
- Being able to eat what I want, when I want. Now there’s a certain luxuriousness to eating out for every meal, but after a while it gets REALLY FECKING TEDIOUS. Sometimes you really just don’t feel like another masala flavoured curry, or a noodle soup. I would go to some serious lengths just to eat fresh tomato on some toasted bread with cracked pepper and salt, right now. Or, just some salt and vinegar chips (I mean is NZ, Australia and the UK the ONLY countries in the world that appreciate how GREAT that flavour is??). Also, marmite (getting sent in a care package) – I will make Angelo love it, even if it’s the last thing I do…
- Showering without jandals on. I’m so used to that now that I think it’ll take some time to kick the habit. Also, walking around in bare feet. Carpet – I would have been excited for this but Angelo has just informed me he doesn’t have carpet in his house. Noooo.
- Blending into the crowd. I’m sure a kiwi in Europe looks much more in place than a kiwi in say, India. This may mean having to limit my jandal-wearing in public, but, sacrifices. There has been a whole lot of places where we have been watched intently, followed, pictured. On a positive note – it has done wonders for my self-consciousness and anxiety, but it will be nice to go into a public toilet and not be observed – here’s assuming this doesn’t happen in Europe…
- Having an alphabet that I can actually read. Not that I can palare italiano but I can at least make the appropriate, over-the-top, hand-gestures-on-steroids while I read out from a menu written in lovely latin characters in a overexaggerated tone “ooon caffe ameeriiicanooo, per favooooore.” On an special note: I’ve also been instructed (by Angelo) that no-one will serve me hot water on the side of my coffee in Italy – in fact, I may be thrown from the establishment in disgust – so my beloved long blacks will be remembered through their less energetic and weakened cousin: the americano. Sigh.
- Getting to visit friends that already know me and have known me for years. And holy moly am I EXCITED about this! Beyond the shadow of a doubt, meeting new and diverse people every day is one of the best parts of travelling. Not only are you in a different country with (sometimes) a multitude of different languages, and (often) a totally different culture, but you get the chance to meet other travellers with different backgrounds, different experiences and different ideas to yourself. But, sometimes that same old “who I am, where I’ve been, where I’m going” can be a bit draining, and where I’d normally jump at the opportunity to meet someone new, I find myself burying my nose in a book, or sneaking away. Needless to say, travelling as a couple takes the pressure off meeting people as we always have each other for company, and so we haven’t spent any significant amount of time with many other people on this trip. At least, not enough to get too much past those initial questions.
- Eating cheese. I don’t think I really need to elaborate on this, because, yum.
- Having some routine again. Because I’m not sure that rolling out of bed before the checkout time, packing my pack and getting on a bus/train/rickshaw counts as routine. I’m looking forward to having a job in a different place, meeting some new people (that I’ll know for longer than a day), and then bitching about having a job, and counting down the days/minutes/seconds til the next holiday/weekend/bed at the end of the day.
- Doing some exercise. Playing a sport again. Getting involved in a team. Actually developing some muscle definition instead of a Buddha belly.
- Using conditioner again. Yeah, I gave that up on account of my hair already being increasingly unruly, and you, know, carrying my life on my back started to get heavy. Something’s gotta give.
- Sleeping in a double bed. Looking back, the majority of our guesthouses have offered us twin rooms instead of doubles. On second thought though, I have been sleeping really well…
- Having a washing machine. Not that I have a particular love for doing washing – far from it (especially having to gather all of Angelo’s crap from a million different places) – but, I am a bit over having to hand wash everything in a sink. Or a bucket. Or the shower. BY HAND. I would’ve sucked at being a pre-20th century wife.
- Not having to deal with visas. Yeah that’s right, not a single one! I am a plastic Paddy despite having the equivalent of just a leg of Irishness. This means Europe is my oyster. Sláinte JP (granddad)!
- Being in Europe. Can I be excited for no reason other than it’s Europe? And I’ve dreamed about living there for as long as I can remember, and the buildings, and the people, and the wine, and the art, and the food, and, and…
The excitement is all too much!!!