India – Nepal – Sri Lanka – Afghanistan – Bali – Australia – Papua New Guinea – New Zealand.
Today marks 28 days before I leave the comforts of all my nice comfort zones, to embark on a small 5-month journey across the world to find content for the start of my book.
(YEAH – the book I keep banging on about. Read about it here.)
Unfortunately traveling is daunting though. It’s different to holidaying because there’s a lot less of the ‘prawns on the beach at sunset’ and a lot more of the ‘could be forced to spend a night at a bus station’.
The places I’m going in particular – India, Nepal, Afghanistan, Papua New Guinea, even a remote Aboriginal community in the Northern Territory of Australia – mildly intimidate me to say the least. Of course I’m jolly well excited about it, but all this preparation around safety, health, transport, accommodation, networking, and so forth… well, it’s a stressful job.
So naturally I thought I would take this opportunity to make myself more anxious by creating a list of 28 lovely comforts I’m going to miss when I’m gone.
1. My safety
From entering a war zone in Afghanistan, to solo-female traveling through India, to the risk of contracting malaria in Papua New Guinea, I will be a long way away from my nice cosy flat above Tesco Express.
2. An income
I’m fearing the lack of steady income about to bite me on the leg. Actually, would you be so bold as to help me promote the blog so I can strike a book deal? Show me da money, honey.
3. Being in the same time zone as people I want to Whatsapp
Don’t you find that people just lose interest in messaging you when you don’t have the same time zone in common anymore?
4. My friends & family
I will be meeting a lot of new people along the way and staying with friends of friends at some points, but I won’t have the luxury of my nearest and dearest by my side encouraging me to get boozed on a school night.
Oh boy, it’s going to be hard demanding attention from people I don’t really know.
6. Nice clothes
I’m not taking any nice clothes. Well they might be kind of nice, it’s subjective really, but they aren’t valuable. They are convenient and practical because I have to be very selective. I’m moving through the bitter cold winter of Afghanistan to the humid tropical heat of Indonesia. Ain’t nobody got bag-space for Gucci.
7. Washing machines to wash my not nice clothes
I simply don’t even know what the deal is going to be with this. I stink just thinking about it.
Ahhh! I’m genuinely worried about my strength and fitness deteriorating into that of a flimsy little noodle. I’m going to try and be as active as possible – squats when I brush my teeth, push ups when I brush my hair – but probs just embrace the flimsy noodle in Afghanistan where gym use is not permitted for women.
9. Self grooming
I use wax and an epilator to keep all my bits and pieces smooth. I don’t know how I’m going to go finding a microwave to heat up my wax pot or finding the privacy to use my epilator, which sounds like a vibrator when switched on.
10. Internet Access
I don’t really need to explain this, do I?
11. Access to a doctor
I’m the biggest hypochondriac since sliced bread.
12. My privacy
I love the privacy of my own little bedroom. When the world gets too annoying all I need is me, a closed door and my laptop. That totally read like I’m going to miss masturbation.
13. Feeling at ease walking down a street
I just know I’m going to feel constantly on edge the whole time I am travelling alone, even if it’s only mild. You kind of have to be like that though. You have to have your wits about you so you don’t get tricked, troubled or um, kidnapped.
They have Uber in Delhi but I recently read that an Uber driver is going to prison for raping a passenger. Not that I’m going to generalise on the morality of all India’s Uber drivers, but, ugh.
15. The tube
The love/hate relationship I have with London’s Underground will be dearly missed.
16. Good light and a mirror
Looking really closely at my skin and my pores is a daily ritual.
17. Drinking water
Most of the places I’m going don’t have safe drinking water in their taps which is always a problem when you’re trying to stay hydrated.
I’m just speaking from my experience in India last time… God it was a mongrel to obtain a coffee of a morning.
Chai? No problem.
19. Convenient (healthy) snacking
I kind of think I should pack some safety snacks because I need to eat every few hours or I get tired and h-angry. And I don’t want to rely on finding a universally-trusted McDonald’s. This seems ridiculous to say considering I’m visiting such poverty-stricken parts of the world. But a comfort is a comfort.
I still think I am going to get a little travel one, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I will always have somewhere to plug it in. I’m going to look like a bloody muppet half the time.
21. Hot water and electricity
Ain’t gonna be none of that in some of the places I will find myself. Already been warned to pack warm for Kabul. No electricity in 0 degree C temps.
22. The pub
Ain’t no pubs in the world like the over-priced London pubs I frequent. Nothing even similar to be found where I’m headed.
23. Hungover Sundays
These are either massively relaxing and full of self pity, or Sunday Funday where you get up and get straight back on the horse. Either way it’s a fun comfort I’m bidding farewell.
24. Fresh fruit
Ohhhhh… I hope it’s not a long time between fresh fruits.
25. Op Shops/Charity Stores
I’m going to miss my favourite way to shop for new (old) garments.
26. Knowing what things are worth
Locals in any part of the world can spot a foreigner a mile away and I am not looking forward to being overcharged like a sucker. A lot of the time you feel bad haggling because you have no idea what something is worth. And it’s not even the money I lose that bugs me, it’s the fact that the locals see me walk away and think dumbass.
I feel like I always need to have tissues on hand, a lot of the time I forget them but they are easily found for purchase in London. No doubt I will end up on top of a mountain peak in Nepal with a runny nose and only a crispy cold sleeve to blow it into.
28. The West
It’s just a massively safe and privileged part of the world that I’m lucky to be a part of. And I’m going to miss its big old comforts.