You know when you get to that point when you’ve been traveling for months and you and everything you own is just simply filthy; when all you could possibly want is a warm shower and a laundry machine? Well, it turns out that this random town in this random country that you’re in doesn’t have those amenities. So there’s that. Oh, and while we’re at it, how lovely would a triple shot coconut milk latte be? Yeah, also not going to happen.
These are the times that always put me in my place. And clearly, the times when my Western world privilege needs to be put in its place. These are the times when novelty and wonder have worn off; when the exhaustion and the desire for the known start creeping in. But these are also the times when the real point of traveling shows its face. Because why do we travel if not to experience the lives of others; to be a part of a culture that is not your own. The point of traveling to a ‘foreign’ country is that it’s foreign, right?
So after finding myself in this mind set one too many times, I decided that this must change. Or else, why I am I spending all this money and time to be here, at this current place, at this current moment? Okay, so maybe there’s no place for me to do laundry, but I did have this really amazing conversation with a Peruvian while hanging my underwear out to dry on the roof. And you know where that led me? It led to a night on the beach, staring at the stars, playing music with thirty new friends, and never speaking my native tongue. And I didn’t get that latte, but as it turns out, I have an even stronger affinity for yerba mate. These small changes in thought, of being grateful for what I do have at this present time, make me simultaneously grateful for what I am lucky enough to return home to. Showers, and laundry, and lattes, oh my!
And this is what I am most grateful for from traveling…learning to appreciate and be grateful for all that I see, learn, experience, and have. Because when you are at those moments of complete exhaustion and seemingly numb exterior to anything new, these are the times to take a pause and notice how beautiful life really is. These are the moments to be grateful that you even have the ability to be here, traveling to somewhere outside of your norm. Or hell, at least be grateful that you can laugh at the absurdity of it all…regardless of where you are.