There, I said it.
Right now I’m sitting in my guesthouse in Vang Vieng, one of the party capitals of South East Asia. It’s famous for riverbed tubing and riverbank drinking. I tried to go tubing yesterday, but thanks to a really low water level and some crooked tuk tuk drivers I wasn’t very succesful. I don’t really feel like partying. I don’t really feel like doing anything but sitting in my room, eating chocolate croissants and writing. It seems like such a waste of time, I could be doing this at home.
I’m not supposed to feel like this. I’m a travel blogger for pete’s sake! I LOVE travel! I’m like a travel evangelist. But I’m sure that even Pat Robertson has an off day. Right now, I’m really just not feeling it.
If you’ve been reading me for any length of time, you know that I planned this trip for forever. I saved up for two years. TWO YEARS. For two years I lived at home, and worked a boring job and pinned all my motivations, and hopes, and dreams on this adventure.
And now I’m on this trip, living and breathing it. I’m close to 6 months in, and while I have a lot of great stories and photos to share, I’d be lying if I said it’s exactly what I’d hoped it would be. It’s rained. A lot. I’ve had issues going on at home that have been stressful. And I miss my boyfriend, more than I really should.
Then I reach a place like Vang Vieng. A place that a lot of people adore, but that frankly isn’t me. I’m not comfortable here. Hordes of young backpackers day drinking into oblivion and watching Family Guy re-runs. Not that I have anything against either of those things, it’s just not my mood right now. I feel dull. And old.
I’m still glad to be travelling, but sometimes I look around and thing that everyone is having more fun than me. Or that I’m not fully taking advantage of the oppurtunities I have. Sometimes, like today, I just feel really burnt out.
Then I start to feel terribly guilty. I’m out here, living the dream, living MY dream of writing and working and travelling. Everyone I meet tells me “you’re so lucky,” and “I wish I coul do that.” I know I AM lucky, so why am I sitting alone in my room throwing myself a pity party?
It felt really good just to admit this, because it’s not something I see many travel bloggers mentioning. Maybe it’s just me, but I suspect that a lot of you long-term travelers feel the same way- even if nobody wants to talk about it.
I think that when you are travelling long term, it is just impossible to keep up that enthusiam and adrenaline that you might have on a shorter trip. Day to day living can get you down no matter where you are.
I guess it’s probably not supposed to be easy.
So I’m givin my permission to blow off Vang Vieng. It is MY trip after all. And it’s not like the place hasn’t been thoroughly blogged about already by other people. I’ll save my energy for other adventures in places I’m better suited to.
The Flip Side (PLEASE READ):
It’s funny what a difference a day can make. After I finished writing this yesterday, I met up with a friend and did actually head down to the parties on the river. You know what? It was a lot of fun. I drank and danced and, while I didn’t get as crazy as a lot of the people out there, I still had a good time And while I’m still not wild about Vang Vieng, I guess now I at least understand what all the fuss is about.
So why am I still posting this whiny pity party rant? I wanted to share my thoughts with you guys, because I think that low points are an inherent part of travel, even if we travel bloggers like to gloss over them with stories about the awesome stuff.
I think that there’s a certain danger in reading travel blogs, in that when you identify so much with a person on certain levels, you start to let their experiences and opinions influence your own. I read a LOT of travel blogs, and when I see someone else really enjoying somewhere I didn’t or couldn’t, I start to question what MY problem is.
Facebook and flickr, and twitter and blogs are all such excellent ways os sharing your experiences, but I can’t be the only person who ends up comparing her experiences and wondering what else she could have done?
It’s always useful to remind myself that we are all different people with different experiences and opinions. Maybe Kate over at Adventurous Kate loved it here, but (while I admire her energy), I’m not her, and it’s okay that it didn’t ring true for me.
Not only is that OK, it’s preferable. We’re not all supposed to like the same stuff. Vang Vieng isn’t my thing, but loved Koh Samui, and lots of people hate it there. You don’t want your trip to be a carbon copy of someone elses anyways. That’s the joy of travel: it’s in the unpredictable.
I think that down days are a normal part of travelling and all you can do is take a deep breath and remind yourself that tomorrow is, of course, another day.