Instagram is well known for filtering people’s lives to make it seem like everything is amazing. It couldn’t be more true in the case of travellers. Posting photos of white sandy beaches, old castles and temples, we leave out the bits where everything goes terrible. The points where we lose our money, mind and dignity.

Here’s what you don’t see on Instagram.

The bathroom situation

Not every other country has flushing clean toilets. You think night-club toilets are bad? You haven’t seen anything.

Many countries don’t like the idea of a sitting toilet, they are in favour of the hole-in-the-floor approach. Learning to do your business whilst squatting uncomfortably is an important lesson of travelling.

Toilet paper and hand towels are far from a necessity, so unless you are carrying some round with you, you’ll have to make do with whatever you can find.

Getting ill

We’re all plagued with some kind of disease at some point, especially in countries with a vastly different cuisine. Being ill can become a way of life and it’s even less enjoyable when you could be out exploring.

Getting around without the internet

In a generation where google maps is easily accessible, this is much harder then it used to be. It turns out that you know a lot less then you realise and that you arguably access the internet more times then your brain.

It certainly feels that way when you are wandering around a city desperately attempting to find your hostel with that dodgy city map you found on the floor. If you don’t get data abroad, be prepared…

Baggage didn’t want to come

A moment that will be experienced by many of us at some point in life, it certainly is a daunting moment when you patiently watch the luggage rack spin round and round to no avail. Your luggage didn’t make it with you, it didn’t want to join the party.

I recently had this when flying to Kosovo, expecting at least to get some financial aid or transport, I was met with the kind reminder that the capital Prishtina has a wonderful selection of clothing stores. In almost every case your bag won’t be lost, it’s probably enjoying a holiday elsewhere, but it took me three weeks to get mine back. A painful three weeks indeed.

Waiting, still waiting, always waiting

I have spent countless hours sitting staring at passers-by at airports, bus and train stations. Whilst you may attempt to speak to your friendly comrades, their is little hope if you aren’t able to speak the same language. This has left seeminlgy indefinite periods of time filled with activities such as wall-staring, toilet comparing, shower hunting and sleep searching.

So lonely… Oh so lonely

Travelling solo is the best, don’t get me wrong, I love it. But it does have its downsides. You end up meeting loads of people and making good friends, but you do end up missing those quality mates back at home. Not to mention, at least in my case, family and my adorable dog Simba.

Your in a beautiful country far away from home, the kind of place you dream about in lectures, and yet all you want to do is get on a flight straight home. I think everyone has this at some point, but it makes you appreciate so much more the people who are special to you in life.

How could I leave this little one?

So these are the things that don’t quite make the insta posts, but they are all vital parts of travelling and some of them in their own way become enjoyable. This post shouldn’t put you off travelling, but it should put you off the idea that travelling is just a constant dream world.


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