When we go travelling for extended periods, it’s easy to get caught up in the exhilaration of planning and to feel as though the trip we’re about to embark on is going to be thebestthingintheentireworldever and that we’re never going to want to return home. To friends at home, watching us via screens and snapchatted images, it’s easy to make this façade of ultimate happiness and relaxation seem real.
If you’ve been travelling for a while, however, you’ll know this is not quite how it goes.
Whilst 10p beers hold their own appeal for a while, and local delicacies are at first a pleasant source of intrigue, these things slowly morph over time so that all you want in the world is a pint in an expensive pub in your home city where there are cushions on the chairs, and a plate of chips that haven’t been deep fried in what looks like car fuel. Not to mention, all those snaps in front of various sightseeing hotspots – they were great for the picture, but in reality? A bit meh.
The thing that nobody tells you, in all of those holiday blogs you avidly read before you left, is that travelling…is boring. That’s right. Imagine your days at home, but without any of the events which structure it, over a span of 6 months. Sleeping until midday is fantastic and all, but eventually you just start to sleep because there’s nothing else to do. If you dare to brave the local information kiosk, the limp leaflets for terrible local museums won’t inspire inspiration, and the list of things to do online often fall short (take, for example, this list of things to do in Belek where the opticians is the number one option!).
So, for those times when sitting on the hostel/hotel sofa and watching another DVD from the 90s with Bruce Willis doesn’t appeal, here are some ideas to keep you (mildly) entertained:
- Get fit! This is definitely going to perk your motivation and will give you tonnes of things to do. Go climb a mountain, rent a mountain bike, go boating – anything that gets you active will make the days pass a little easier, even if it is something you could do at home.
- If you have done the sensible thing and taken friends with you travelling/are the sociable type capable of making friends on the road, play the dice game. Everybody writes down one activity and you number each option from 1-6. Then roll the dice, and whichever option the dice chooses, you have to follow through with it. The options can be absolutely anything – face painting, snake hunting in the forest, pub crawls – whatever you fancy.
- Do the things you didn’t have time to do at home – learn a new language or take up a sport or craft. There will almost definitely be local classes in whatever it is you want to take up, and people are always willing to do language exchanges, even if it’s on the net.
- Do something good. Particularly in Asian countries, local schools are always looking for people that will help out teaching English. (Just make sure you don’t look like a weird child-predator when you approach the staff to offer your services). It’ll help you integrate and most likely end up with some weird family dinners and enough packets of rice crackers to last a lifetime.
- WWOOF! You have a budget for hotel, food etc but why not save a little extra by doing some work with the local people. Organic farms are always hiring, and it’ll give you something to put on your CV if you ever decide to return to wearing shoes and showering regularly in your home country. At the end of it, you’ll be glad you made the effort to get out and give it a shot. What’s the worst that can happen?