This post is for all you Instagram addicts who are scrolling through enviable holiday photos, amazing travels, and life in paradise!
Travel dreams are real and anyone can achieve them if they put their mind to it. It could be you enjoying the sun on a perfect beach in paradise…but it might not be as perfect as Instagrammers believe! What’s not pictured is what it takes to live the dream , harsh and hilarious disasters and everyday chores, behind every beautiful photo there is a story.
And don’t think that our catastrophes and failures, our incredible scenery and hard work will change one bit. Because they tell amazing stories and shaped our incredible adventures.
But just for a moment, let’s wash away the holiday blues, laugh at some comical misadventures, and take a look at some of the truths behind these idyllic photos and the daily life of real travel.
The Luggage Struggle
Top of the list is luggage struggles!
One thing you’ll never see in magical travel photos is the struggle with luggage during long trips. Moving to a new beautiful place every few days seems like a dream, but the actual moving part can be a serious pain. Your life is in your bag and not only do you have to pack and unpack it multiple times a day, but you also have to carry it everywhere…
Travel Hack Tip: Pack light, we learned the hard way. We promise you don’t need three jumpers and two pairs of heels to live by the beach!
Learn more about 12 travel hacks to pack light!
This is a particular favorite of mine, as it encapsulates the element of surprise in travel and the incredible sense of accomplishment that can come from incredible scenery.
Let me draw a picture first. At 1:30 a.m we took a short nap and woke up again in the middle of the night. We’re walking down the main street in Ubud, Bali, and there’s no one around, just a bunch of playful dogs hogging the road. We hop in the car for an hour on our way to a friend’s hostel and then climb an active volcano in pitch darkness to wait for the sunrise.
I know what you’re thinking. These two are really losing it. And we definitely looked just like us, both completely frozen in shorts (who knew Bali could get cold).
We started the climb at 2:30am, met our guide in ski gear (why are we wearing shorts?!), and rock climbed in pitch darkness under a vertical line of torchlight. A climb that can only be described as this began. Above shows the steep hike.
After three hours of climbing, we reached the top, where it was incredibly foggy and we couldn’t see more than a few meters ahead. It was a disastrous experience for a sunrise trek.
We laid our exhausted bodies down on a shaky bench and wondered if we would ever see the sunrise.
After sitting in the freezing cold for several hours, we enjoyed a bizarre breakfast of tea, boiled eggs, and banana sandwiches. Almost all of the food was used as blankets or face warmers (see photo below) when the guide turned to us and told us we weren’t going to see the sunrise because it was too foggy.
We decided to call it quits and headed back down the volcano to bed with heavy hearts. As we turned our backs to the path, we heard loud applause. Upon hearing that we all ran back to our rickety benches and witnessed the most amazing sunrise. It got even better now that the disappointment was gone.
This almost disaster made the whole experience even more amazing and we almost missed out on this beauty.
Travel Hack Tip: Research the weather because you might need that one jumper you have that day. Also, you cannot control the fog, so just surrender to it and enjoy the experience. Fog usually becomes one of the happiest memories.
Regretful Accommodation and Awful Transport
Arming yourself with good travel hacks and knowing exactly what to look for in accommodation and transportation requires making a few mistakes along the way, and we definitely did!
we have traveled around Australia many times using different modes of transport, but the rental that really stood out was our campervan. We saved pennies by renting a campervan and using his Coseats (a carpooling website for backpackers and commuters) for his 3,000km trek from Cairns to Sydney.
Great idea, right? I was wrong. The end result was a huge caravan for six people, a kitchen, a bathroom with a shower and a lounge. It’s basically a house on wheels and parking the house is incredibly difficult!!
Another choice, and I don’t regret my choice, was the amazing Barbie car on Magnetic Island. You can drive around this cute seaside destination in her tiny four-seater car with no doors or roof. The only problem was when it rained…
When a storm hits while you’re driving, what can you do but put up an umbrella and hope for the best? As it turns out, wind and umbrellas aren’t a very good combination.
When we weren’t living in a caravan or sleeping on a bus or plane, we opted for a real room with a real bed, but sometimes it’s a little difficult to find a place…
Even if you do find one, you never know what will happen in the end.
Just stay in a great hotel once or twice and it’s 1000% better than you ever imagined.
Even if you find a house and it doesn’t work out, it’s time to go and you have to move out of your small townhouse home…
I’m still kind of in awe, oh my!
Travel Hack Tip: Do your research, learn from experience, and have as much fun making stupid choices as possible. You will remember them well.
Traveling is full of surprises, and no matter how carefully you plan, unexpected twists and turns are bound to happen.
Anything can happen, from unexpected changes in the weather to invitations to cultural festivals in Croatia and Australia. The surprises didn’t stop there, as he worked to educate boys about animals at a school, went out to dinner, and happened to go to a metal concert. All the elements combine to create an extraordinary experience and add a wonderful twist to your adventure.
A twist on our travel hack: jump in and see what happens. You will step outside of your comfort zone and learn a lot about yourself.
Getting ‘that’ shot
The great shots of amazing adventures you see on Instagram don’t just happen all at once. Getting the perfect shot takes time, skill, and passion. Famous locations are often packed with tourists, making it difficult to get the perfect shot. Throwing an animal into a photo doesn’t necessarily give you the image you expect, but it turns out comical anyway…
Travel Hack Tip: Remember to enjoy the experience and the scenery too.
Getting from A to B
You sit and wait and sit some more and eventually find a Wi-Fi spot and lie down and get bored. Idyllic photos miss the waiting, the sitting, the moving from one place to the next. It’s always worth the wait, but it can get a little boring. After a few delays, you learn to enjoy waiting and sitting and use it as an excuse to catch up on things in life.
Travel hack tip: Use your time wisely. Skype your girlfriend with your family, use Wi-Fi to watch Netflix, or write a blog post. Just because you’re stuck on the bus or at the airport doesn’t mean you’re out of fun.
This photo shows Leah and I enjoying a weekend getaway in a vineyard in the beautiful Hunter Valley outside of Sydney. We stayed in a hut surrounded by fields dotted with vines, kangaroos jumping around and amazing starry skies. Leah is a very keen astrophotographer and wanted to capture this view. And like many of our trips, I’m the equipment holder, spider spotter, light shiner, shade creation assistant, searching for the perfect shot. Sounds like a dream, right? This idyllic scene changes completely until you hear a loud, deep, angry growl coming from an unidentified animal. We both jumped out, our phones flying into the air, and panic building as we learned that animals are not allowed in Australia. At that moment, we sprinted home as if we were playing The Blair Witch Project. To this day, I have no idea what kind of animal it was, but I suspect a possum chased me out of the photo shoot!
Actual photo of a possum (lol) “This was the actual result”
Travel hack tip: Bring a better flashlight, Australia’s animals are scary! But that’s part of the fun, and you’ll soon find it funny.
We hope you laugh as much as we do at our many blunders and daily hiccups and struggles. I can honestly say it has never been worth it!