21 things travellers understand

19 December 2016

21 things travellers understand

 
Travel is a funny thing. There's a lot going on. You're doing long flights and transits that are less than glamorous. You're away from the comforts and familiar things of home. And you're exposed to a whole world of new and different things.
 
That's a lot for our brains to cope with. But we do more than cope – we thrive. Here's our list of 21 things that travellers will understand. 
 
 

1. That you can actually stop dead in your tracks

 
When you've been dreaming of seeing something for months, or even years, that moment when you first lay eyes on it can stop you dead in your tracks. It's like your brain can't take in the momentousness of the situation and do foot coordination at the same time. 
 

2. How the floor of an airport can look like a suitable place for a nap

 
How is this possible? But we've all been there. 
 

3. The value of a dollar HERE vs THERE

 
You know what we mean. How when you get home, you are blazingly aware of the cost of things.
 
“Four dollars for a coffee? That would get me a bowl of pho, a beer, a cake AND a coffee in Hanoi!”
 
“Forty dollars for a t-shirt? That's like a weekly wage in Kenya!”
 
Etc. For a few weeks. Then it wears off. 

 

4. That weight is heavy

 
Sure, sounds obvious. But until you have to carry all of your stuff, you don't quite appreciate how heavy stuff is. This is what leads you, four days into your trip, to empty the contents of your bag on your bed and methodically remove all superfluous packaging and to tear the pages that you've already read from your book.
 

5. That grilled meat on a skewer may not be what it seems

 
The delicious smell of barbecuing meat may draw you across the market to a street food vendor. But just what is on those skewers is anyone's guess. Don't ask. Just eat. Delicious. 
 

6. That magical feeling when you connect with someone

 
When you really connect with someone from the country you're visiting, it's kind of like being sprinkled with the sparkly glitter of universal human-ness. 
 

7. That you'll never use the plane salt and pepper sachets you nicked

 
It seemed like a clever plan. But those sachets will be unopened in your daypack pocket for eternity.

 

8. That sunset is an important appointment

 
At home, dentist's appointments and business meetings are things you try to be on time for. When you travel, sunset becomes your important appointment.
 

9. How much use you can get out of six words in a language

 
A little language can go a long way in another country. Even a few words can get you what you need. 
 
Hello. Please. Thank you. How much? This (accompanied by pointing). Goodbye. 
 
Language barrier sorted.
 

10. How really, really, really big airports are

 
If you've ever come in on a delayed flight and tried to run through an airport for a connection, you'll know what we're talking about here. Those places are huge. Like huge in a time warp, Tardis, weirdly massive way. Like you're running through soup and never getting any closer to Terminal C, Gate 27B.
 

11. Just how much your comfort standards can change 

 
At home, a corner seat on the L-shaped sofa + a glass of red + netflix = standard everyday comfort.
 
When you travel, a seat + a juice + a fan + wifi = luxurious comfort.
 

12. How friends are made so easily

 
When you're travelling, you meet someone, you have some stuff in common and boom, you're besties. 
 

13. How wifi is something that you kind of take for granted

 
Once upon a time, we used to store information in our brains. Now we use our phones. And without wifi, how can you instantly remember the name of the co-star in that really bad Nicholas Cage movie? Not knowing is a lot to adjust to.
 

14. That good soles are very important

 
You're on your feet a lot when you travel and after a long day exploring the cobblestone lanes of a city, you'll come to understand just what the soles of your shoes are doing for you every day, without thanks. 

 

15. Just how much you read in day-to-day life

 
When you can't read a street sign, a menu, a shop window, a warning notice, or a label on a mysterious fruit in a market stall, you start to appreciate just how much information you read every day without even noticing.

 

16. The feeling of the air when you step out of the airport

 
You know when you step out of the airport and you're hit full on with the feeling of the air – whether it's thick and syrupy with humidity, a super-clean, fresh mountain air feeling, an icy blast that slams you like a brick wall... the air lets you know one thing for sure. You've arrived. 
 
 

17. That you can leave your vices at home

 
Whatever your vices are – chocolate, coffee, red wine, hair straightener – they are addictions that are miraculously easy to drop when travelling.
 

18. Just how good Vegemite actually is

 
Who knew that you could actually miss a weird salty flavoured paste?
 

19. That human needs are pretty universal

 
After interacting with people from a lot of different places, you come to realise that people are all pretty similar after all. We just want to be physically ok, look after and love our family and friends, be looked after and loved and to have a laugh. That's about it. 

 

20. How it is impossible to judge which customs queue to join

 
It's the same thing with supermarket check-out queues. The length of the queue is in no way mathematically related to the speed with which you'll get to the counter. 
 
 

21. That amazing things will happen if you just say YES

 
Want to travel somewhere a bit out there? YES. 
 
Want to raft down this river? YES. 
 
Want to eat this thing that could possibly be a deep-fried cricket? YES. 
 
Want to experience something you've never really experienced before? YES YES YES.
 
Saying YES gives you the whole amazing world of travel.