Hey everyone! A post about the other side of travel today.
There are so many amazing and wonderful things about full time travel- we have had incredible experiences and loads of fun, met amazing people and seen awesome things.
But there are also times when everything seems to go wrong, and it is such incredibly hard work to just get the basics of life sorted, and frankly it just feels like you should pack it all in and go home.
Yesterday and today, it has felt like that.
I think it started with our horrendous journey to Sri Lanka from Thailand. We had visited a charity which was amazing but also emotionally challenging, and we were looking forward to getting to Sri Lanka and relaxing and having a bit of ‘holiday’ type time by the beach. Our journey to Sri Lanka was really, really awful, our Christmas Day accommodation left us stranded and by the time we got to the island our nerves were frazzled. We were thankfully rescued by the world’s nicest couple, Sam and Mark who run DogStar, and had a gorgeous Christmas day and Boxing day with them.
Then we went to Unawatuna and the slog continued- we had booked a three bedroom house near the beach and were looking forward to some space. When we got there, the couple renting it out were actually living in the house and told us that we only had some rooms on the second floor. This wasn’t ideal as we just wanted to relax, our space had been cut in half and now there was a couple downstairs who we didn’t know, and who didn’t seem honest and the guy got drunk every night and was just weird.
Then we found out that the water didn’t work.
Then the wifi didn’t work.
Then they told us that other people had booked the house and we’d have to move out in 2 days (we’d booked 14) when we had just unpacked our stuff.
Then we found that the house was FULL of bugs, mosquitoes and cockroaches and a stray cat that they let wander around.
We decided to chance the other house that they said was available and it seemed cleaner than the first one, so we moved there. It was nearer the beach but we had constant issues with wifi (ie there was none), no water most days and the mosquito nets were broken beyond repair.
The couple turned up at 6.45am one morning for something, repeatedly lied about various things and generally made life very difficult. The only reason we stayed was because it was what we could afford and there was a cafe with wifi down the road which was essential for my work. I didn’t feel very comfortable walking out on my own there, a lot of the guys were creepy and it just felt rubbish compared to Bali, where I was pretty much left alone.
We’ve now moved to Mirissa and it is clean and the guesthouse owner is lovely, but there is still terrible wifi and frequent power cuts (I am currently writing in the pitch black). We have got flights booked to India in a few weeks, and we are dreading it. The traffic and driving in Sri Lanka is hairy at best and India is a whole other level – I can’t imagine taking the kids there now, when there are so many issues with infrastructure in Sri Lanka (known as ‘India Lite’) that make travel so hard. Older kids, maybe, but ours are only 2, 5 and 6 and it just doesn’t seem worth it.
We are struggling to find fresh vegetables, which sounds stupid but it makes me feel like I’m not doing the best job as a Mum. The wifi means I can’t be as efficient working and that means I spend longer trying to sort Wifi and less time with the kids, which sucks too. We are missing church, our friends and STUFF THAT WORKS. I’m sick of getting rid of bugs every two seconds, I’m sick of eating the same thing most days and I’m sick of feeling apprehensive about moving on because we don’t know how bad the water/wifi/cleanliness is going to be.
The kids, amazingly, are great. It’s Esmae’s birthday in a few days and she wants to go whale watching, which will hopefully be very memorable for her. They are happy that the new guesthouse has a garden so they have space to potter and play, and they are looking forward to going on a snorkelling boat trip next week. Mirissa beach is gorgeous and has huge waves, and they love that too. They don’t care if they eat vegetables (ever, actually) and have been doing more ‘reading lessons’ with nana and Lego with daddy, both of which they love.
I sometimes often hesitate to write about the negative side of travel, because I know how incredibly unique and privileged our opportunity is, and I don’t want to sound like I’m complaining.
But I also don’t want to portray full time travel with kids as something that people can do to create a perfect life, free from stress and hassles- there simply is no such thing and a power cut is inconvenient whether it is in the UK or on a tropical island. I have people message me frequently asking how we decided to leave the UK and how we make it work, and it would be irresponsible to only show the good side and not let people know that guys, it’s gonna be so hard sometimes!
It is, despite everything, worth it. It is hard and super annoying for us adults having to deal with this stuff, but taking one look at the kids flinging petal confetti in the garden with their new Sri Lankan friends or watching them sip fresh pineapple juice from a beach shack, or seeing them catch their first waves, and I’m reminded why we’re doing this.
That said, I’m thinking of taking up a new hobby. Gin.