Steph Yiu

The Grumpy Side of Travel

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My dad took this photo of me in New York City in the fall while I was grumpily working (despite the beautiful backdrop).

It’s been a few months on the road for me. And also many, many blog posts about the places I’ve been. But I wanted to take a second to write about not-so-glamorous, not-so-exciting parts of travel.

Number 1: You tell white lies, often. When I was 22 I wrote about the white lies that I tell when someone asks me “where are you from?” Now I find myself telling white lies when someone asks, “where do you live?” Because if I explain that I’m nomading, it quickly takes over the conversation. And there are only so many times I’m willing to re-explain my situation.

Number 2: You feel like an asshole, even more often. I don’t own a car, I don’t eat much red meat, but I recognize that my biggest contribution to climate change is air travel. And, I really miss having the opportunity to give back to my community by participating in local events. Volunteering is hard when you’re in places for only weeks at a time.

Number 3: You worry. When I’m on the road, there’s always a tiny bit of worry in the back of my head. What if I get sick or injured? What if I don’t have a place to sleep next? What if I lose my wallet / phone / laptop? What if I run out of contacts / medication before I can make a pit stop back in Boston?

Number 4: Planning gets irritating. You spend a decent chunk of time booking flights and lodging and coordinating with people you’re traveling with. I am pretty sick of All The Travel Sites right now: Airbnb, United, Rome2Rio, Google Maps, Uber… I am so dependent on them. Also, when you’re invited to a conference, or a wedding, or group vacation, or a meetup, you have to shift your travel schedule to make it work. Sometimes it means that you can’t get back to people until the very last minute, which sucks. Other times it means you have to pay extra for flights  at inconvenient times. (Also, shipping is annoying if you’re trying to Amazon Prime something, and you don’t know where you’ll be when it arrives).

Number 5: It’s hard to be healthy. No matter how disciplined you claim to be, your overall fitness declines because it’s harder to stick to a routine. This routine means sleeping patterns, eating patterns, and exercising patterns. I give it my best shot, but I still fail about half the time. (However, I will say my legs have gotten stronger from all the walking!).

Number 6: You miss people. You don’t get to see the important people in your life as often because you’re away… but, on the flip side you get to see your faraway friends more often. :)

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