The Loneliness of Travel

Life in the outside world is weird.  It can be crowded, and it can be empty.

You meet a lot of people while traveling, and some make an impact on you. I have had the pleasure of knowing an awesome human by the name of Martin. I met him while doing my Workaway in Scotland. Since he arrived, he has been in so much panic about his future. He was ready to take off the day he got here so he can go back to Germany to figure his life out. Our hosts convinced him to stay, rather than drive 24+ hours to Munich. As the week had gone by, I learned he went to university to become a teacher and had amazing knowledge on philosophy and life in general. He’s wise beyond his young years and I adore him greatly. A week ago, he came in to my caravan to announce that he is going back to Germany as he was offered a few interviews to get him started on his journey toward becoming a teacher.

Although I was extremely saddened by his early departure, I noticed was not brought down and into the dumps. Although it had only been a week and a half of time spent with this man, and we have spent every breakfast, lunch and dinner together and worked very close together on the farm, I am not crippled by the sadness.

I suddenly realized that in the past I was co-dependent. I certainly was independent, but when I’ve become attached to people I enjoy, I typically become dependent on them for conversation, friendship, help, etc. I have been traveling and have met so many people here, there and everywhere. I am now so used to people coming and going out of my life for a day, a week or months at a time that I feel so happy when they (or myself) move on. Not everyone sticks around in your life forever, and I have to get used to that fact. People become a part of your life and become big or small influences. Some will stay, others leave. Not everyone needs to be in your life forever. People change and it’s okay to let the people and past go, to not only benefit them, but also yourself. This one instance has impacted the way I feel about my past regarding my friends and relationships and what and who is important to me.

It’s amazing what a little travel can do for your soul.

Advertisements

Bidet/Bidont-Butt/Vag Towels

Have you been to Europe? Because if you haven’t, you have to pay for almost every public toilet. There are also towel warmers (which I had no clue what those were until someone told me). My first bathroom experience in Italy was not all that impressive. I got off the bus and had 3 hours to kill. It was 31 degrees Celsius out, I had a large backpack on my back and a small laptop backpack on my chest. Luckily, I found a nice big park where I was able to lay down with my towel on the grass and read a book. Being as I just got off a 6 or so hour bus ride from Munich and lazily drinking water and snacking in the park, I had to get up to pee. So, I packed up my bags, threw my backpacks on and started to wander. Mind you, no one speaks English in this tiny town. I found some local men that worked in the park (at least I assumed they did as they were wearing bright yellow vests) and asked for the toilet. It took several times to pronounce the word toilet correctly for them to understand.

Side note, remember to call them toilets not restrooms or bathrooms while abroad from America. Otherwise people won’t know what the fuck you’re talking about.

Anywho, they point me in the right direction and off I go. I get there, and there’s a gent sitting there with a till. He’s on his phone, doesn’t say anything and completely ignores me.

“Excuse me, do I have to pay?” I say to him. He looks up, and tells me it 50 cents. At this point I have to go pretty bad and looking back at it now, I probably could have just walked right in and gone. So I take off my bags and find my wallet thinking I must have some Euros left over from my trip in Berlin. Success! Sort of, I found 30 cents. I asked the young guy if that’s okay. He hardly looks at his phone, grumbles and says “fine”. I run into the stall to find a toilet and another bowl which I was convinced was a urinal. Didn’t think much of it.

Later on, when I got to my living quarters, I noticed both bathrooms in the flat I was living in also had these urinals. I didn’t bother to ask why they were there or why they separate, I just figured it just was. This is how naïve I am to the world. Hahahaha! I didn’t know what these “urinals” were until I got to Venice and stayed with a friend and her roommates. They are bidets! And they are everywhere in Italy (and I’m sure quite a few other countries) and very unusual in the States. I have not yet used one and I’m pretty sure I missed my chance since I’m no longer in Italy. But I can imagine that it’s a great tool after a good poo, a crazy bloody period, and cleaning up just before a lucky night in with a date. I’m not really sure. With that being said, my friends roommate stated that there is a butt/vag towel to use with these bidets.

One side for the front and one side for the back, I assume now those were the small towels I saw hanging on the towel warmers just above said bidets. I honestly don’t know how you would keep track of which corner of the towel is for the front or for the back. The roommate insisted that it doesn’t matter because your “privates” would be clean and it’s just as clean as a hand towel….. That is up for debate I think.

After a week or so after this conversation, it dawned on me in horror that perhaps I had used those butt/vag towels to dry my hands while at the flat I was staying in. Shit…. Literally.

So please, when travelling, ask questions and make sure you know what towel you should be using when drying your hands after a trip to the toilet.

Bikini Island

American culture and the rest of the world. While abroad I’ve noticed a great deal of difference in image culture. Although there are plenty of advertisements with almost naked women, eating pizza or just advertising for a perfume, the women here are not obsessed with looking like that. At least in my opinion. In America, during the summer, lots of women want the perfect bikini body. With this new body positive movement coming up with models like Tess Holiday, they say everyone has a bikini body. AND IT’S TRUE!

Before I left for Europe I bought a super cute 1-piece swim suit that’s black and white striped. I thought I’d be the best-looking chick at the pool/beach. I also thought that I would be too embarrassed to wear a bikini. I’ve got a little belly and some stretch marks and just didn’t feel comfortable. However, going to the pool I quickly realized I was the ONLY person there in a one-piece swim suit. There were women there tiny and big, boney and plump from all walks of life all in 2-piece swim suits. For someone who sees people down on themselves too much (including me) to sport your body however you like, this is amazing.

As I witnessed this and as I traveled more, some other things came up with body image. Since travelling, I have had little time (or interest) to primp myself everyday with makeup and nice clothes. Every so often I will get around to looking nice, but often it is just trousers and a t-shirt. I hardly shave my legs and arm-pitties and I almost never put on make-up or do my hair. And you know what? It feels good. I’ll be honest, there are some women I have met, who take the time out of their day/week while travelling to take care of themselves by grooming and putting on loads of makeup. But that life is just not for me while traveling. If you can do that, more power to ya. But I’d rather take that time and use it for something more productive. I can go back to looking normal when I stop traveling.

In short, the one wonderful thing I learned out here in this great big scary world of ours is: selflove. I am here to impress myself, not other people. Love yourself.