Traveling Isn’t Always Glamorous

When you look at my Instagram and Facebook posts from the past two months of traveling through Europe, you’ll see lots of gorgeous architecture, colorful sunsets, and smiling selfies. This isn’t disingenous–my life on the road mostly consists of these same things.

But there’s a side of traveling that isn’t so glamorous: at times I’ve been exhausted, scared, sad, lonely, sick, or all of the above. So it’s time to share some of those moments. Forget the good, here’s a list of the bad and the ugly.

  • Crying on my first night in Copenhagen–mostly out of sleep deprivation, partially out of “oh my god I’m finally doing the thing I’ve dreamed of for months,” and partially out of loneliness.
  • Sitting on a bench in Copenhagen and getting bird poop all over my sweater, which a sweet Danish girl pointed out to me an hour afterward.
  • Developing a stye and ripping one of my favorite pairs of pants in Paris.
  • Discovering fraudulent charges on my credit card and having to close the account, also in Paris.
  • Having my flight cancelled randomly and spending over an hour on hold with Air Berlin only to give up and go to bed at 2am.
  • Accidentally breaking handles off of doors in Germany and Bulgaria–whoops.
  • Wandering off a trail and into a patch of stinging nettle in Luxembourg.
  • Witnessing someone get robbed in Munich from only a few feet away, and then having the robber run at me while making his escape.
  • Running to catch trains in Germany that were supposed to be leaving the second we entered the station.
  • Walking into an absolutely terrifying train station in who-knows-where Romania surrounded by darkness and three-legged dogs.
  • Getting sunburnt and staying in a moldy Airbnb in Bulgaria. Yikes.
  • Forgetting to check in for my flight online in advance and being charged an insane price to do it at the Sofia airport.
  • Having a cold that lasted over a month (through Prague, Budapest, Krakow, all of Norway, and most of Denmark).
  • Almost passing out in a cupcake shop in Krakow, and subsequently puking in a pierogi shop in Krakow.
  • Navigating through thunderstorms in Brasov, Budapest, and Sofia.
  • Eating nearly nothing but peanut butter & banana sandwiches in Norway (food is SO expensive there).
  • Negotiating time zones to talk to friends who are working during most of the hours I’m awake.
  • Fearing for my life in the back of a jeep off-roading up a Bulgarian mountain as the back doors opened.
  • Getting BARKED at by a man leaning out of a moving car in Bulgaria.
  • Feeling guilty about just wanting to sleep or watch Netflix when I’m in such beautiful and interesting places–and then knowing I shouldn’t feel guilty, and then feeling guilty about feeling guilty.

15 thoughts on “Traveling Isn’t Always Glamorous

  1. I remember having conversations with friends in Thailand about friends and family back home asking us when we were coming back to “real life.” We’d vent our frustrations to each other about how THIS IS REAL LIFE. For all the amazing, adventerous things you experience abroad, it’s also freaking hard. I experienced the same ups and downs and good and bad days while abroad, and often times they were amplified because I was in a new place away from the comforts of home. Thanks for sharing this, Sabina. For as wonderful an amazing as traveling is, it’s certainly no walk in the park.


    • It is SO amazing and most of what I’m experiencing is great, but it’s not like I have no worries or problems while on the road–just like I had worries and problems at home. It’s all real life. Glad you enjoyed, Britta! :)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Loved this post – We always endeavor to show the pretty shiny sides to our lives, but it is these mishaps and ‘whoops’ moments that fix our experiences to the greater human experience. Travel can be bumpy, shit happens, and when this is shared I think there is a collective sigh of relief to see that we aren’t isolated in our perceived ‘bad luck’ and that we are capable of getting back on track and setting out again to live and experience another fantastic day!


  3. 10 years from now, you’ll probably look back and laugh at most of this stuff! Scary stuff aside of course.

    Getting BARKED at by a man leaning out of a moving car in Bulgaria.

    Maybe he expected you to meow, moo or neigh back at him. This is a bit weird, was it a kind of weird sexual harrassment thing do you think?


  4. Pingback: An Open Letter to Budapest | Victim to Charm

  5. So much love for this!! Travelling seems so different nowadays with Instagram, its easy to forget things can go wrong, which we totally need to accept and embrace.


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