So yesterday was a very special day for the 231daysofsun duo. We’ve been travelling for 100 days. More importantly, we survived 100 days of togetheritude. So in honour of this, we’ve decided to share five survival skills our first few months of travel have taught us.
- Do not get attached. Getting attached to a country, a city, a café, a hostel, a beach or a person is a terrible idea. You are inevitably going to leave them behind, so become an annoyingly free, flaky spirit with an advanced ability to pack a backpack and leave. Most importantly: do NOT, I repeat, do NOT get attached to stuff. You will lose it. Especially if your name happens to be Myrthe. Socks, underwear, shorts, t-shirts, camera’s, soaps, toothbrushes, shopping: nothing is safe from the wrath of Myrthe’s short term memory.
- Learn to put up with a lot of different personalities. Or at least, learn to keep your bitching in until they’ve left the vicinity. Or learn another language to bitch in. Or learn to make fun of them without hurting their feelings. Here’s some personal experiences demonstrating how to successfully deal with some of the less… charming personalities.
- Situation: An American backpacker with little to no geographical knowledge tries to guess where you’re from. You’ve given him hints (Amsterdam is our capital, we have windmills and cheese and clogs, we’re next to Germany), yet he still can’t guess, even with the map of Europe in front of him (“Are you Poland?”, “Are you Ukraine?”, “Oh my god this is too hard this country doesn’t exist”). Solution: film the encounter and laugh it off if you’re a chill human named Myrthe. If however you’re feeling petty and your name is Eva, use the opportunity to feed the poor ignorant American a string of lies about your country, just because you know you’re going to get away with it.
- Situation: A couple of 12 year old princesses are sat in the cinema next to you, yelling and giggling for thirty minutes straight. You get up and ask them politely if they could please be quiet, they’re disturbing the audience. Afterwards, one of the little princesses comes up to you and declares “It’s really rude to tell people to be quiet. Have a nice day.” Solution: If you’re a gentler soul, do a Myrthe and laugh it off. If however you have your mother’s Eastern European temper and can’t hold it in, storm after the little shit and give her a piece of your mind. Benefits include a cathartic feeling and peace of mind knowing that the little princess won’t ever be loud in a cinema again.
- Situation: A friendly Israeli informs you that you’re “exactly the type of girls that every guy hates” with no good reason to back the statement up, then proceeds to tell you that “when girls say no, they actually want sex” and then tries to flirt his way back into your good graces and your bed. Solution: whoever you are, lose your collective feminist shit and lay into the sexist bastard with everything you’ve got. I mean, it’s not like you’re going to see him again, right? … But if you’re as unlucky as we were, the next time you encounter him, run away. Fast.
- Learn to trust. Travelling is full of dodgy moments. The “I’ve just agreed to sit on a stranger’s motorbike and I don’t know whether he’s planning on kidnapping me” kind. The “I got in a van and I don’t know where it’s going” kind. The “I’ve just left my passport in the hands of a party hostel receptionist” kind. The “I’m 90% sure this taxi driver is ripping me off” kind. The “My stoned guide has taken my backpack and I don’t know if I’ll ever see it again”. I mean, what are you going to do. You can’t constantly take all of your stuff with you, you can’t get to know everyone around you before leaving your stuff with them, if you have to get from A to B this random bus is your only option. So shrug, hand over your backpack, and move on with life. If it gets nicked, at least you’ve got insurance right?
- Practice acceptance. No, no, not the airy fairy meditative type of acceptance. This is more of a ‘learn to deal with the circumstances you’re in’ type of acceptance. So: If you’re stuck in a rainstorm in the middle of the rainforest, enjoy the fresh coolness of the rain instead of despairing about having to pack your wet clothes the next day. If you’re scraped and bruised and aching, accept the fact that you’re going to need a chill day, don’t whinge about how much you want to do stuff. If your hostel is a loud, noisy, disgusting nightmare, take a magical Thai motion sickness pill if you want to sleep, or join em if you can’t beat em, or laugh it off. Basically, if you can’t change the circumstances you’re in, just shrug it off: it’s only temporary.
- Travelling with one other person is weird. This entire journey has been one massive experiment into what happens when two opposing personalities are stuck spending all of their waking hours with each other. Preliminary findings show the following outcomes.
- Speech adaptation: accents, voices, intonation, laughter- everything starts to resemble each other, people mistake you for twins despite looking nothing like each other.
- Personality merging: Humour has become the same, opinions about people we’ve just met are the same, we’ve started saying the same sentences at the same time.
- Mistakenly referring to yourself in the plural: We’re essentially that annoying loved up couple that has spent so much time together that they no longer consider themselves a single entity. “Oh we love 7/11”; “We just need some down time”;“We just didn’t like the place”; “Our stomach hurts”. Cute. Not.
- Mild insanity: symptoms can include mental retardation, loss of memory, loss of social grace, dignity, politeness. Another possible symptom can present itself in the form of shameless dancing in public places, including in supermarkets, cafés, trains, buses, and bars.
So apart from being soaked permanently either thanks to sweat or monsoon rain, losing almost all of our clothing and most of our braincells, we can now say that we’ve survived 100 days out in the wilderness of Southeast Asia. YAY!
In other news we’re in Bali and life is awesome.
xxx Myrthe & Eva