“Travelling is a holiday”- People who haven’t travelled.
Recently I was informed by someone less informed that travelling was basically a holiday and I had to laugh as I considered the differences… and then I wondered how many other people thought the same way.
And so, I looked back on my past holidays; all-inclusive packages in places like Turkey and the Greek Islands, 5* cruises in luxury ocean liners and then looked around my crowded six bed hostel room with backpacks strewn all over the place, dirty discarded socks all over the floor and a bizarre rotting smell coming from the corner…
You see holidays are where you get to leave your stresses behind, your journey is planned, quite often it’s an all-inclusive booking, your airport transfers booked, 4-5* hotels confirmed, excursions are all sorted out and you don’t need to worry about running out of money. You go on holiday to vacate your normal life to lead a week or two of luxury, and generally a week or two of this lifestyle is enough for some… I imagine others would probably love to live out the rest of their lives in this way.
But travelling is a world apart. Travelling is where you have a few major flights booked and have to book your bus/train along the way (although some hitchhike or use transport apps), you stay in some nice hostels which actually surprise you and quite often some questionable hostels, you occasionally cook in kitchens that look like a crime scene but more often than not they’re decent, you hope that people don’t steal your food from the communal fridge or your valuables from your lockers/bag/person, you try not to get woken up by the crazy people you share a room with at 4am and you wear flip-flops in the shower to avoid fungal diseases (or go bare foot if you’re brave like that).
And it’s not just your accommodation that differs. Your mind-set of how you spend your time changes; the amount of exercise you do is almost ridiculous as you find yourself walking for six hours a day and still need to walk the forty-five minutes back to your hostel. You wander around aimlessly and it’s such a great way to marvel at the places you visit.
You start to weigh up which activities are worth your money and which you can pass up when travelling as your money needs to last over a long period of time. But when you’re on holiday every activity looks splendid as you have time to kill and generally you’re only visiting that one country. But when you’re travelling, immersing yourself into the culture, finding locals and joining other people becomes an important part of the experience as it also lowers the cost.
And then there are the small stresses that you somehow manage to avoid when you’re on holiday but can’t when you’re travelling; it’s the uncertainty of it all. It’s the sleeping on a park bench when hostels have been fully booked, it’s getting a bus/train to a completely different country as the bus/train has been cancelled or is fully booked, it’s arriving at a hostel in the early morning after a twelve-hour bus journey and you have to try and fall asleep even though you’re completely ravenous. It’s arriving at a destination and feeling completely illiterate as you have to find your way to your accommodation but don’t understand any of the signs.
Travelling may not be hard work but it’s certainly not a holiday… and in all honesty if I booked a holiday where I had to wash my previous days’ socks and underwear in a sink with hand soap every morning so that my laundry didn’t pile up I’d be requesting a full refund.