Revelations after travelling
I’ve found adjusting back to ‘normal’ life after such a long journey can be really hard at times. I am constantly surprising myself as I notice how the places I’ve seen, experiences I’ve had, and my new outlooks and perspectives have effected my daily, ordinary life. It crops up at odd times and sometimes in weird little things, and I think you’d be just as surprised at the kind of things that have changed for me too. Here are a few to start with:
Warm air is like a warm hug
So after experiencing my first Canadian winter where it was cold enough to get ice on your eyelashes, I was really looking forward to returning to summer in Perth. The wind chill in Canada is crazy. I was walking around Ottawa once when it was -18 degrees, but with wind-chill it was -34.
I never really thought much of the design of those aviator fur hats (like above) that all the Canadians seemed to wear until I lived there and experienced the stinging burn of sleet and icy wind on your cheeks. In Canada, you never want to leave any of your precious soft skin exposed to the air.
When I got back home to Perth there was only about two weeks of real summer weather before the air started to cool. By ‘cool’ I mean drop from high thirties to high twenties so it doesn’t feel like an oven outside. Riding into work in what I would have used to think was an uncomfortably cool early morning is now just lovely. The air on my skin is luxurious and now I can’t stop looking at the blue skies!
Two dollar coins make me feel rich
Bless Australia’s $2 coin. I love that when I’ve collected enough of these little golden lumps of joy to transform my purse into a paperweight, I know without looking that I’ve got at least $20 of shrapnel in there. I know exactly what two, three or five of these nuggets will buy me, and they’re also easy to feel out from the other change in your pockets.
It’s also strangely heartening to be able to glance in my purse and calculate how much I have without touching a cent – just from the size and colour of the coins. So many times in other countries I’ve had to pick up and closely examine every coin in my purse to work what was what, to the chagrin of the people waiting behind me in line. I’d get to the point where I’d just hand over all the coins I had and hope they would just pick out what they needed and hand the rest back.
Home is where my ‘wet-bag’ is
So I don’t know about you, but I’ve been guilty in the past of avoiding showering until I could get to the comfort of my own shower!
Not only because the potential dirtiness of public showers, but the hassle just didn’t seem worth it – not having all the proper products there at your fingertips, having to put bottles on the floor and get your hair wet when reaching for them, seeing other people’s hair floating around, not having any shower curtain or door to contain the water, having to pack a change of clothes and repack damp/dirty items, just to name a few.
I’ve been pleasantly surprised to discover that travelling has certainly toughened me up in this regard. When you’re on the road you take a shower wherever you can get one. You learn how to grab everything you need out of your bag in 5 seconds when you see the first shower free at the hostel. My wet-pack remains fully stocked with travel-sized everything and is ready to take at a moment’s notice. I don’t think twice about carting in all my ablution needs to a public washroom and carting it all out again, feeling clean and refreshed as opposed to feeling like you still haven’t had a ‘proper’ shower. It makes it that much easier for me now to go off on random adventures and live a more active lifestyle.
Driving is really not good for stress
I really missed my car. I drove a few times overseas on the other side of the road and had amazing road trips, especially in the USA. But most of the time it was planes, trains, busses, ferries, someone else driving, or just simply legging it.
Even though it was usually an experience in itself hopping on a vintage train in the mountains of Poland or navigating the New York subway, you had to work with schedules, plan in advance and work your day around it. And it involved a lot of idle waiting. I missed the freedom of just jumping in my car and exploring, and the independence to do what I wanted when I wanted. I gave my blue, bubble-of-a-car a big hug when I got home.
Now ironically I try and avoid driving it!