Traveling is a different lifestyle altogether, especially when you are moving from place to place and exploring different countries. Many of your normal routines go immediately out the window as you cope with your new lifestyle for the next few weeks, months, or years. There are also new routines that creep their way into your life. These are often things that would seem unthinkable or strange in your daily life, but somehow are absolutely normal while traveling.
Michelle, Linda, and I came up with a few of our favorites while in Vietnam:
If you use the water from the sick, you could get sick. Brushing your teeth with bottled water never really makes your mouth feel clean, but it’s better than having a stomach problem along the journey.
Perfume? Who needs it? We have bug spray!
Run out of your bras and underwear? Don’t worry, you can wear your bathing suit while the real things are drying in your hotel room. Another perk of wearing a bathing suit: most bathrooms you encounter will not have toilet paper. Drip drying just doesn’t seem as disgusting when you’re wearing a bathing suit.
No iron in your hotel? A straightening iron or hair dryer will do the trick. Don’t have one, don’t worry, if it’s hot enough where you are your clothes will de-wrinkle in the heat!
So, you’ve run out of all your clothes. Washing them in the sink or bathtub is perfectly fine, and then you can use every surface in your hotel room to hang them from and hope they dry in time for you to leave. If this doesn’t work, it’s perfectly fine to wear them damp, at least they no longer smell.
Cuts, bumps, bruises, and bug bites are bound to happen along your travels. If you forgot to bring something to heal it, don’t worry, just head to the pharmacy or market. There you can buy medicine that is in a language you don’t understand, sold to you by someone you can barely communicate with. You won’t know the ingredients, but it’ll probably work, right? And, when it starts to burn, you can just assume that it must be working…
When someone with you is sick, your medical advice is that the person is fine, just give it a few hours. This works best when they break out in a weird rash, are covered in blisters, or have a mysterious stomach problem.
Each time you get sick, you begin to think you must have some absurd disease. On this particular trip, one of us thought we had Hepatitis A and the other person thought they had Dengue Fever, right that second person was me. Whatever, it’s hard not to be a hypochondriac in a foreign country.
“Hi, do you speak English?” is a perfectly normal way to start conversations with other travelers.
The only actual conversations you have with other people are about where you’ve been and where you’re going.