Travelers and travel bloggers tend to paint a pretty picture for readers and listeners or social media followers who indulge our inherent need to story tell. Or share selfies. Admit it, you’re one too.
Like a gorging water-balloon ready to burst, we ache to gush out tales of our adventures. To show people the latest most-beautiful-beach-in-the-world and sipping a fresh coconut.
But Travel is also filled with a lot of shitty moments as well.
Usually the stories we tell involve adjectives like…
Awe-inspiring. Beautiful. Stunning. Awesome. Amazing. Unbelievable. Epic. Bombdiggity.
Okay, that last one is mine. If you’re me, it usually involves words like ravishing, rad, gnarly, ravishing, and the like. Hey, I’m a fan of weird lingo if you haven’t noticed.
But places we go and experience we have are often like this, so we should describe travel as such. Can you blame us for wanting to regale people with tales of adventures from the far reaches of the world? I don’t think it’s conceited and self-boastful, it’s just as unbelievable to us even after seeing it. We just can’t wait to tell others.
And majority of the time after telling a story of an epic trip we try to encourage those listening or reading that they can do it too after they dreamily whisper, “I wish I could do that.”
Because you freakin’ can travel as well.
But, and this is a big fat BUT — travel is also filled with quite a bit of shitty moments. Literally and metaphorically speaking. We need to share that other, darker, smellier, dirtier side too.
It ain’t all rose smelling pastures, warm sunshine, love-making in romantic cities, and unicorns shitting rainbows.
Nope, not all rainbow unicorn poo, but you do have the occasional drunk backpacker shitting on the floor as some of us have unfortunately witnessed. Or finding a naked dude in your hostel bed after you come back from lunch like I had.
THE SHITTY SCENARIOS //
Horrid pit sweat wafting in your nose on a crowded public bus in a foreign country.
Hostel rooms falling apart that reek of piss.
Clothing tears in awkward places.
Stubbed toes (the worst).
Back pains from heavy packs.
Not showering for 4 days (so that’s where those smells come from eh?).
And many attempted kisses shot down from girls with accents.
Girls, get real, you have the power on that last one. For all things amazing, there is equal servings of silver platters filled with shit.
Travelers know this well. We experience it all. And it ends up being perfectly okay. Maybe not at the time as we curse the gods and swear off traveling and cry out for a beer.
Then why do we put up with all this shit if it can be so hard at times?
That, ladies and gents, is best explained with an example of a shitty moment.
A shitty moment stepping in BEAR SHIT.
It was on the second half of a 7km loop trail through the wind-swept highlands of the Skyline Trail in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. The four of us(Zak, Candice, Seattle, and I) were plodding along, weary with stomachs grumbling, and desperate to arrive back at the car to grab lunch.
The only sounds were our shoes sloshing through the mud on the trail and the embarrassing squeak from my chucks since they were new. Quack quack quack.
Suddenly, Zak breaks away from the group shouting, “I’ll be back! Gotta’ take a tinkle!”
Well, we hoped he would be back.
On this trail years back a folk singer had been attacked by a pack of coyotes and tragically lost her life. And we were in bear country too.
After walking along a few minutes I paused to make sure he was alright and could catch up. Zak came walking back hard and fast to the group with a pissed off look chiseled onto his face.
“What happened man, did you eat a frowny biscuit or something?”
“I step in a heaping pile of bear shit” he grumbled, and I tried to hold back my laughter. Better that being the bear shit after he eats ya right?
He went on to tell us about how it strolled over to a low pine tree off the path which was a perfect place to pee. By his foot was a large round rock, just like the ones we have seen all over the path of this trail. Or so it seemed to be a rock.
“I went to put one foot up on the rock as I started to pee, and suddenly my foot was swallowed by this massive soft mound of bear shit! It was like stepping on a giant marshmallow and made a Thhhhhhhh sound as my foot sank in. My shoes – top to bottom are covered in shit now!”
And I laughed. I couldn’t help myself. He stepped in a giant rock sized portion of bear shit. And that is a tad bit funny.
“It’s not funny man, this sucks”
Just then I had a bear-shit induced moment of travel enlightenment.
“Ya know Zak, even though you stepped in a pile of shit, the fact is you stepped in a pile of BEAR SHIT while hiking through highlands in another country.”
“Still doesn’t help Ryan.”
I guess it didn’t help at the time, but as the day progressed, many jokes were cracked by Zak about it.
Guess it wasn’t so bad huh?
That is the whole point of this article. It’s not so bad after all.
“Reminds me of my safari in Africa. Somebody forgot the corkscrew and for several days we had to live on nothing but food and water.” -W. C. Fields
Travel is filled with shitty moments where we aren’t sipping wine on a beach. In the end it’s all apart of our journey exploring the world.
We have extreme highs and we have our down-in-the-dumps lows.
Let’s get real here. Would you rather step in a pile of dog shit while leaving your boring cubicle job unhappy already. Which was produced by a sweater wearing puppy with a diamond color and resting bitch face?
Or would you rather step in an epic steaming pile shit produced by a badass grizzly bear while hiking through stunning, beautiful, awe-inspiring, epically awesome highlands somewhere in the world?
And have chuckle about it later over dinner with people from around the world? Maybe a beer or two for solace.
I know what I would choose…
To not step in shit at all. But if I had to, it would be bear shit. Preferably miles away from any bear.