travel

The five things no one tells you about their European holiday.

Just over a month ago, I got back from a three week European holiday.

I visited beautiful beaches, historical cities, famous museums, and iconic landmarks. I ate gelato in Rome and paella in Barcelona. I took selfies in front of the Eiffel Tower and stumbled upon the Royal Family at Buckingham Palace.

I also spent too much money, and was perpetually annoyed by other tourists. I missed the Eurostar and I think I contracted tinea. I stayed at a dodgy Airbnb and got charged $200 for international roaming. I went to an art gallery and then remembered I don’t really care about art.

Not a huge fan soz.

These are the things no one tells you about their European holiday.

While we're all being inundated with frankly absurd photos of white sand beaches and perfect sunsets, of #memories and impossibly curated outfits, it's important to acknowledge the realities of travel. That is, a lot of it kinda sucks. 

I've been to Europe a few times now (#blessed #wanderlust), and these are the moments I've never posted about on my Facebook feed.

"Even though I'm on a beach in Positano, I'm in a bad mood and I don't know why."

No but actually. 

Feeling kinda sad while travelling is like guilt inception. You know you're not allowed to feel bad because you paid so much money. And the view. But also the experience. 

But it's human nature to feel a wide range of emotions no matter where you are. And sometimes you wake up cranky in Positano, and have a fight about getting too sunburnt. Or you see Anne Hathaway getting out of a car and your boyfriend won't STOP TELLING YOU A BORING STORY AND SHUTUP YOU'RE MAKING IT HARD TO WATCH ANNE HATHAWAY.

Sooo when's dinner...
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The long-winded posts people write about the 'perfect week in paradise,' or 'smiling non-stop' or 'someone pinch me' would have you believe that reality is somehow different in another country.

But feelings are silly and you'll randomly hate yourself in Santorini and be nostalgic for your very average childhood in Dubrovnik.

Soz.

"I am making a series of terrible financial and logistical decisions."

Sometimes... sometimes you legitimately spend all your money by day four. And that's okay (it's 100 per cent not okay).

I've NEVER been the type of person to get a 'good deal' on a hotel/flight/bus/train/holiday. I am always disorganised and take what I can get. This usually leads to the realisation that had I been more organised, I could have definitely seen more places, stayed in nicer accommodation, and generally lived a better life.

BUT THAT'S NOT WHO I AM.

They're super close on the map.
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I also don't tend to look at a map while planning, meaning I'll fly from one place to another, only to come back in the other direction. And I have a fundamental misunderstanding of time/space/distance.

But... ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

"I've never felt as ugly as when I'm trying to get a pretty photo in front of the Louvre."

Jesus.

I can't count the number of times I've tried to get an Instagrammable selfie in front of some iconic monument only to have my face and its general composition get in the way.

It's almost a cliché that yes, there are 200 disturbing photos behind the single gorgeous one a person shares with their friends, but there's also the complete degradation of your self esteem.

I apologise.

My face isn't... made for photos. It's too... messy.

Please excuse it.

"I'm definitely fighting with the person I'm travelling with."

If you travel with someone, you will hate each other for at least a majority of the time.

I recently spoke to a friend who said he and his partner had one fight during their month long Europe trip. Oh how I laughed. Why you be lying for?

Travel brings out the worst in people. If you're argumentative you'll be a full-blown troll on holidays. If you're bossy you will become a dictator. If you tend to generally be a pretty weird person... well, you can ask my brother what happens.

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We fought for most of that day.

While people travelling together look unusually happy in photos, the truth is bleak. People do weird shit. You can't hide your crazy like you can at home. You simply see too much of each other.

No one, and I mean no one, is #squadgoals.

"I did it wrong."

No matter what you do or don't do overseas, you most definitely did it wrong. Other people will explain that you should've eaten seafood in Menorca (I don't like seafood), should've walked the city walls in Dubrovnik (it was too hot), should've done a tour of the ruins in Rome (...eh) and should without a doubt have NOT spent a day at EuroDisney while in Paris (no regrets).

Of course, social media is all about making it look like you did it right.

You're smiling in front of the Eiffel Tower (guilty) and casually strolling the back streets of Venice.

LISTEN: Jessie Stephens has the (actual) best travel recommendation on Mamamia Out Loud. Post continues below.

But the last thing travel should be is a competition to see who can do it better. Who can take the best photo in a bikini on a beach in the Mediterranean or find the most remote town in the South of France.

The entire point of travel is to escape your comfort zone - and crappy wifi, heavy luggage, and pubes sticking out of your bikini are all crucial parts of that.

Even if they're not the parts that are all over your Instagram feed.

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