After another of the frustrating moments of our travels happened, I decided it was time to share this post. After all I promised I was going to talk about the good and the bad of full-time traveling!
Here we are in a house finally, after spending 2 weeks in hotels with separate bedrooms. We have 2 large bedrooms, a very big living room and kitchen and a private pool! BUT, yes there is a BUT, like in most of the places we have been up to now!
The wifi connection barely works, usually it doesn’t when we need it the most, for work and homework! The kitchen has an oven sitting on the countertop, yes the oven, the one that usually is in a protected area under the gas top! The tv doesn’t work, not sure what is the point of having one if it doesn’t work, plus there isn’t even a dvd to give us a chance to see movies. The owner provided us with drinking water: 4 little bottles…..we are staying 7 days, not sure that they will be enough! He also gave us 4 tiny bottles of shower gel (hotel size to be clear), again we are staying 7 days! And a few more issues that I’m not here to waste time complaining about. What I’m trying to get across to you is that this full-time travel isn’t always as perfect as my photos might make you assume.
We have spent time in hotels that were a bit sketchy. We left one shortly after getting there because it was really bad! My daughter got stuck in the bathroom of the last one we were in, in Chiang Mai, because the door was somehow blocked! We rented an apartment in Bangkok, so we could finally cook at home, only to realize shortly after that the kitchen had only a microwave!
One of the worst aspects of booking online is that the photos have barely ever been like the real thing, which is extremely annoying! Often also the information hasn’t been as detailed or true as things really are. This house we are in now apparently is 15 minute walk to the beach…..not really, specially not possible under the beating sun with 3 kids!!!
Why do we keep on doing it?
The day we set foot on that plane out of Phoenix (which they cancelled and rescheduled on us last-minute!), we decided to embrace everything that would come our way, the good, the bad and the different!
Often when we find ourselves in these frustrating times, where things aren’t exactly how we expected, there is a first moment when we feel like we cannot accept what is happening and we want to just leave (because it is unacceptable in our heads), then we look at our kids that have the ability to adapt to a new place right away and call it home after 5 minutes there (Luca included). That is when we start putting things into perspective…..we start analyzing what we can adapt to and what is a NO NO. For example the cockroaches that Mass found in his bathroom in Chiang Mai are a total NO NO for me and we got the room changed the next day! At the house in Singapore they gave us only one tiny towel, clearly not enough for our 5 bodies, we just went and bought some new ones, luckily the owner was nice enough to give us the money back after.
We are paying for a service, a place to stay, so although we don’t want to ruin our time just thinking of what is not going right, we have to also respect ourselves and make sure we are respected as well.
What have we learned from these frustrating moments?
- To not constantly compare where we are to where we come from. It isn’t healthy and completely useless since we aren’t there anymore. If we want to find what we had back home in the places we are visiting, we should have stayed there!
- To speak up when we feel that we are not being respected. Just because you are in a different Country doesn’t mean that you have to let everything pass. I text owners constantly until they fix what doesn’t work in the homes, or we go the front desk for anything missing or not working when we are in hotels, after all they do offer certain services and amenities for the price we pay, so why not make sure we get it?
- To be understanding of different countries and cultures. People have different uses, for example in Bali all the houses we stayed in had bathrooms in open air, 4 walls but no roof, so sometimes you will have company in the bathroom. That is ok because that is the way things are done there, we are not going to expect it to be any different, otherwise you would simply have to look for a different type of accommodation, more American or European, so what was the point of going to Bali?
- That you have to adapt to the situation specially if you really like where you are and try to find a possible solution. For example, we really like this place we are staying now, the space, the house, the town and that we have a pool and all for a very good price. So if the owner isn’t able to fix our wifi, we have already found a couple of places where we can go to get some work done while enjoying coffee and a snack.
- To optimize your time and not waste it on being upset or mad because everything isn’t exactly as expected. Travel is about being flexible and enjoying your time and the places you are in, not about being mad and sad for what is not going right!
We are going to keep on going though, these frustrating moments are always going to be part of our lives as well as all the amazing and memorable ones. The obstacles along the way just make us stronger and better experts on how to deal with every possible issue that comes our way so we have no fear!
Happy Fearless Travels!!!
HOUSE DRAMA UPDATE:
here is how things turned out with the house I talked about at the beginning of the post. The house we booked was in Phuket, the owner was a foreigner. He seemed nice until we realized that he could not care less of helping us with the issues in the house and told us we could leave. We are a family of 5 in this was supposed to be a relaxing time, but we were waisting it being frustrated and we didn’t want to simply leave because it wasn’t so easy to find a house at same conditions, we just wanted things to work! He threatened us on the third morning, so this made us realize that there was no way we could stay there anymore. Instead of simply running off like I guess he thought we would do, we called the embassy, went to make a statement at the Thai Tourist Police and sent all our communication to Airbnb requesting our money back because the whole stay had been stressful. The host is now in trouble for what he did! We then moved to a new house (Thai owned).
What have we learned?
Always stay safe, but DO NOT let anyone bully you out of a place that you have a right to be in. He wasn’t expecting us to take action, but we did, no violence just went to the right places and took care of the matter. We explained to our kids that people can be very dishonest, but we are lucky to also have lots of good people around us, so you can trust, just have to pay attention to the signs and if you feel things aren’t right you do not have to stay in the situation.