26 ways travel taught me to suck it up

I think travel teaches you to be somewhat hardcore. You are usually thrown into circumstances way out of your control, many of which you have no option but to do the very thing you are scared of, uncomfortable about, or just grossed out by.

When you are faced in that predicament, you just have to hold your nose, take a deep breath and say suck it up as you do it.

It really is worthwhile because the result is always almost that your tolerance level and pain threshold is much higher.

Mosquito bites on Koh Phi Phi
Calamine lotion anyone?

Here are 26 ways travel taught me to SUCK IT UP

  1. Having to stand up in front of 500 Thai high school boys and introduce myself as their new Ajarn Angrit (English Teacher) in a language they did not understand.
  2. Craig, a carpenter and professional footballer,  having to stand up in front of 40 students in the best school in Thailand and teach them English- they knew grammar better than him!
  3. Having a fear of flying, yet still flying on over 100 flights
  4. Bungee jumping in Bali.
  5. Slingshot catapult in Bali- where some people died not long after where did it.
  6. Almost coming face to face with a tiger in the Sumatran jungle, whilst still having to hike for another half a day wondering just if he was going in the same direction as us in the thick undergrowth beside us.
  7. Facing the “Bad Place” a notorious, worst-in-the-world Grade 5 rapid on the Nile.
  8. Public toilets in China. Think hole in the ground, no doors or dividing walls and a line of women waiting and watching.
  9. After saying “I just can’t suck this one up” to the worst toilets in the world in Zimbabwe, choosing to squat in the knee-high grass n the side of the highway with several Zimbabwean women while cheerfully waving at passing vehicles tooting their horns.
  10. Sitting on the handle of a bicycle, in the back of a pick up with 20 smiling Cambodians for 8 hours.
  11. Cutting my South-East Asia travel short due to Balinese coral cut infestation on my foot and heading straight to London.
  12. Arriving in London with no money, no friends, no job, and no place to stay.
  13. Arriving in Dublin with no money, no friends, no job and no place to stay.
  14. Dossing on the floor of the lounge room with 5 other travelling friends in a house occupied with about 20 foreign bodies, while we waited for a room to open.
  15. Playing 100 club on Christmas Eve and making the 100 minutes without a vomit or toilet run.
  16. Sleeping on rocks in the Sumatran jungle, while our trekking guide kept watch for tigers with a big hunting knife and me suffering with pain from refusal to venture outside in the dark to pee in the bushes.
  17. Travelling with your partner 24/7 for months if not years
  18. Being stuck on a guided tour with people you could easily slap.
  19. Sleeping in a mini van, during the humid Floridian summer and being eaten by mozzies, to cut costs and travel longer.
  20. Sitting in the back of an African mini-van for 8 hours, in a space made for flat-stanley, with my knees up to my chin, the roof sitting on my head and a rooster’s head pecking dangerously close to my eye.
  21. Camping in the Rockies in freezing temperatures during the summer and busting to go to the toilet but holding it because of the hungry marauding bear outside.
  22. Tick bite fever- swollen joints, excruciating head-in-a-vice headache and having to be carried around the Cape Town hostel.
  23. Being ill and having to go to a Vietnamese hospital that was an old concrete building with one bed and a team of doctors happily examining me. (Hey they correctly diagnosed and fixed me, where the Western doctors didn’t have  clue!)
  24. Sitting on the back of a motorbike in Sumatra with a mushroom tripping freak driving singing songs to me about killing the tourist, while I prayed and tried to think of ways I could escape and survive and begging myself not to burst out into sobs again and start another maniacal taunt from him because of it.
  25. Bed bugs. Infected house. London. No other words needed.
  26. Travelling with kids: excess baggage, excess costs, excess tantrums

Suck it up and Just do it! Ends up being  a lot of fun and gives you great stories to share!

How has travel taught you to suck it up?

33 thoughts on “26 ways travel taught me to suck it up”

  1. I can totally relate to the minibus taxi ride. 12 hours with half of my arse hanging over the seat because I sat next to the person with the largest butt on the bus, and then trying to find a place to sleep in Johannesburg at midnight, and having to share a double bed with my male travelling companion. But those stories make great dinner party conversations!

  2. I am a softie! Or, maybe not – biggest hard core experience: mugged and hit by a bus in Chile! Yikes – that was a tough one! Next, mingling with ferocious bugs in Bolivia, food poisoning (also Bolivia) and my newest need to toughen up experience – a nasty flu in Croatia – 20 hours in bed in a hostel and throwing up in the sink- the owner took pity on me and was brilliant! No one wants to be sick on the road, but if you have to be, then having a grandmother who runs a hostel is the way to do it! While she didn’t speak English, and I didn’t speak Croatian, she made all the difference!!!

  3. What a list! I can definitely relate to a couple of things, like bad toilets (my experiences are from India), and refusing to go outside to pee for the fear of wild animals (bears are very common in Canada!)

  4. I am happy to not have experienced such bad toilet scenarios.

    My “suck it up” moment was when I thought I was going to die in the Patagonian wilderness. I was the complainer of the group, but when things got really bad and everyone lost their cool, I realized it was time to suck it up because we were now all at rock bottom.

  5. Wow! I’ve dealt with some painful, annoying, stressful and crazy things on my travels, but nothing remotely close to most of the stuff on this list! I’m glad you survived all of that!

    1. So am I!! Could possibly have another one. I have a toothache and I have to fly to Malaysia on Sunday. If I can’t get rid of it, I might just end up in a Malaysian dental chair or passed out on vodka in the corner of a bar somewhere!!

  6. Great post! Did you learn your lesson and try to pee at the safest opportunity possible. These experiences make you stronger and you will be delighted to have meories of them as you get older!

    1. They do make good stories to tell. I think when it comes to toilets on your travel new experiences always crop up that toughen you that little bit more

  7. HHHMMMmmm… I guess I’ve been lucky! Although, suffering from a killer case of sunburn on a late night flight in the back row where the passengers in front of me could put THEIR seats back, but I couldn’t, probably comes close! I couldn’t even watch the movie because the seat in front was in my face and the sound at my seat didn’t work!

  8. Public toilets in China. Man, those things are incredible. Particularly in more remote China. I’m not sure I’ve ever encountered a smell like that before! Also – my tiger story is a hippo story, where I only survived because the hippo burst out of the bushes and ran the opposite direction to us. I nearly died of fright anyway…

  9. I’ve been travelling on and off for a couple of years now and know exactly what you mean about just having to get on with stuff when you’re in a bad situation. It’s really helped me in so many ways and I don’t regret a single moment!

  10. You definitely sound hardcore to me! I can totally relate though, because traveling through developing countries definitely has its challenges. I think the biggest “suck it up” moment I faced was when I was traveling through Ethiopia and was constantly being attacked by fleas. The “showers” never seemed to work (and by work, I mean, there wasn’t even a trickle of cold water) so I couldn’t wash away the itch, and the airline had lost my backpack so I didn’t have my cortisone creams with me (or much else for that matter). It doesn’t sound so bad now, but after dealing with that for a whole month (on top of all the other challenges in Ethiopia, like 14 hour rickety bus rides full of vomiting passengers, no fresh air and no pee breaks), I was definitely at wits end.

    1. Oh that sounds pretty bad alright!! Definitely a hardening up experience. I’m itchy just reading this. I have heard stories from other travellers who have been to Ethiopia- it sounds hardcore!

  11. Sitting on a handlebar for 8 hours….ouch! Hmm how has travel hardened me, I wonder….durian in Malaysia is probably my most painful experience to date! Or having to wait outside for 2+ hours in -20C weather at night in the Czech Republic because I misread the bus timetable as it was different for weekdays and weekends. Brrrrr! Or spending 24 hours vomiting in Turkey and then the next 6 hours with stuff shooting out of the other end…hey I lost 7kg and looked tanned and sexy though, even if my money belt no longer fit around my waist.

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