At the moment I’m in a shoebox-sized hotel room in Washington DC, and I finally have a bit of time to sit down and hammer out some thoughts on the trip thus far. Despite all the experiences, photos, mental notes and jotted notepad scrawls at my disposal, I find myself at a bit of a loss about where to start.
A few weeks ago when I was looking back over my entries from the last time I was ‘on the road’, I felt that I had inadvertently come across as too negative a lot of the time. While I have no qualms with discussing the darker sides of life or travel, I felt that the balance got away from me a bit. This time around I want to focus more on the positives, and I also want to finish on positive notes. In order to do that though, I need to get some of the negatives out of my system so I can put them behind me.
What are my gripes? Well, I could go on about the 24 hours of flight time / 30 hours of total transit, and ensuing horrible jet-lag that only those from Australia / New Zealand / The Moon will ever understand. I could focus on how the travel and the weather have dried out my lips, leaving them chapped and bleeding and dried out my mouth while I sleep at night to the point that it’s like I’ve got a dry sponge for a tongue.
But those are pretty standard concerns. There are two things that have particularly bothered me.
My primary concern at the moment is my legs and feet. I am in agony from the waist down. It’s most likely due to the flat-soled shoes I’ve worn to walk all over the place in 10 to 12 hour stretches each day. I vaguely recall getting pain like this last time I was on the road, but I don’t remember it being this bad.
It’s really a distraction. I keep having to stop and try to stretch my legs out, and today at the National Museum of American History I had to stop to rest on several occasions, to the point that I was distracted and couldn’t enjoy myself.
Every step is excruciating. My feet hurt at the balls and the heels. My ankles and calves hurt. Worst of all are my knees, which feel like they are exploding when I use stairs, and my ITB muscles which are so constantly tight and sore that I feel like jamming my thumb into them to try to release the pressure, which by the way, doesn’t help. (Pro-tip: Buy some decent walking shoes / boots for your travels and wear them every goddamn day. Don’t be a fool as I have been.)
And the other thing that has bothered me? It’s a stomach thing.
Travel can give you many wonderful and enriching life experiences. Needless to say, having squid ink linguini-induced diarrhea while wandering through a foreign city is not one of them.(Pro-tip: Walk confidently into the nearest large hotel as though you are a guest, find the bathroom and squirt away. Thanks Marriott Hotel Philadelphia!)
Those are my woes. Stay tuned for some actual travel stories in the coming days.