Where am I?

Long term travel comfortThat is the question I’ve asked myself nearly every morning during this past month.  It has been the busiest travel of our lives.

A week in Fiji was spent changing resorts, doing adventures both morning and night and taking in as much of the main island as possible.  China was just as hectic.  We spent three weeks flying, taking over night trains and private & public transport from Hong Kong, to Yangshuo and Shanghai to Beijing.  Covering thousands of miles and seeing every major site, we explored most of the famous attractions in a very short whirlwind trip.

As I wake up in a different bed each day, sometimes I am sleeping beside Dave, others I am in a small single bed, I am confused.  Am I at my old home in Canada? Is it my childhood house? Or am I back in India? I never know until the grogginess subsides.

Travel is hard on the psyche. That is why it is important to bring a little piece of home with you.
We have our comfort things that come with us wherever we go.  It is our little home in our backpack.  Even though we are on the adventure of a lifetime, we miss our family and friends and most of all we miss having a place to come home to.

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Here are a the things we have and do to make sure we travel in comfort.

Our computers - They have become our home away from home. I can be sitting in a café in Bangkok or in the basement of my parents house and I feel comfortable as long as my computer is with me.  It is my link to home. I can check emails, the news, facebook and I can even skype with our families.  It feels  like we are in the same room and it makes us miss them just a little less.

iPhone – Sure, we have our computers and we can do almost everything on them. But when we are sitting in a cramped hot bus it is comforting to be able to check our facebook status and see that our friends from home haven’t forgotten us. It is also a great way to call home when we are feeling lonely.  Sometimes Skype won’t do and we want to be able to chat even if our families are not online. That is where online phone cards come into play.  We don’t have to wait for our mom and dad to pop up on skype, we can just give them a call directly to their home phone.

Sarongs – We have been traveling with our same sarongs for a couple of years.  We own dozens and when we go home, we change them out for fresh and new ones.  When we lay them on our beds in a strange hotel, it warms up the room and makes us feel like this is our home even if only for a short time.  We snuggle up to them when we’re cool and lay on top of them when we’re hot.  Sarongs are the most comfortable thing to sleep on and wear.

travel-comfort-tips-long-term

Journal – I am still old school and love to write in my journal.  There is nothing more comforting than seeking out a coffee shop to sit down and watch the world go by while writing in my journal.  It is the same feeling in Shanghai as it is downtown Toronto.

Integrating with Society - People are the same wherever you go.  No matter which race, religion, caste or creed, everyone has someone they love, they have families and friends. They smile the same, they laugh the same, they hug the same and they play the same.  The ysit quietly and read a book the same in every part of the world and they are willing to let you into their lives no matter where you go.  When we surround ourselves with other people, we feel a little more at home and a little more a part of the community.  A shared smile or quick exchange is all it takes to make us feel at home.
iPod – Dave can’t live without his music.  When we are traveling, he flips on his music and starts air drumming away without a care in the world.  I look over at him and smile. He could be at our loft in Toronto or camping in the middle of the desert. It doesn’t matter where we are, he will tap his feet just like he is at home in his boxer shorts.

Good First Aid Kit – Medical facilities are different everywhere in the world. If something doesn’t feel right, we just can’t call up our doctor and make an appointment.  We have to take care of ourselves.  Knowing that we have the necessary items to take care of any minor problem gives us a sense of comfort.  Dave had a case of Athletes foot in China and luckily we had the right cream to fix it straight up.  We’ve already had a few ailments and we have only been gone 6 weeks, but we have had something for every situation in our kit so far.

Wine Opener – It is no secret, we love our wine. While we don’t get to drink much of it when we are in Countries in Asia, we still like to splurge every once in a while when we get to a city.  Having our wine opener along makes us feel just a little more civilized.  When we can sit and have a glass of wine at night while sitting on a veranda of a bungalow, we feel just a little closer to home.

travel as a couple, comfortable for travel

Each Other - Dave is my home and he will agree that I am his.  No matter where I am on earth, I am home as long as I am with Dave.  I couldn’t travel without him.  If I were to go somewhere without Dave there would be a giant void.  We are lucky to have the same goals and dreams. We are lucky that both of us have a passion for travel and are willing to give up a normal life to see the world.

But with all the points above, it definitely helps to have our comfort items to make things a lot easier when we travel even if we have each other.

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39 Comments

    1. davendeb

      Very true about being open and friendly. It is amazing how often we are greeted with open arms (literally) I honestly think that it is because Dave and I (and most long term travellers) genuinely want to get to know the people of the country we visit. All we have to do is smile and people start to talk. Dave loves his iPod. I have one too, but for some reason I rarely listen to it. I tend to just zone out more with my empty brain:-) I always say I am not going to bother to bring it, but each trip I do, just in case:-)

    1. davendeb

      Thanks for the recommendation Allison. We will check it out. As Canadians we are always screwed. We have looked into the extra s that Skype offers like calling landlines etc. But it never seems to be offered to Canadians, we need an American address. I hope it changes soon. When it does, we will definitely get SkypeOut.

    1. davendeb

      Andi. Starbucks is an excellent comfort. Soft music, cushy chairs and good coffee. We like to hit one up as well. You and Shawn have given me a great idea for a post. “The things we do during travel for comfort” Like going to Starbucks, the mall or a movie.

    1. davendeb

      Excellent point Ayngelina. You are not weird at all. I hate cracked heal and dirty feet and putting on moisturizer takes care of that. At night, I need to shower because my feet always feel so dirty. I am going to start doing that. I have an excellent pair of socks with me this trip:-)

  1. Shawn

    By they way just wondering if visiting the Indoor Malls in different cities and hitting a movie is comforting for anyone? I try to visit the largest mall in each city. At the mall anywhere you go in the world people are doing the same thing, and taking in a movie is always a relaxing time.

    Even here in India the Mall can be a relaxing, it will get you away from the loud crazy driving style and infrastructure.
    .-= Shawn´s last blog ..The Hindu Style Housewarming Puja- and Ganesha =-.

    1. davendeb

      Shawn, excellent point. Indoor malls are very comforting and we always hit one after traveling hard. We love hitting a movie theatre in a mall and then sitting around to have a coffee. I will have to write another post about doing things that gives us comfort while traveling. Great points and looking forward to meeting up with you in India!

  2. Jeanne @soultravelers3

    Ha! I hear ya! We’ve just done 14 flights and stops between Spain and Penang as a family with just a carryon for each of us to last this 5th year of non-stop travel. ;) I just bought my first Sarong in Bora Bora, hope it is as handy as you say.

    Our biggest comforts are each other as we really enjoy spending 24/7 together & find we don’t need much to make us happy. We have dear Spanish friends in Barcelona ( we often give them webcam call views of our current digs as we roam) who have a tiny dog that kidlet adores. They gave her an identical stuffed toy one for her birthday before we left & she has enjoyed that comfort as we roam this year. Funny when the two dogs “talk” on skype & make us all giggle.

    We no longer have a first aid kit ( never used it & we do have many docs that we can call or contact from anywhere), don’t have an iphone & don’t plan on one, but we DO love our 3 laptops that allow us to travel & live anywhere. We lost two family members at a distance this year, so keeping close this way is probably the biggest comfort.
    .-= Jeanne @soultravelers3´s last blog ..BBC Interviews Soultravelers3 on Social Media and Travel =-.

    1. davendeb

      Sorry to hear about losing to family members, I am glad that you could keep close to them via Internet.
      We use our first aid kit all the time, you will find that things are different in Asia and Africa than Europe. Europe it is quite easy but in Asia, illness crops up easily as well as infection etc.
      You should get an iPhone, we love traveling with it and have heard the same from everyone that has one. It is one of the best things. We can update twitter and facebook during long bus rides, we can call ahead to book a room, we can show a cab driver where we are going on google maps. It is invaluable. We just buy a SIM card wherever we go for only a few dollars and are set for a month. It is easy to top up and easy to use.

  3. Corfu Villas

    Comfort is always necessary when we travel, as the travel is going to be the first step towards our long journey. It is the first impression, if the travel makes us feel good, then whatever we are traveling for will be good too.

  4. santafetraveler

    I am a Cancer and if I live in a tent for a few nights it gets decorated. I need a place to be homey. I love the idea of the sarongs.
    Clearly, you need a vacation. Travel, when done a few nights here, a few nights there is not relaxing. You need a week at the beach or in the mountains somewhere where you can chill and regroup.

  5. PNR Status

    Travel, when done a few nights here, a few nights there is not relaxing. You need a week at the beach or in the mountains somewhere where you can chill and regroup.

    1. davendeb

      That is a very good point. We love sitting on a bus or in an airport and being able to chat with friends at home, or around the world.

  6. Mike

    Great post from the pros! I am glad you mentioned a journal. That is such a key tool. I love going back and rereading my impressions from different locations. It brings back the sites and sounds.

  7. Beth

    Hey guys,
    I am working on some travel comfort tips for my website http://www.pillowpackers.com and came across your site. I thought you might be interested in our pillow.
    We are travellers too. On past trips, we liked to drag around our own home pillows but that was not always possible. Out of necessity, my husband and I invented a travel pillow that is like sleeping on your home pillow. It is inflatable and comes in a choice of down or microfibre. Inflated, the pillow is about half the size of a full sized pillow. The pillow weighs less than a pound and rolls up to the size of a can of 3 tennis balls. We have had raves from people using our pillows and I sleep on one every night.
    Please let is know what you think.

  8. Bluegreen Kirk

    Laptops, iphones, and ipods are a must have. Cant live without music, am listening to music on my phone right now. I dont know if I can manage waking up in a different bed everyday though.

  9. TheGourmetCoffeeGuy

    Your post is very nice, especially about the great relationship you two have and the wonderful time you are obviously having seeing the world! Completely appreciate and enjoy great family life and the opportunity to travel. Nothing as adventurous as your travels but memorable and enjoyable. Really enjoy your practical approach to travel. Comfort and “home” memories are important and cherished when away from home in foreign countries. Your point about a good medical kit and some basic medical care knowledge is excellent. A good reminder for anyone traveling. Stay safe and keep up the great posts.

    1. davendeb

      Thanks Mre GourmetCoffeeGuy.We do need our creature comforts for sure. I agree about the medical kit. Some people don’t carry much of one but we find ourselves always needing something when we are out on a trail or in a small village or something. We may pack a little heavier than other travellers, but we always have our comforts:-)

  10. Aybi

    Ipad, mp3 and my Iphone are the things I don’t forget when travelling. Thanks for the other ideas such as sarong. :)

  11. Garth

    When me and my wife travel we never leave without our travel pillows. What kind do you use, Iam looking at getting a new one.

    1. Beth

      Hi Garth,
      My husband and I are pillowpackers too. After a lot of frustration, we invented the perfect pillow for us — an inflatable down pillow that deflates and compresses to the size of a rolled-up towel–yet is as comfortable as my home pillows. Because not everyone likes down, they also come in microfibre. We have received many positive endorsements from uses which are posted on our website, pillowpackers.com. We got a really nice write up by Ross Werland of the Chicago Tribune who actually tested a microfibre version. You can search for “comfort-filled pillow ross werland” and some version of the article should pop up. Anyways, hope you find a pillow you like.
      Cheers!
      Beth

  12. Spencer

    I agree it is always worth bringing some form of ‘comfort’ with you when you travel. Personally for me it is my pillow.

    1. davendeb

      Good point Spencer. A pillow makes all the difference in a good nights sleep.

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