As much as I love to travel there are plenty of things I dislike about it. Here are my top five:
-Unpacking. While packing for a trip can be tedious and something exhausting, you at least have the excitement and anticipation of the trip to get you through it. Coming back and unpacking, well there’s no more excitement. The trip is over and all you’re left with is dirty laundry and the annoying task of having to unpack a dozen odds and ends (I somehow seem to always end up with articles in every small zipper pouch of my suitcase).
-Never feeling 100% clean. Yes I know, clean is clean. However, when I’m not showering in my own bathroom with my own soaps and shampoos and lotions that I’m accustomed to, I don’t feel “as” clean as when I’m showering at home. And while I’m not a germ freak by any means, deep down I always wonder about the true cleanliness of your accommodations; on the surface stuff seems clean enough but beneath the surface, what might be possibly lurking, not to mention not knowing who stayed before you? So while obviously I shower every day when I travel (including at disgusting shower facilities at a Roman hostel), my first shower back home is always a happy affair for me.
-Delays. I’m pretty sure there is not one person in the world who actually likes being delayed at an airport. Although many of the big airports offer a vast array of amenities (and some I’ve read about that seem incredible, but of course those airports are all located on the other side of the world from me), the bottom line is that having to spend more time in an airport than is necessary is just a crappy affair. One goes to the airport for the purpose of getting to one’s destination, not hanging out reading the wares at Hudson Bookseller or having mediocre food at a sub par restaurant.
-Having to be at the mercy of strangers. Whether in the air, at a hotel, or walking the streets of a new city, a traveler is often at the mercy of others in terms of common courtesy and assistance. When I fly I pray that I will be seated next to or behind someone who doesn’t smell, isn’t rude, and doesn’t recline his seat back all the way into my lap. At my hotel I pray that the people staying on my floor know what it means to be respectful to the other guests by not letting their children scream and run up and down the hallways late at night. And when I’m on the street walking around or traveling on public transportation, I pray that if I need assistance, someone will be kind enough to help me.
-And for a less-serious one, wanting to see and buy everything I come across. When you travel somewhere, you’re almost always there for a limited time, not open ended. I’ve been to a few major cities where I felt I had seen enough (Buenos Aires is one of them). But in cities like Mexico City and Paris, I know there’s much more that I still need to get to. The same goes for shopping. I’m not a shopoholic but I love mementos from my travels. I don’t buy the tacky stuff but rather articles I think look classy and memorable, things I think would be a great reminder of a trip anytime I look at them. When on the Bourbon Trail recently, all of the distilleries had gift shops (no surprise here) and many had wares I would loved to have bought. I know moderation is needed when traveling so as not to go overboard, but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t have liked that tea towel I saw at Maker’s Mark or the unique cup I saw at Heaven Hill.