Top 5 Things I Never Thought I Could Live Without Before Travel

by Stephanie Walsh · 12 comments

in Travel Thoughts, Travels

The best things in life aren't things

While traveling for the last few months, I have been thinking recently how well I have adapted to the sacrifices that come along with long-term travel. So here is my (very female and light-hearted) perspective on things I thought i could never live without over the last 4 months of travel.


  1. Hot Showers

    There’s nothing better than a lovely hot shower to wake you up in the morning (even if it is 36 degrees outside). And there’s nothing more miserable than an ice cold shower, especially one that just dribbles out from a pipe in the wall. One of the downsides to budget travel is definitely the crappy showers you come across. My spoilt ‘westerner’ self never thought I would be able to have an ice cold shower but I have had to embrace it. It’s either that or be smelly….I think I’ll choose to bear the cold water for a few minutes over weird looks for the whole day!

    Cold showers make me do this...

    Cold showers make me do this...

  2. Make-Up

    I know this one sounds incredibly vain of me but back in Ireland I would wear make-up nearly everyday. It just became a habit since I was in my late teens and I got used to it. If I didn’t wear make-up I felt very exposed. Well hello travel, goodbye make-up. It’s just impossible and was incredibly naive of me to think I could go traveling, wearing make-up every day. It’s not practical in the heat, it’s not efficient and it’s definitely a waste of money. Now that my face has turned from ghost white to slightly less ghost white, I don’t feel I look so anaemic anymore and I am enjoying a make-up free face.

  3. A Selection of Clothes

    God I am just sounding more spoilt with each one! Traveling light is vital for your backs’ happiness and everyday practicality. I currently travel with around two pairs of jeans, two shorts, two skirts, a few tops and about two dresses etc, (This actually sounds like a lot to me now…I’m still ‘over-packing’!), so choosing what to wear is not exactly a multiple-choice scenario. Back at home I liked to wear and dress and heels when going out, like most girls in Ireland, but while traveling I have to strategically mix and match my normal clothes to try and dress it up a bit. At least the fact that I don’t have any heels with me is good enough excuse for not having to wear them for a full night out! A self-inflicted ban from checking out my previous addiction to Asos has also helped.

  4. TEA!

    While I’m not as addicted to tea as the majority of people in Ireland (I only started drinking it in college when my best friends/housemates got me addicted), I do miss a good ole cup of tea! Here is the dramatic fact:


    I have only had ONE cup of tea in four months!


    If you are Irish, you will understand the blatant drama that goes along with that sentence. To be honest though, I have gotten used to it and as I said, thankfully I wasn’t that addicted in the first place. While other Irish emigrants’ families are sending over Barry’s/Lyon’s Tea to their son/daughter by the tonne, I have learned to replace tea with fruit juices…my new actual addiction!

    No tea for the Irish

    No tea for the Irish

  5. The Fact That I Will NEVER Tan

    I have put this on the list even though it’s not really a thing and I am not quite sure if I have come to terms with it yet. While going to the beach surrounded by bronzed goddesses, I emerge like a reflective mirror that blinds everybody with my almost transparency. I get told often enough “YOU’RE SO WHITE”…yes thank you…I had realized you know. However I have learned not to take offence…why would I? It’s simply a fact; I really am very white and that’s not going to change anytime soon, trust me. I have gone through all the 7 stages of grief on this matter:

    Shock and Denial; which had my best friends and me convince ourselves that we could get a tan if we lay out for a few hours WITHOUT sun cream in the midday sun in Greece….
    Pain and Guilt; …which resulted in almost third degree burns and all of us rolling around in our hostel beds in pain, telling ourselves how stupid we were.
    Anger and Bargaining; …and finally emerging from our rooms with the most ridiculous red and white contrasting lines all over our bodies…anger indeed. So I went back to fake-tan…and looked for bargains on the way.
    Depression, reflection, loneliness; …then I started my traveling and I was depressed that I couldn’t tan like everyone else! Boo!
    The upward turn; …however it’s not the end of the world…if I really cared that much about tanning I would be a very pathetic individual.
    Reconstruction and working through; …so I have learned to live with my pale skin and am trying to reconstruct my poor burned skin cells and DNA from sun damage…
    Acceptance and hope; …anyway there is always hope…everyone wanted to be as pale as me when I was in India so I just need to go live there and feel great about myself everyday!

    Me (right) after 10 minutes in the sun in Pushkar, India
    Me (far right) looking attractive after 10 minutes in the sun in Pushkar, India with friends Ciannait and Moy


Of course all of these sacrifices have been small and meaningless. The rewards of travel far out-weight the small sacrifices. As the saying goes:

The best things in life aren’t things

So there are my top 5 things I never thought I would be able to live without before traveling. Have you experienced any similar situations? What have you found the most difficult to live without while traveling? Leave your comments in the box below!

(Images: ImageQuotes)