October 2013

Travel bug

bug 2Looking through old holiday pictures I realised: I desperately need a travel bug.

No, I don’t mean I need to obtain the urge to go traveling – that craving isn’t not something I require, it’s something I already possess. 24/7. A weekend break in sunny Spain? Hasta mañana! A one way ticket to a faraway island? Perfect, where do I book? A half year round the world trip? Give me a sec and I’ll throw some stuff in a backpack*. I have a never-ending gigantic urge to go travel (just not the matching never-ending gigantic back account – hence why I’m still here).

(* read: ‘give me 3,5 hours and I’ll spend three of them whining about the fact that all my dresses, pyjamas and high heels don’t fit into a backpack, 20 minutes having a semi-nervous breakdown when discovering the backpack doesn’t magically enlarge itself at my command, and the last 10 mins gathering the little stuff I always take).

Back to the travel bug: when seeing some photos of myself in Cuba I was pleasantly surprised. Not just because the photos reminded me of good times and even better mojitos, but also because I actually had a bikini proof body back then (to be honest: all pictures were taken on the first day of our stay, before we started working our way through the cocktail menu and back). This shape was due to two months of traveling with my mum in South America. In those eight weeks we didn’t only walk the Salkantay trail, but also ran up the last bit to the Machu Picchu, climbed the Wayna Picchu and managed to do the Colca Canyon tour in just two days.

Basically we did countless gruelling exercise tracks involving f*ckloads of walking that would make Bear Grylls’ extreme survival expeditions seem like a casual stroll in the park. All without access to proper junk food – for some reason they didn’t sell chocolate brownies on the floating reed islands of Puno (Peru). Throw in the fact that due to altitude sickness in Cuzco and Bolivia the only snacks we were chewing non-stop were coca leaves and you’ll get the picture.

(Before you ask, you won’t get to see any pictures, especially no ‘then’ and ‘now’ ones. I’ll probably faint trying to take a ‘now’ picture, since I’ll be holding in the tummy caused by the combination of an office job and a lack of exercise, in a vain attempt to look like the ‘then’ picture. It’s not that bad, it’s just that I, and with me probably 50% of the world’s population, feel fat when watching Holland’s Next Top Model. Problem.)

So, to counteract this minor but unwanted weight gain around my waistline, I see only one solution: going on a world trip. It won’t even have to be an active journey of any sorts. I could just go to a country that is underdeveloped in the hygiene sector so I get massive food poisoning (aka the travel bug) et voila: an improved, slimmer bikini body. Not a serious illness (the ultra-skinny, starved Twiggy look might have been hip in the sixties) but just a healthy bout of D&V that will make me lose five kilos. Or maybe 10. It’s not hard: try having a Mac Maharadja burger in Jaisalmer, sampling bang lassi in Pushkar or just drinking tap water anywhere in India. Success, or gastroenteritis, guaranteed.

It will be –mildly put- somewhat inconvenient at the time, especially when trying to do an Egyptian (for those of you who’ve never eaten at a Thai night market: that’s vomiting between your legs while you’re sitting on the loo having diarrhoea), on a 12 hours bus journey. But hey; no pain, no gain. Also, everyone knows that these things make the best travel stories. A guy in our Salt Plane tour had to go for a clandestine shit in the middle of the, up to that point, pristine white Bolivian salt lakes. With a flat, salty plain as far as the eye could see, nothing to hide behind, and a very nervous driver inquiring impatiently whether he was done emptying his bowels already because it is highly illegal to leave any form of crap behind on the salt lake, it could not have been a nice time. However, I am positive that when he got back home, the guy never had to worry about finding an (un)suitable party anecdote ever again.

I understand that, hypothetically speaking, one could also obtain the desired bikini body by other means than traveling. However, personally I don’t think they are that effective: there is exercise (basically impossible with a 9 to 5 office job in winter time, especially as saving for traveling means unable to afford a gym membership), healthier eating (but Ben & Jerry’s just tastes soooooooo good, especially with some Baileys on top) or staying at home and drinking the milk that has been in the back of the fridge for the last eight weeks and is now spreading itself to the nearby cherry jam.. (I hope I don’t need to explain that this would be completely gross, unhygienic and a bad idea). Also, those ways aren’t that fun (uh, I mean ‘educative’, ‘horizon broadening’ and ‘enlightening’) as having a holiday in another continent.

Problem solved! (Well, apart from the matching gigantic bank account bit). Now where’s that chocolate?
;)

 

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