Travelling is fantastic most of the time, but occasionally there’s a moment of pure joy provided by the most mundane occurrence. Here are ten of the small pleasures we’ve found on our travels:
- Getting clean laundry back. There’s literally nothing better than pulling on some clean clothes, even if they often smell overpoweringly of washing powder and your shorts all have creases ironed down the front.
- Non-glacial internet connections. Obviously you won’t get this in Australia, but elsewhere when a web page loads in less than 30 seconds, the feeling is marvellous.
- Free stuff. The best yet was our upgrade to business class between Brisbane and Tokyo, but even minor free things are great: free water on bus journeys in Vietnam and Thailand; free prawn crackers with your beer (or a free shot on the hour, every hour) in Indonesia; or free deep-fried garlic and peanuts (it’s really good!) in Cambodia.
- Being charged “local” price. It’s difficult to beat the feeling of seeing someone pay the same as you have on a local bus, when you’ve been convinced you were paying over-the-odds.
- Accommodation touts. A strange one, because a lot of them are charlatans who tell you their place has hot water, air-con and Wi-Fi and when you get there you find it’s a hole in the ground covered with a sheet of corrugated iron. But, when you get one who leads you to a clean, cheap guest-house with cable TV, all is well with the world.
- Air-con. Anywhere. Anytime. A gust as you walk past a shop can be orgasmic, a whole bus journey when the air-con works is utopia. Coming back to a chilly hostel room after a sweaty evening drinking is the stuff of legend.
- Proper signage. The number of times we’ve searched high and low for sights because there are no signs (let alone signs in English) is up in the hundreds. When we see a signpost for something we’re looking for, a small smile appears on our faces and there is suddenly a spring in our step.
- Toilets with the holy trinity. Western loo, toilet paper, full hand-washing facilities.
- Killing mosquitoes. The little buggers are horrible. If you kill one you feel like a bronze medallist at the Olympics. If you flatten three or more in a day you feel like the winner of silver. If you obliterate one of the swine as it’s feeding on your ankle you grab the gold.
- Being the only gringos on the bus. Weirdly satisfying.
What simple pleasures have you found while you’ve been travelling? There are certainly many that didn’t make the cut here. Would love to hear other suggestions below.