Confessions of a Travelgrammer
 

Here are my travelgramming confessions.

I am hopelessly addicted to travel. And I love photography. As I travel the world, I enthusiastically post to Instagram images of my adventures. My account has slowly become devoted to travel, and now when I look at it, I wonder what story it tells to the followers who do not really know me, Erin Elizabeth. To them, I am Pina, a travelgrammer. They see my glorified life, in which I endlessly travel and never work. In which I spend my days reading in hammocks, lounging on beaches, hanging out with elephants, hiking, and eating delicious food. They see flawless, uninhibited travel. They do not see the hours I work to earn the money, the sickness, the stress, the frustrations, the culture shock.

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One.

I’d spent the last two days on a packed, sweaty bus. Hungry, motion sick, and miserable. The glorious life of a travelgrammer!

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Two.

Hours earlier I was assaulted in an alleyway by a young Moroccan boy. He came up from behind and pushed me up against a wall as I screamed, hitting him. I escaped, but was terrified for weeks.

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Three.

That day, I cried in front of an entire restaurant because I could not communicate to the staff the severity of my food allergies.

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Four.

We’d been sleeping in a jungle cabin that was infested with rats. Every night we awoke to find rats that had chewed through our mosquito nets, and were in our beds, chewing on our things.

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Five.

I spent the previous night in a hospital, after going into anaphylactic shock. I was sure I was dying. And now I had a 500$ hospital bill to pay.

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Six.

I lost my wallet that day. And my debit card. And my credit cards. …By sheer stupidity. Cue three weeks of anxiety as I waited for my new cards to arrive.

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Seven.

My partner had been dangerously ill with food poisoning for more than three days, and I was sure we would soon be heading to the hospital. You wouldn’t know that by looking at my travelgrammer account.

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Eight.

Not all travelgrammers do luxury travel. Committed to budget travel, my partner and I found ourselves sleeping together on a single mattress, with no pillows, on the floor of a packed Tokyo micro-apartment. We had to crawl over the bodies of other sleeping people to get to the toilet. I admit the first morning we woke up there, I cried in frustration. There is nothing like 3 months in Asia to teach you what a privilege “personal space” is.

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Nine.

Three hostels in a row we had been ravaged by bedbugs, and I was giving into the bedbug paranoia as I examined my body every morning in the mirror. Are they in my bag? Are they in my clothes!?

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Ten.

That morning I forgot my passport in the pillow of my bed in a homestay in Trinidad, Cuba. Two hours later I was in a debilitating panic, in the front seat of a car share, trying to explain to the driver in broken Spanish that we needed to go all the way back.