When a Life of Travel Punches You in the Face

When a Life of Travel Punches You in the Face


What has only been two weeks feels like an eternity, after I’ve held my nose to pass by the stinking TV room I take the stairs to the basement and dread facing the backpacker kitchen. The one thing that always astounds me is that people use this place for a holiday base, surely to have the time of your life you’d stay anywhere but here. Then again, perhaps they are broke… a bit like me.


This is the moment when my life of travel turns upon me and punches me in the face.


For nearly twelve years I have scoured the globe seeking out the most remote locations, incredible adventures and learning new skills along the way. I’ve developed beyond my wildest dreams and I’ve been on a constant stream of amazement at the diversity and immenseness of our world. I have lived a hundred different lives but my grasp on all of this is dissipating with every day I am holed up in reality.


I’m not poor, not yet, but close enough to be able to wonder what it would be like to slip over that edge. I can still go out for dinner unlike the scavengers whose hungry eyes feel over wilting broccoli and soft banana skins in the free food cupboards or visit the kitchen in the early morning  to claim leftover bread. It’s not a bad idea to eat leftovers, I don’t have any contempt for these ‘kids’ (who in this city hostel range from 17 to 60), but surviving on scraps is not for me, I want better. I want out of this hostel but that requires one thing: a job.


When a Life of Travel Punches You in the Face, Straight On DetourI never expected this to be a difficult task and especially not after all of the challenges I have faced over the
years. Alongside a reasonably perky and honest personality I have an array of skills; I have crewed a sailboat across the Pacific, managed a Tanzanian dive shop, supervised and maintained safety onboard a Thai live-a-board; I’ve landscaped Australian parks and provided support to people with disabilities and a long time ago, I even ran a custody detention suite in the UK. These might scream out to you that I’m whimsical and sporadic… I am, but I am also dependable, adaptable and the fact that I have never been fired from anywhere tells you that I am a good employee.


So I apply, with absolute confidence, for any temporary position that I feel I can master but how do I say that one of my references is actually from 2013 or that they’ll have to call an African cell phone? My phone doesn’t ring and with every day lacking a job or even a trial I’m being pulled down peg by peg. The realisation hits me that the private room in which I’m staying might soon be a little too expensive and that increases the downward spiral.


I can’t get dampened because nobody employs a somber person but it’s harder and harder to get up and look for work and make the approach, to take an application form which asks for references and know that, even though I would be a quick learner and a fun employee, there’s no-one to vouch for me. My work visa has already ticked 14 days and I had not expected to still be so lost, even if I am trying to set up a normal life half a world away from home.


12 years of wonder and amazement, experience and skills, I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world, but this is my punch in the face for having things so good for so long.


Phew, that feels good to be honest.


Thanks for reading.


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Written by

Rebecca Mayoll is a ‘just turned 30’ freelance writer and photographer from England. She is the co-founder and author of straightondetour.com, a travel website with the mantra ‘find your own adventure.’ Promoting adventurous destinations, independent travel and giving a humorous insight to the World of travel is what Becky does best.

  • Simon says:

    I’ve been there before. One time I was unemployed in London for three desperate months. But like me, it’ll work out for you in the end. Keep your head up!

  • 14 days! Don’t stress about it, that’s no time at all to be looking for a job. I lived on free food shelves for 3 weeks in New Zealand, so I reckon you’re doing ok! I hope something comes up soon.

    • I was so worried that I had erased my CV like everyone said that I was over-stressing and certainly beginning to panic. This is so unlike me but then entering the real is so unlike me too, a completely new field.

      There was so much free bread on the shelves, it was bloody ridiculous 😀

  • Good luck Rebecca! It’s never easy in the beginning when you settle down somewhere.

    • Oh my gosh, it is crazy!! Getting better now though…PHEW! Didn’t expect the real world to be so draining to re-enter haha.

      Hope you two are well, any big plans for 2016?


  • Alexandra Leeming says:

    Chin up babe, I know you’ll find something…. I’d give you a job….. Oh, yeah, I remember, I did give you a job! No regrets there, I guess it’s a bit old now but if you need a reference you can always use me. xx

    • Hahaha and you’d give me another wouldn’t you…. WOULDN’T YOU!!! 😀
      Thanks so much Alex, things are looking up, seems I’m moving into ice creamery/cafe management… oh how things change!

      Missing the underwater world, hope that you and Keith are very well and very happy,

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Hi we're Prue and Becks, travel writers and photographers who have been travelling the world together since 2012. Without taking ourselves too seriously, we divulge the lesser known, out of the way places and give you the tools to replicate it. Want to know more? Click on our pic.