I have been on this planet for 29 years and been called “a princess” too many times to count. What is it about me that makes me a princess exactly?
Could it be because I have lived a very comfortable lifestyle in one of the most sought after states in America?
Or because I enjoy shopping?
Or because I like to rock a full face of makeup and extensions in my hair?
Or because I prefer to eat vegetarian/vegan?
Maybe it’s because I have a true love for anything sparkley or the color purple…
Or maybe even because I have literally dressed up in Disney princess costumes….many times.
But, before you find yourself surprised by this princess diving into the backpacker lifestyle in South America-let me fill you in on some of the circumstances I thrived in last year in Indonesia and Thailand.
Shipping myself as cargo on a boat to save a buck
I don’t remember exactly how much money we saved, but my travel buddy Heather and I decided to forego the normal boat journey from Bali to Gilli T and instead literally ship ourselves on a the slow boat.
We were shocked to learn this was actually a cargo ship, not your regular ferry. We did not see many people on the ship, and the few that were there happened to all be locals. We each had a little pod we stayed in for the entire painfull long five hour journey. Was it worth it? Any time I could save a dollar-it was worth it!
Dying from a plague in Gilli T
It is not always glitz and glam when you arrive on a beautiful island. Heather and I didn’t leave our room for three days after coming down with one of the nastiest sicknesses I have ever come down with. The owners of the building came to check on us because they were worried they hadn’t seen us leave our room. We only left our beds to slowly crawl to the restroom, and I remember us both crying in pain thinking we weren’t going to make it another day. It wasn’t until the owner climbed the coconut tree outside our building to knock down and crack open two fruits for us to drink did we finally begin to recover.
My room with Ashley in Koh Tao
My home for a glorious two months with my favorite Canadian, Ashley, was the absolute worst, but also THE BEST!
There was only one room key, so when we separated for the day the one who left without the key was left with a laborious task. We would have to hoist ourselves up and climb into the window-which wasn’t a problem because we just had to take the screen off and dive in, head or feet first depending on our mood, and land in the bed inside. This became a normal daily task that neither of us questioned it.
Here is the full size bed we both shared for two months with zero complaints!
Not only did everything from the sink just drain down to this bucket….we had to empty the bucket every few days….in the toilet. Hahaha Talk about glamorous! I had our spit splatter all over me in my first attempts at emptying the “spit bucket,” and it wasn’t pretty.
Let’s discuss this toilet for a minute. The back part that is supposed to fill with water for flushing… well, there was no water in there. We had to place the shower head behind the toilet, turn on the shower, and fill it for about 30 seconds before flushing.
Notice the close proximity of the shower head and the toilet. This meant that every time you shower you are basically showering on the toilet.
A few personal touches that made our house a home:
- We borrowed a bench from the opposite side of our complex and used it for our belongings.
- We also found some rope and had a makeshift closeline across the back of the room.
- Ash hung some lights with mini lanterns that I must say really created a relaxing ambiance!
Our last night on the island we actually discovered the room directly next to us was fully functioning without ANY of the same defects listed above. The owners moved us to that room because our fan had broke.
While laying in bed in the shiny new room, Ashley and I decided our “broken” room was truly home and jumped back in through the window to spend our last night in our beautifully crappy little oasis.
My bed at the mediation retreat
Behold, my bed for 13 days. This bed consisted of a piece of foam about three inches thick, on top of a wooden slab, with a mosquito net around it. Those two weeks were by far the most zen I have ever been in my life and, believe it or not, my back felt amazing afterwards. I am telling you there is something to this simple model!
My shower at the retreat
The Bucket Shower-the best way to conserve water! The shower consists of trash can filled with water from a spout in the wall-ice cold of course- and a small bucket.
See directions below.
Fill, rinse, lather, fill, rinse, repeat….
Hostels are a way of life for a backpacker, and nothing out of the ordinary for most travelers. Here is a glimpse of my typical shared dorm accommodation.
Living amungst geckos
Those darn squatters, they never contributed to the rent. Not only do they roam around the inside of your home freely, they also make a loud chirping noise. I think they are absolutely adorable when they are babies. Once they get past 8 inches in length they get a little creepier. Either way, a run in with one of these guys is more than likely in Thailand and other parts of South East Asia!
Air conditioning, or lack thereof
See that glamorous fan? Often times, this is it folks! Quite a luxury I might add. I did in fact come to prefer fans to Air Con. I got to a point where any AC would give me a cold because I was so used to living without it.
In order to sustain my my life the road, a budget was necesssary.
I have been known to be a picky with food due to my dietary restrictions, but when hunger hits, and you’re broke as a joke- a homemade PB&B or a 7/11 toastie are the only way to go! This was actually a super fancy homemade version, bread and cheese and voila-a toastie.
I will gladly admit I am a princess, but when you call me a princess just remember not to underestimate me.