Naturally I would wait until we were in one of the most popular cities in the world to hit the wall with backpacking. I think it may have started on the 3km walk to our hostel with more than 20kg on my back. Probably right after finding that the French camouflage their subway entrances and hide the street signs making it near on impossible to navigate. Not that I have anything against France and their blatant discrimination towards non-EU members (your student ID means nothing in this country unless you were also born in the chosen land) it was just my time to have a melt down. Backpacking is really great most of the time. There is no going to work in the morning, I hardly ever need to wash dishes and I get to learn a new language about once a week. It isnt all crepes and river cruises though and I feel strongly that I lost the plot for the following reasons.
1. Communal bathrooms: can you please wait until after I have brushed my teeth to sit in front of the only basin and shave your head? 2. Australians: in every hostel, in every city. 3. Early morning trains: I particularly like when we have to leave so early we miss our complimentary breakfast at the hostel and I get to be both tired and hungry. 4. Locking up: everything, everytime you leave, because you cannot trust the other 10 people you just shared a room with last night. 5. Paying full-price in France: what good is my not so legitimate student card if they wont let me into the Louvre for free? 6. Other Tourists: I know they have just as much right to be there but can we please administer some sort of IQ test before people are allowed entrance to a country. 7. Slow walking people: congratulations on making it to the top of the escalator, of course now would be a great time to stop and check your cell phone/watch/small ugly dog, I will just wait patiently on the moving stairs. 8. People trying to sell me things: especially the Vietnamese women who would actually rush you with a shoulder pole and two baskets hoping to drop it on your neck and collect a few bucks for a photo. Admittedly the shoe-shine boy that chased us for four blocks had perseverance. 9. Washing and drying my clothes: aside from trying to find something to wear while you wash every item in your bag, trying to find somewhere to hang your soaking items in the cramped confines of a 12 bed dorm is somewhat challenging. 10. Money: when your card suddenly declines on the way to the Eiffel Tower on your last night in Paris and then your bank blocks your internet access because your security question is case sensitive... and your husband decides that this will be a good time to laugh and take photos of you.
As luck would have it I cheered up whilst at the top of the aforementioned tower some hours later and ended up with mostly fond memories of Paris.
Rachael and Jeremy