There are obstacles on "the path less traveled". So if nothing else, there are two essential things that you need while you travel abroad. The good thing is they are portable. But what are they and how can they be applied?
Real life scenario: I’m at a café drinking a coffee and working on my laptop in Chile. I need to use the bathroom. Seriously, I can only hold it for about 5 more minutes tops. I pack up my laptop and notebook and grab my coffee. I enter the men’s room and lift the lid only to find that’s it’s clogged. It’s completely full to the brim with urine, toilet paper, and someone’s excrement. I go to wash my hands and there’s no soap. This is how hepatitis spreads! Now my hands feel dirty and if I walk out of the bathroom I’m framed. It’s going to look like I did it. Shit. Literally.
I momentarily scramble. I don’t know how to explain the toilet is clogged in Spanish and I really have to go. I’ll try the women’s room. Locked. I’m far from my accommodations and there’s no other public restroom nearby. What do I do? I’m going to explode.
Then I spot a busser. I get his attention, take out my iPhone, and open the Google Translate app. (Travel essential #1, especially when you don’t speak the language.) I type The men’s toilet is clogged. I point to the bathroom and say “no está bien”. I gesture water rising in the toilet. He lifts the lid and sees. Eeew. I wait for a moment as he grabs the plunger and unclogs the previous person’s mess. I hover by the door really needing to go. “Está bien?” I ask. “Todo bien” (All good) he replies, with a thumbs up. I take care of business and grab my hand sanitizer out of my backpack. (Travel essential #2. Don’t count on the soap on road.) Now my bowels feel good and so do my hands. Onto the next adventure!