Snoring room mates at 2am.
Mating couple above my head,
Whilst it’s hard to breathe
With a blocked nose and my body
Feels like lead,
I can’t but wait.

Morning dawns and the ritual begins.
Unlock bag, unroll clothes, sniff, repeat.
Socks crusty with use,
“Should do the laundry.”
4.50 Euros? Ouch. Maybe I’ll make it
Another hour, another day.
Ignore smelly feet
And try not to sweat.

Other days I just want to be home.
My body screams
With every sore muscle,
Tired to the bone,
Used and abused by
Packs that shouldn’t be
As heavy as they are and
Shoes that have worn down to their soles,
Mine seemingly with them.

Don’t be bitter.
Embrace the experience.
Folks back home aren’t interested
In how good it was.
They want to hear about
The failures
The mistakes
The embarrassing situations
You somehow stumble into.
The exploding oven.

Doesn’t matter…any of it.
The sleepless nights,
The dodgy cold/luke-warm/too hot showers with
Too soft/hard/no pressure at all in
A box too small to be legal.
The sore feet/throat/head/insert body part trying
To speak Deutsch/Francais/Italiano or
A mixture of all three.

To watch the sunset over an Italian fishing village.
To hear the colossal Colosseum’s voice ring out in stone.
To feel/taste/smell snow/pizza/Paris for the first time.
To enjoy the sizzling stones of Santorini’s beaches under your feet.
It’s worth it.
All of it.

I wrote this poem in 2008 during a six month backtracking adventure through Europe with my boyfriend (now husband). As the title suggests, it was two months into our trip and we were exhausted. Having found this again, it instantly sent me back to a common room in Munich, lying on a beanbag under a massive skylight. I wrote a blog during our trip so if you’re interested you can check it out here.