10 Reasons Why Travelling is a Terrible Idea: Tormented by the Negative Voices from My Subconscious

Before we go on an adventure we all have our demons.

So with the countdown clock ticking to D-Day one would naturally expect a certain level of excitement to be building right? After all, I will be hitting the road for ten weeks, right across China from The East over to Xinjiang in The West, back to Beijing and then some; the result of two to three years of methodical planning. Actually the reality is, life is often a sea of doubt created by my subconscious ‘other-half’ where only occasionally do I manage to raise my head above the surface to gasp for air.

I must admit that at times my subconscious does have its uses. If I can’t remember something then hey presto an hour or a day later it’ll just pop into my head at any given time. Aside from that though, it seemingly has no other function other than to project negative actions into my head as often as possible.

My subconscious is a clever entity and applies its negativity in multiple successive attacks whispering “Don’t Do It” in a variety of ways. It has a number of different voices, some of them sound utterly ridiculous but then again it knows what I’m like and how to exploit all of my weaknesses:

  • 01: You will miss your creature comforts. This focuses on my bed, pillows, fridge and its contents. Beijing is cushty with a capital ‘C’ and that’s all there is to it really. OMG how are you going to survive without these things? The trip is going to be a living nightmare!
  • 02: It’s really inconvenient. God this is such a chore. Building up the inventory and having to rush around everywhere sorting so much stuff out, blaaagh! And then you’re actually going to be driving away from Beijing. What the hell do you want to do that for? Yawn! The first few days are just going to be such a pain in the arse; a tedious tedious chore where you could instead be at home watching a film or keeping up with your social media, sigh!
  • 03: You will fail. What’s the point of going if you’re just going to have to come back after a few days having been unable to overcome your first obstacle? As you limp the jeep back into Beijing people will line the streets laughing and throwing rotting vegetables at you. You will then have to reluctantly call the boss and ask if you can come back to work; more humiliation! Oh Lord, it’s so not worth the risk.

    The Mingyong Glacier from another 5000m pass. Lhasa to Zhongdian: The most dangerous bit of mountain road I’ve experienced to date.

  • 04: You will suffer a catastrophe. Actually there is some air of truth to this one as the trip will take me through a number of mountain passes. I’ve

    Lhasa to Zhongdian: Never a dull moment

    already done my fair share of Chinese mountain passes and know full well what lies ahead, admittedly then with a professional at the wheel already familiar with the roads. Chinese mountain roads do not get any more dangerous. Once your over the side then that’s it and that’s all there is too it. The golden rule is, keep away from the edge! If something big is coming in the other direction stop and let them pass, even if it screws up the bodywork of your vehicle. Other worries are the police, especially in Southern Xinjiang, theft, an accident on the highway and some calamity on the Southern Silk Road past the desert.

  • 05: You will be lonely. Oh no, you won’t meet anyone the whole time. No one will talk to you. You will start talking to yourself like a madman (well what’s new?). You know you’ll suffer big time culture shock. It’s a different world outside of Beijing. Everyone will stare at you. People will chase you out of their village; the unwelcome foreign tourist who shouldn’t be taking photos.
  • 06: You are too old to be doing this sort of thing. It’s irresponsible! Travelling is for young people! You know what it’s like. Bars full of loud tourists all getting drunk all night doing tequila slammers in a line down the bar while you dive for cover and look for a quiet drinking hole where you can self-indulgently contemplate the meaning of life.

“Where were you last night?”

“Oh I just had a quiet one” he says with just a touch of greyness.

In terms of travelling at this age you have no stamina left and your down-legs on mountain hikes left the premises years ago. It takes you longer to heal these days and if you get sick you may not survive, alone in the jeep in the middle of the desert slowly fading away with just your athlete’s foot to keep you conscious (I don’t have AF btw honestly)

07: This whole thing is really unexciting. Look mate, nothing exciting or interesting is going to happen during this sad-arsed trip. I mean look at the map, it’s utterly pointless. Boring boring boring!

08: It’s a waste of money. All this time saving up and now you’re blowing it with no way of recuperation. When you come back you’ll be as skint as usual and will have to start saving up all over again. Blowing all your money on something with no form of financial return is insane beyond belief. Kids blow their money like this you complete idiot.

09: This whole thing is really depressing. The way to happiness is by not travelling anywhere but by sticking to your routine. Also you will be able to go shopping in the Mall and buy some new clothes or a new phone like everyone else then go to a restaurant having received your temporary boost of retail therapy and talk about your purchases.

10: Persistent depressing songs and tunes that plague me. This is not a reason but rather my subconscious cement in the brick wall numbering from 01 to 09. It’s a super-ingenious cunning way for all negative impulses to be brought together in one harmonious and continuous assault on my brain. For three days now I have had ‘Becalmed’ by Brian Eno from the album ‘Another Green World’ going round and round in my head. It’s even edited it so the tune starts from 1.13 minutes when it’s at its most melancholy. I haven’t thought about this track in over thirty years but hey presto, my subconscious has magically managed to select the most depressing tune known to mankind playing it over and over again.

Click here to share my three day torment > Jump to 1.13 > Oh Lord please make it stop.

Hey ho. Despite all this I’m pressing on as methodically as anyone possibly can be. The jeep has just had new tyres put on it and my place is rapidly filling up with gear for the trip. I can’t find any waterproof tents but I found a place that sells tomato puree in tubes so that’s a result and a half. Today I bought two 4 gallon petrol cans, an axe and a pair of wellies as you do, (rain boots if you’re from America I guess).

Its gonna be amazing. Bring it on!

54 replies

    • Hiya Jony > Nice to hear from you mate. Amazing > Which pub and where did you see the main man then? I would love it if you could describe the situation into a small anecdote so I can get the whole thing in my mind. I mean meeting Brian Eno. Did he walk into the pub while you were there or you walked in and he was there etc…..What did he say to you or did you speak to him etc…. How’s Mac? Cheers for dropping by Jony.


  1. Tell your unconsious to shut up in very firm terms! You are going on an excellent adventure. Who wants to die without having grabbed every bit of life possible? You are going to see the “Mingyong Glacier!” Imagine the vistas and photo ops! I can’t wait to see your photos~

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Cindy > As the days tick on and things get more urgent I have to crack on and get things done. I get sleepless nights and life feels totally surreal. Thanks for your encouragement Cindy and have a brilliant week 🙂


    • Yo Bruce. Yes I’m on the 10 day countdown now > WAAAAAA> I got the mini iPad the other day plus USB, Car cigarette lighter socket and Cellular card. I have allocated a morning to sit and work it out. Can you recommend any useful apps mate GPS/Video editing/photo editing or anything else you used on your Japan trip that was useful. BTW I mentioned you here > http://alwaysonthewaytravel.com/2016/08/15/travel-blogger-interview-andy-smart/


      • Wow – 10 more sleeps eh 😉
        The apple iMovie app – comes with the iPad is fine for vid editing , many say it is the easiest – I am ” learning to use it ”
        RidewithGps – love this for the ability to make – plan routes and then follow progress on iPad – was the main reason I didn’t get lost in Japan
        Language translator apps are good , but you will have no problem given your immersion in China I guess.
        Booking.com – great app for finding cheap hotels or hostels. Surprised how useful it was in Japan for times I didn’t camp . Bypasses the language barrier
        A site called ” wind guru ” I use to check and generate wind forecasts – valuable knowledge – highly recommend

        Have you considered taking along a small wifi device ( pocket wifi ) ?? All about how you can buy your data in China

        The notes function on the iPad is great for jotting down impressions .
        Did we talk about the WordPress app ?? I copy and paste from my iPad notes right into my blog .

        Like the new BBC app for world news .

        Maybe we should try to connect on FaceTime or via Skype for a chat
        All best

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yo Yo Bruce mate > How do I move photos and vids off of my iPad to a USB when I’m on the road. I thought this would be just straightforward but scratching my head at the mo. I can move from camera and camcorder to the iPad but not the other way. Any apps you use for this?


      • Why would you want to do this ? You can use the WordPress App on the iPad and use the photos on the iPad – it’s simpler but not as fancy . It’s how I blog – just the iPad . I have not needed to use but am aware you can get a special device ( flash drive ) from a us company called hyperjuice – they have a shop called hypershop.com. Apple is. Special case 🙄Hyperjuice also sell a big range of great batteries for travelers – but I would look at “Mophie” for battery support.
        Another way to get the photos in another device like PC or laptop is to use a photo transfer App. You need to be in a wifi zone .
        Recommend using a wifi pocket device with sim fitted — that allows both your iPad and let’s say laptop can talk to each other .
        Also keen on using a small compact Panasonic lumix cameras as they send the photos wirelessly to the iPad
        Information overload mate 😉

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hiya Bruce > Thanks for getting back to me. I’m used to saving all of my photos music and movies to an external memory pack. I have 3x2Ts and 4 800GB memory packs and loads of memory sticks. Amazingly it seems that the iPad isnt capable of doing it. I was banging my head last night for hours trying to make sense of ICloud LOL. I’ll deffo try that photo transfer App mate. Sounds like a plan. Always happy for info overload 🙂 Cheers big stylee


  2. Get that song right out of your head! OMG, it actually gave me a stomach ache. You know what song I hear over and over in my head? Wasted Days and Wasted Nights by Freddie Fender. Wasted as in hanging out at the mall, sitting on the couch watching films, watching my money grow for the old age nursing home, etc. No way. Never, ever. I guarantee that you won’t regret this adventure. Have a blast Andy! 🙂 P.S. You won’t be lonely because you have all of us, your adoring followers.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I have done easier travelling than this, and I definitely prefer to read about your travels. I have done my time around the world. teaching abroad at 63 ? 64 ? what was I thinking ? Good luck.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Aha!

    Sounds amazing Andy! Wow

    Travelling is the greatest comfort
    And adventures r blessings!

    Who don’t want to live a real life?

    Yah! I agree like u say. There mite b many many many many many hurdles : (

    Good luck dear mate!


    Liked by 2 people

    • Hiya Jyotee > Well so far its a plan and I have 9 days left until I am supposed to go. I havent slept properly for a long time. I think I am crazy! I will do one more post before I go and I hope to do some posts along the way. Thanks Jyotee. You’re the greatest 🙂


  5. that is so true…i envy you….wishing my kids were older and i can roam again….did a lot of that when they were younger but they at a stage when i think my presence might be needed so i am grounded for awhile…so some armchair travelling for now

    Liked by 1 person

      • my condolences on your recent loss, Andy….loss is never easy to accept and only time will heal really….makes us realise how thin that ice can be and we must take and savour each step….totally agree about living life as the day gifts it to us…. i have much to rejoice and be glad about and life is good this side of the equator and i hope it will always be for you too as you travel that part of a world that seems so unfriendly and harsh….you will spread a little warmth along the way….

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I hope you told the negative committee to sit down and shut up and let the Chair of the Board get off to a great adventure!!! Hope all is going fantastically well 🙌😘 There’s a cocktail waiting for you on your return! Xx

    Liked by 1 person

      • Hiya Clare > I did pick up a couple of passengers and we did three or four hours together; Val and Sophie from Belgium. Really nice having company and I had fun reorganization the jeep and strapping their bags up on the roof rack. Loving the jeep. Looking out for my next passengers

        Liked by 1 person

      • Two words for you – Charge rent! PS Glad you’re having fun. I was talking to Shengdong and Milanda this morning and they were describing the typhoon that hit Xiamen this week. Shengdong said it was the worst one since 1949. Stay safe, my friend.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Andy, I’ve been going back over your trip posts and finally came to the beginning. It had me chuckling.I’ll bet you’re glad now that you made the journey and you’ll always have those memories. It’s a part of you now, my friend. Start saving up for your next adventure and in the meantime – get that book written. Clare

    Liked by 1 person

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