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Day 28: I Appreciate My Space & Privacy

Day 28: Get Outta My Face

So, 28 days of trying to take a photo of yourself starts to add up, and I found myself not wanting to be in the photo today whatsoever. I guess there are just times that you would prefer that no one see you or have that feeling like your space is being invaded.

I cherish my space, and my privacy for that matter (especially on days that I’m not looking my best). This is something my American self can totally take for granted until being submerged in another culture, one that approaches life in a much closer and upfront manner.

Sleeping arrangements too close for comfort.

When I lived with my host family in Kyrgyzstan, I felt a little awkward and out of my element. There were two bedrooms, two adults, two children and myself, and I was given one whole bedroom. Everyone else shared the other room, sleeping and living in a style that is unimaginable to me. Sure, they were probably getting a reasonable extra income by housing me at the time, but still… I value my space and privacy so much more than that.

My friend was also living with a host family where she was given a bedroom while various other family members were dispersed across the public rooms of the house, even the kitchen where a bench table was converted into a bed if I’m remembering correctly. Does that seem strange to you? The idea of going long periods of time without having my own space in my own home just seems nuts. The association of home and being able to “get away” from it all are synonymous in my mind, or am I just spoiled?

How many people on a 3-seat couch?

I like the idea of explaining space differences in the couch example. If you were in Europe and there was a 3-seat couch available, chances are that 3 (or more) people will gladly sit there in close proximity to one another. In America? Well, you’d probably get one at each end of the couch; a third person would choose to sit wherever else possible before finally giving up and sitting “bitch”.

close on the couch

I had obviously been Ukrainianized at this point. P.S. How hilarious is this photo?

Save me from Asia.

Obviously, I haven’t been to Asia yet — I’ll be in Malaysia in May — so I can only worry about the possibility of encountering the dreaded shared squat toilets. Uhm… kill me? Is there anything worse than having to do your business in public? And, squat toilets, too. I’ll be too worried about people seeing my hoo-ha to make sure I’m not peeing on myself (like, really?). Yeah, I love the privacy of a bathroom with a door and a lock (a lock that works). That’s a great invention, Western World, and I thank you kindly.

Oh, and how can I forget dorms?

Travel isn’t travel to me if it doesn’t involve a hostel dorm room of some type. Bargain holidays make them a must in my book, yet they’re completely nerve-wracking at times, especially when you’re trying to sleep and drunk people flip the lights on, or when it’s 6am and someone else starts to rustle through a million plastic bags (they’ll be banned from whatever hostel I hypothetically run). They also just suck in terms of good old fashioned privacy.

I don’t need much in life, but I do know that I NEED a good portion of personal time and space; it’s just the way I am. Without it, there is no unwinding, or the figurative “letting my hair down” feeling that I so desire in order to be happy. At this point in my life, I’m okay with splurging occasionally to have that when I travel, even if it involves an entire Kyrgyz family squeezing on a single bed. Just saying.


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7 Responses to Day 28: I Appreciate My Space & Privacy

  1. Adam @ SitDownDisco January 29, 2011 at 4:36 am #

    I really don’t like dorms too much. Whenever I can afford it, I pay for a private room. I think people in general are just too inconsiderate to care about the people they’re rooming with. Even when people are considerate, they do a bad job of keeping quiet etc. For me, I love a private room and thankfully in many parts of Asia they are cheap enough.

  2. Alouise January 29, 2011 at 2:57 pm #

    I need my personal space as well. I’ve shared dorms on a tour group, but nothing for more than a few days. I know dorms are more cost effective, and I’d get them if I was travelling for a long time. But I think you still need to splurge for a private room and some space, save your sanity.

  3. Sofia January 29, 2011 at 8:35 pm #

    I like having my own privacy too, and I prefer private rooms than dorms if I can choose.

    I think staying in private rooms at guest houses and hostels is perfect, you get the best of both worlds, a common room with other travelers and your own privacy 😉

  4. Amanda January 31, 2011 at 4:41 pm #

    I am totally with you on this topic. The whole squeezing onto a couch thing doesn’t bother me too much, but the sleeping space? Yeah, I’m not a huge fan of hostel dorms, either. I’m a light sleeper, which I know has something to do with it. But I also just really like to have my own space.

  5. Annie February 1, 2011 at 9:24 pm #

    I never thought of myself as much of a “personal space/time” person but some of the things you mentioned here wouldn’t work for me. Particularly living in such small quarters with a family. No thanks.

    I’ve definitely noticed it more in Italy too. I HATE when people walk super close to me. I always find myself moving out of the way of people who actually have no intention of passing me on the sidewalk… they prefer to breath down my neck.

    However, as far as hostel dorms, they don’t bother me at all (not yet anyway).

    • Brooke February 3, 2011 at 8:07 pm #

      I feel your pain on the people breathing down your neck thing! I don’t really dislike dorm rooms, just after a while it is really nice to get a private room 🙂


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