10 November 2011

I tweeted a link to this blog post from Velvet Escape. In it, blogger Keith Jenkins asked his Facebook fans for a 50-word piece on their most magical travel experience, and they shared stories of amazing landscapes, connections with people, etc.

When I tweeted the link, I added 'Mine was finding 2 rolls of toilet paper'. Compared to the other stories, it sounds kind of flippant - but actually, I was being serious.

I'd been backpacking in Asia for a couple of months, staying in guesthouses and hostels. Some were nice, some were horrible, and one had a toilet which broke 4 times in 3 days. But they were all budget options.

I didn't mind the cheap hostels - I think you get more of a feel for a place if you stay somewhere cheap. Posh places can be rather insulating - from other travellers as well as locals. In the little guest houses and hostels you tend to get to know the people who work there better too and build a connection - whereas in a big hotel, it can be a different face at the reception desk every day.

However, when I got to Kuala Lumpur I decided to stay in a 5-star hotel - I just fancied staying somewhere plush for a change. I was actually craving solitude by this time, and I would never normally be able to afford a hotel this posh, so I thought I might as well do it while I could.

The other reason I wanted to pamper myself is because I'd had an accident the day before and hurt my leg quite badly, so I was feeling a bit sorry for myself. Sometimes when you're hurt you just need a bit of comfort and privacy. The accident wasn't bad - I'd fallen over on a trek in the mountains - but my leg was painful and would take a while to heal.

It was in this plush hotel that I found the 2 rolls of toilet paper. I checked in, gone up to my room, entered the bathroom and there they were! I'd been used to carrying my own toilet paper, or paying extra for it (yes really) so this small thing symbolised the bit of luxury I'd been after.

Why am I telling you this?

Not because I'm obsessed with toilets (even though I am), but to show you that you don't have to follow the crowd when it comes to travel, career breaks, magical moments or anything else. If it makes you do a little jump for joy - whether it's a spiritual experience, an amazing person, a breathtaking landscape or simply toilet paper - that's your magical moment and it's exclusive to you.


This post was written by Rachel Morgan-Trimmer, founder of The Career Break Site. There are no pictures because you already know what toilet paper looks like. I hope.