A week at Wimbledon gave Erin Routliffe a reminder of how the other half live as professional tennis players.
The glamour and prestige of Wimbledon is a far cry from the tournaments Routliffe usually plays, she's been to Solapur in India, Hua Hin in South Korea, Irapuato in Mexico and Sharm El Sheikh in Egypt over the past nine months as she goes through that long journey of climbing up the world rankings.
Routliffe is ranked 647th the world in singles and 116 in doubles and that doubles ranking meant she and her partner Alexa Guarachi from Chile were borderline to make it into qualifying for Wimbledon.
Erin Routliffe believes she learnt a lot from her time at this year's Wimbledon.
It paid off and they won two games in qualifying to make it to the main draw and on Thursday took on the third seeds and recent French Open champions Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova.
They lost 6-2 2-6 6-2 but Routliffe will pick up $11,240 in prize money, that's close to what she has earned in her last seven tournaments combined.
That will be used to fund her for the next few months as she heads back to the lowly ITF circuit, where she'll do battle with other players desperate to make it into the top 100.
"I'm going back to Toronto and there's a couple of tournaments close to my house, a five to six hour drive and I'll be back in the grind,"Routliffe said.
"I'll be in qualifying in singles, so right back at it.
"I think coming here will make me play better, obviously in doubles and then in singles too, because you watch and try to do the same things.
"It's good to see how the people act at the level you want to be at," she added.
"Even in the gym and the locker room, how focused they are and how disciplined they are and that's good to see, even when you're not at that level, but that's where you're aiming to be.
"It's been really eye opening, because I've never really paid attention that much and I've more of an appreciation for top 100 players now."
The riches at the top in tennis are immense and it's a wonderful life playing at grand slams and top WTA tournaments, but underneath it's a brutal battle among players who want to get there.
The knocks can come thick and fast and when you're not making much money focus on the end goal can get lost.
"It is tough and you have weeks where you aren't really sure what you're doing and when you're alone it makes it worse," Routliffe said.
"But I've tried to make some friends on the tour, so even when I'm not with a coach or someone I know, I can be with them."
Playing at Wimbledon is without doubt a high for the New Zealand born, Canadian raised Routliffe.
Fellow Kiwis doubles player Marcus Daniell noted how he saw Routliffe's player light up the first time she walked into the Wimbledon players' lounge.
"With tennis, you get some great moments, which I'm living through now," she said.
"But there are some really bad ones, where you're questioning everything.
"But I try to maintain a balance and I love meeting new people and seeing new places. So "I'm enjoying all of the experiences because that's when I'm most successful.
"I play tennis better when I'm happy!"
When Tennis NZ funded Neil Carter to travel with Routliffe and the rest of the New Zealand team to Egypt before this year's Fed Cup, she won the singles and doubles at the tournament.
That success highlights the value of having a coach on the road, however, for most of the time, Routliffe is travelling on her own, searching for ranking points that will enable her to get into better tournaments, with more prize money.
Improving is done more easily with a travelling coach, but to afford one a player needs to be winning plenty of prize money and that's hard to do without a coach, so it's a vicious circle.
"It's definitely not easy at all," Routliffe said.
"It's nice to have someone with you, mentally, emotionally and obviously for your tennis game.
"You think you're doing one thing and then when a coach looks at you they think something different.
"So you're having to kind of coach yourself and it's a huge grind.
"I think of it in a way that it's something most players have to do, unless they have people funding them.
"Hopefully I become successful enough so I can get a coach to come with me.
"I try not to think about it too much, it gets a little lonely but right now I'm powering through."
With Routliffe doing so well in doubles, there is the temptation to give up on singles.
It's a decision Daniell, Artem Sitak and Michael Venus all came to. Better to have a comfortable life playing a big tournaments on the doubles circuit, than keep slogging away at small events, chasing the dream to make it in singles.
"It's tempting but I'm not going to do it just yet and hopefully not for a few years," she said.
"Hopefully I can get my singles going and I know that I can compete with top players in singles too and I just need to figure it out.
"If in a couple of years I decide I'll just play doubles, then that's what I'll do.
"For now, I'll stick with singles, but it has been fun doing the whole Wimbledon thing."