TOP 10 WORST TRAVEL NIGHTMARES
Ever feel like you are the most unlucky person in the world?
Have you ever had that sick feeling in the pitt of your stomach when you have lost your wallet or phone? And feel totally stupid because it was your fault?
Have you ever had that panic when you travel and feel totally helpless? It has happened to all of us. In fact, if I think of the top 10 worst things that can happen while travelling – I can almost guarantee it’s happened to me.
1. Arriving with no money – tick!
Who forgets their wallet on a year long trip? I swear I remembered everything else. Two minutes before leaving for the airport, my sister convinces me to take a photocopy of all my bank cards and drivers license just incase I lost them. Good idea I thought. She quickly took them for me and placed them all in the scanner for 30 seconds. That was the last time I thought about them until boarding my flight. There were tears and phone calls and panic. Lucky I had a friend in London who could help me out! Argh!
2. Missing a flight – tick!
My boyfriend and I are regular travellers. We fly at least every 2 months for work or leisure. So you would think we would be more capable. We literally just read the flight time incorrectly and arrived for our flight long after it had departed. Embarrassing!
3. Being arrested – tick!
Madagascar is a funny place. It’s one of those places where the police are the last people you trust. I was arrested for not carrying my visa with me through town. Which is certainly not required but I stood out as a tourist and therefore had dollar signs on my head. The policeman wanted to bribe me however i quickly jumped out the other side of the car and ran through the town to escape! Lucky I was faster than him!
4. Offending the local people – tick!
Hint to self: either learn the language correctly, or simply speak in English. My poor Spanish skills led me to continually ask for small boys to be delivered to my table rather than coffee. A red faced waitress had to correct me after 3 days. Eeek!
5. Getting diarrhoea – tick!
This is something we have all had a some stage. The difference if whether we had it in the comfort of our own home, or camping on the Inka Trail in Peru without showers or toilets. Definitely one to remember.
6. Getting food poisoning – tick!
I was lucky enough to get food poisoning many times on the trip – probably because i gave little thought about what it was I was eating and just wanted to try all the local produce. One time in particular I had a severe case and couldn’t leave my bed for 48 hours – not even for food or water which I really needed. And I was all by myself. I got so desperate, I had to crawl out of my bungalow in the hills of Pai in Thailand and down to the shops practically on my hands and knees to get someones attention. I got more than I asked for unfortunately.
7. Ending up in hospital – tick!
Excitement sometimes takes the better of me, and I can make some pretty stupid decisions. One of these included getting on the back of a quad bike with 3 of my girlfriends and riding home on one the most dangerous windy streets in Ios, Greece. In summary, there was a broken tailbone, broken ankle, scarred face and an emergency hospital visit. Lesson learnt.
8. Getting lost – tick!
Getting lost is something that is encouraged when you travel. I get motivated by quotes such as “get lost and you will find” kind of stuff. This is certainly only desirable in situations such as walking around a city. It does not include getting lost in the Albanian Mountains without a path, map, food or a watch. After 9 hours of hiking, my friend and I had to walk into a nearby house and beg a non-English speaking stranger to drive us home. Classic.
9. Sharing a tiny bed with a stranger – tick!
Usually when a hostel booking stuffs up, I just find somewhere else. However when you have booked a tiny 7 day boat trip – there isn’t too many other options. I had no choice but to share a bed with a South African woman who barely spoke 2 words to me. Did I mention it was only a double bed? Awkward.
10. Getting stuck at a border – tick!
This happened to me more than once for various reasons – whether it was simply bribery or other time I had forgotten my visa. However on the border of Thailand and Cambodia, my dodgy bus driver left me stranded because he got a better paid offer! I was stuck in Thailand with no transport, no option to get back into Cambodia and no refund. I ended up harassing his friend for 3 hours by following him around begging to drive me to Bangkok city. He ended up doing it because he wanted me to leave him alone. It worked!
What’s the worst thing that has happened to you while travelling? Share it below!!!
5 THINGS I LEARNT TRAVELING ALONE
1. You are never alone
If I ever wanted some peace and quiet, it was surprisingly difficult to find. Solo travelling tends to attract others – whether solo themselves or in a group. I still don’t know whether it’s because people feel sorry for me, or whether they just want to hear a new story – but regardless – it was thrilling meeting new people and creating new memories. There are unaccompanied travelers wherever you go – something I didn’t realise until I went solo myself. I found that we immediately formed a bond. They were, like myself – confident, unafraid, eager to explore and willing to try new things. And if they weren’t like that already, they were using travel to push themselves. However, if you ever want some time to yourself – good luck! Get out of the hostel, book a hotel and maybe then you can relax in peace.
2. You can make a best friend for life within hours and then never see them again
Backpackers seem to form an instant bond when meeting for the first time. I don’t know whether it’s the travel high, or whether it is because people are eager to meet new friends. But most backpackers have a positive mentality and believe that traveling is good for the soul. It makes it a lot easier to connect with people. I met so many interesting people during my travels – but reality is, I won’t ever see most of them again. Other backpackers might relate to having to conduct a ‘facebook cleanup’ and sadly delete many of the people you’ve met along the way that realistically you won’t see again. Sad but true.
3. Be ready to drink – always
I have noticed that hostels are rated on their ‘backpacker vibe’. I never really understood what this meant, assuming it was referring to atmosphere. I have since learnt that it means “party rating” – how drunk are majority of the guests most nights of the week? Sure – I want to meet people, and I often do, however I can’t drink every night. In many places though – I did. It was the social thing to do, whether I felt like it or not. People would question if you were holding water and not a beer. I even found myself lying to avoid the confrontation – “ah not feeling well today”, or “I’ll have one later”. I guess it would be weird asking my new found friends out to have a pot of tea, but it fascinated me that alcohol seemed to be the glue in some of the relationships I built.
4. Stereotypes are not always true
I will be honest and admit that during my trip, I have met the stereotypical American traveler who asks the stupid question, or the loud drunk group of Australians who can be heard from the next street – however I have also been lucky enough to realise that backpackers in particular all share a common goal – to learn something new. And in doing so, become more accepting and individual. Stereotypes exist, but are not always true so don’t judge a book by it’s cover (it’s funner that way!).
5. People can surprise you
I can be naive when it comes to trusting others. I trust too easily. But when backpacking in hostels, you often don’t have a choice. Many places I stayed in didn’t offer lockers. Where are people to keep their valuables? After travelling for the past 10 months, and sharing a room with 14 other strangers most of the time – I never had a single thing stolen. More than that, I had strangers offering me medication when I was sick, a spare towel when I lost mine, jackets when I was cold and money when I left mine in another bag. It touched me so much that it encouraged me to do more spontaneously generous things for strangers. People can surprise you!