Travel Mishaps Galore!

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Experience InBetween

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“A new experience can be extremely pleasurable, or extremely irritating, or somewhere in between, and you never know until you try it out.”~ Lemony Snicket

I love this quote! Lemony Snicket, both a fictional character and a pen name for his creator, nailed it. Traveling is all about new experiences, and we expect that we are going to always enjoy those experiences. Usually, most often, we do enjoy them….But! There’s always a few of those travel mishaps that I like to call “once in a lifetime experiences.” Yes, I’m glad I did it, but I’m also glad it’s over, and I never plan to do that particular activity again.

Sometimes you learn, or are reminded of, a lesson. For example, just this summer we visited friends near Phoenix, Arizona and they wanted to take us for a steamboat ride on Lake Marina. Unfortunately we did not order tickets beforehand, and after standing in the extreme dry heat for over 15 minutes realized it was all in vain and we would have to find some other type of entertainment. Take it from me, folks. In this age of technology, check the website before you go anywhere, and if there is a way to buy tickets online, just do it. This does take away from your travel spontaneity, but at least you don’t stand in a line for no reason. I really hate that. And, when we have done it, like when we wanted to visit the Churchill War Rooms Museum in London, again in summer, we were able to bypass about 100 red-faced sweaty tourists who were cursing us under their breath as we sauntered up to the front of the line. So it has worked for me both ways, and I much prefer the way where I wasn’t sweating.

Sometimes you’ve already had an experience, but you enjoyed it so much that you want to share it with someone like your family or your close friends. When I was a young girl living in Turkey, I of course visited Cappadocia and one of my favorite places I visited was the underground city of Derinkuyu. I loved winding through the serpentine tunnels, squeezing in and out of small rooms where people hid during the Crusades, but as you may recall, nowadays one of my greatest fears is claustrophobia. I was taking a group of friends down into the maze of tunnels and made it about 10 minutes and a couple of levels down before I just had to escape and breathe some fresh air. Thankfully I didn’t ruin it for anyone else. They did remain underground and really enjoyed their time.

Sometimes you are just miserable. There is no way around it. You thought it sounded like a good idea, and boy…were you wrong! Yes, this has happened to me. Once we had rented a van and were doing our normal road trip through unfamiliar territory in Taiwan. We were headed to the stunning Taroko Gorge and were trying to stay off of too many highways because it looked on a map like it was only a couple of hours away and we wanted to enjoy the scenery. Well, as you might have guessed, the ride was much, much longer than a couple of hours. At one point there had been a landslide and workers were removing this humongous boulder (larger than their equipment) from the middle of the road. Even though we’d left early in the day, before we knew it darkness and fog began closing in on us. We found ourselves gripping our seats as we careened down the unknown mountainside taking hairpin turn after hairpin turn. It was a terrifying ride! (We took the highway back to Taiwan.)

Some more of my more memorable ones include:
That time that I drank fermented horse milk from a communal bowl in Mongolia
That time when a friend and I spent the night in a Korean temple
That time when our Thai driver pulled a knife out of his glove compartment
That time when I was crying in Cheop’s pyramid

This list may seem kind of long, but the list of what I’ve enjoyed, even loved about new experiences is 10 times longer.  The thing is you never know if you are going to like it until you try it. Putting yourself out there is exciting and fun. I plan to never stop doing it.

What are some of your travel mishaps you’d like to share with us? (You can tell us in the comments or even write a guest post.)


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  1. Ha ha, I think I have too many to list! We once showed up to the airport to fly to Thailand and we weren’t even booked on the flight. Another time my daughter and I were in Bali and the taxi driver took us down a dark laneway where we both absolutely panicked. Thankfully he just took a wrong turn! We can look back on these mishaps and laugh now but they’re very funny at the time!

  2. Wow! You have had some experiences ;0) ;0( Well, I think we all had. In my travels, I have been thrown by horse, hit in the face by an Italian lady and thrown brick by a group of crazy kids. Recently, I fell from a bike in Budapest. That counts as a new travel scar on my knees. But, man, how I love to travel. At least, we have some stories to tell.

  3. One of our biggest mishaps, was a 3 hour boat ride from Siem Reap to Battambang that became 12 hours of hell. Diesel rolled down the centre of the boat as more and more people hopped on the roof. The boat got bogged at every turn of the river. When we finally did make it to Battambang, and for many beers, a car careened around the corner and hit the car next to Gordon and showered him with glass and car parts. This was the gangsters of Battambang. At the end of the day though this mishap is a pretty good story.

  4. I agree that sometimes things look good on paper but they just don’t work out. Car travel is one of those things (your Taiwanese experience). Try to line up a daily itinerary and then watch the schedule slip. Have you ever ended up at a venue after closing (and it was the one thing you really wanted to do). Or, how about when you cross a border and find out you lost an hour on the clock (but your booking is in the new time zone and your too far away to make it).

  5. On our staycation that we posted about this week, i thought to check the website fro Gillette Castle, but only when we were on our way (well, almost there) and discovered it was only open about 4 days a week — not on the day we went. We discovered a nice state park and waterfall nearby, so we managed to save the day. But it doesn’t always work out that well!

  6. One of our big travel mishaps was our trip to Tibet. Part of me feels so lucky that I had a chance to visit. Then, there’s the part of me that remembers how much trouble almost my entire family had with altitude sickness. My youngest was in bad enough shape that if our trip had been any longer, I would have cut it short. I kept listening to her chest to make sure that I didn’t hear the start of pulmonary edema.

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