I am as guilty of wanderlust as anyone. I can scroll through travel photos on Pinterest for hours making plans for future trips, envying the exciting adventures of other travels. But the truth is, travel isn’t always wonderful and amazing. Like anything else, it has its ups and downs.
I recently read this inspiring post from Creatrice Mondial about travel envy and I definitely recommend checking it out. As someone who’s always eager for the next adventure, I often forget to appreciate and explore what’s already around me. I also tend to forget about some of my traveling mishaps, and so, I decided to share some of my misadventures.
Please keep in mind that I know other travelers have had far more difficult travel experiences than I have and I am in no way making light of their stories. I have been extremely blessed to have mostly amazing travel experiences.
1. That time I forgot my passport and had to pay a fee to reschedule my flight for the next day. When I first began traveling alone as an adult, I had to learn some things the hard way (including making sure that your passport is on your packing list). I can be rather forgetful and on this one occasion, I managed to leave my passport behind on a trip to Canada from the US. I ended up having to reschedule my flight because I couldn’t get back to the airport the same day. My friends had dropped me off and I had to call them to come back and get me. It was a pretty humbling experience.
2. That time I got food poisoning. As a teenager, I visited Mexico with my parents via Club Med. We were staying at one of the resorts and even though we only ate at the hotel restaurants, I ended up with the worst food poisoning of my life. It was from eating a tomato/mozzarella salad. I still find it difficult to eat either of those things – for several years I couldn’t eat them at all.
3. That time we only had 3 hours in our destination city. My roommates and I made a day trip to Scotland from Ireland and we decided to take the ferry. On that particular day, however, we were hit with pretty terrible weather and it caused delays for both our boat and our buses. By the time we got to Glasgow, we only had three hours to enjoy our trip before we had to make our way back to the boat.
4. That time we were stuck in a 500 person village with no transport out. While living in Ireland, a friend and I decided to take a trip out to the Marble Arch Caves. Once again, due to the weather, they were closed and so we ended up stuck in Belcoo (the buses only passed through the town 2 or 3 times a day). The street we were on only had two shops open – the market and the hotel bar. We ended up spending the day wandering around the village and consuming coffee and shortbread cookies at the bar.
5. That time I had to trudge through a foot of snow with my body weight in luggage to the train station. I was scheduled to fly to California from Ireland for Christmas and the night before my flight there was a snowstorm. I had to walk through it to the train station (I didn’t have a phone and couldn’t call a cab) while dragging my enormous suitcase/sax/flute/backpack full of textbooks with me. When I arrived at the airport, we were told our flight was delayed. A few hours later it was cancelled. Then it was rerouted through Dublin so I spent nearly an hour in the snow waiting for the bus and then several hours on it driving down to Dublin. I finally got on a plane that was almost 8 hours after I was originally scheduled to fly back and I missed my connection due to the delays. The airline would not pay for a hotel so I had to camp out in a McDonalds with a coffee and my term paper until the terminals opened the next morning and I could check-in for my connection flight.
6. That time someone tried to rob my mother and I on the train. They placed a map on our table to try to distract us with questions about directions while they tried to steal my mom’s purse underneath it. I had heard similar stories in the past and so I told my mother to grab her purse and wrap her arms around it in her lap. They ended up leaving almost immediately after.
7. That time someone sat down at our table and began to help herself to our food. When I was younger, I was out at a restaurant with my parents. While we were eating, a stranger joined us at our table and began to eat some of our food, picking things off of our plates. While she did this, she went on and on about how great the food was at that restaurant and how gracious the staff. We thought we were being pranked, but it turns out we weren’t. She continued to hop from table to table doing this until the staff caught up with her and kicked her out of the restaurant.
8. Mosquitoes. We got our fair share of them in both Venice and Malaysia and even with vaccines, our skin reacted to them far worse than any mosquitoes in France or the US.
9. Chillblains. I am not a huge fan of wearing gloves and I paid for it while living in Ireland. If it’s cold – protect your hands!
Regardless of however difficult some of my travel experiences may have been, I would do it all over again if I had the chance. Not only were they great learning experiences, but they also make great stories and great memories with friends. The friend who ended up stuck in the small with me and I often joke about our failed trip and it’s a great memory we share.
These are just a few of my misadventures – I’d love to hear about some of yours in the comments! Maybe I’ll share a few more.
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My name is Shannon Kennedy and I'm the language lover, traveler, and foodie behind Eurolinguiste. I'm also the Resident Polyglot at Drops and the Head Coach of the Fluent in 3 Months Challenge.