Random Musings

Craziest Travel Stories Around The World

March 1, 2014
Craziest Travel Stories Around the World

As a traveler, you will definitely encounter some of the craziest things as you explore the world. You may think that these are probably world’s way of giving you a bad karma while you’re actually in that moment but most of these crazy things are the ones which you will remember the most out of that journey. Think of it as your bragging rights as been-there-done-that kind of thing.

A couple of days ago, I was talking to a friend of mine who has traveled the world intensively. She was telling me about some of the funny stories that she has encountered while traveling, the best will probably be about the time that she was with a Contiki group through Scotland and she desperately needed to use the toilet to do a number 2. The bus driver had to stop in the middle of nowhere with a lone house in it and plead to its owner to let her use their bathroom. It was disgustingly funny. She was also telling me about the stories of some of the other travelers that she know, most of the stories are too crazy to believe but she stood her ground and told me that it really happened. That gave me this idea, compiling the real life crazy stories of all the travelers that I can find. Thankfully, a lot of travelers responded to my invitation and gave me their worst/funniest travel stories so far. The below is the result, I hope you’d enjoy it as much as I did. 🙂

Locked out.
by Pinay Flying High

A few years ago, I went on a one-night stay in Abu Dhabi as I needed to apply for a visa the next day. I thought that it’s better than waking up very early in the morning and traveling for 2 hours so I booked the cheapest hotel that I can find which is also near to the Embassy that I’ll be applying a visa for. Since I’m not really familiar with Abu Dhabi and I don’t really know anyone there, I stayed inside my room for the whole night – took a long bubble bath and ordered room service for dinner. I immediately gobbled up the lobster that I ordered as soon as it arrived. Once done, I wanted to put the tray outside my room just to clear out the seafood smell. So I went out, put the tray down when I suddenly I heard a faint “click”, I knew instantly that I was in HUGE trouble. I got locked out of my room! To make it worst, guess what I was wearing? An oversized shirt with just my panties underneath, I wasn’t even wearing a bra. And yes, I was also barefoot. At that point, I have two options: go down to the lobby, half-naked and ask for a key OR knock on the door of each of the rooms in my floor and request for them to call the lobby for my new key. There really is no best option so I took a deep breathe and was just about to knock on the door beside my room when suddenly the elevator door opened. Out comes a British man, reeking of alcohol. He looked at me weirdly and then asked me if I needed help, I said yes and explained what happened. He started laughing and he let me in his room to use his phone. Thankfully, the guy was decent and didn’t take advantage of the stupid situation that I was in. The concierge brought the key and he too looked at me weirdly when he saw me. That’s probably the most embarrassing situation that I’ve gotten myself into, not to mention that most stupid too. 🙂

The missing diapers.
by Charles and Micki of The Barefoot Nomad

We’ve had hundreds of adventures over the years. Some funny, some scary, however the one that best combines the two happened after we had our son. After traveling for years on our own, Micki and I decided to take our young son Cole to Cuba on a quick holiday getaway. He was around a year and a half and it was our first real holiday since he was born. As fairly new parents we probably over packed on that trip however for whatever reason we seemed to have under packed diapers.

Perhaps it was his steady diet of cheese, olives, coconut and bread (the only edible things he enjoyed eating on that trip) however we went through more diapers than we anticipated. In the final few days we did our best to make them last since finding diapers in Cuba wasn’t the easiest back then. We had calculated so exactly that as we entered the airport to head home we even had a couple spares in our checked bag. Unfortunately, since we were so over-packed, we only kept a few in our carry-on.

Well it turns out that as we lined up to board the airplane someone noticed a severely broken window. The officials decided that the plane wasn’t going anywhere that day. Instead, they opted to send another plane to pick us up. Unfortunately, that plane was coming from Toronto, Canada and would take about 6 hours to get to us.

As we all filed back into the airport, no one knew what was going on. Not only that, we weren’t allowed to leave the little terminal or retrieve our checked luggage. To make a long story short, we ended up staying in that hot, cigar smoke filled terminal for almost 9 hours before boarding our 6 hour flight back home. All that on 3 diapers!

By the time we reconnected with our luggage back in Canada poor Cole was wearing a plastic bag and my shirt for a diaper. To say it was a interesting flight home would be an understatement. Looking back, I’m not sure who was more traumatized; us, Cole or the passengers sitting next to us. Definitely one of the worst yet funniest moments of our traveling lives.

The Mummies
by Sally of My Custard Pie

When visiting Egypt, my friends and children went into a little know tomb near one of the outlying pyramids near Cairo. While I was waiting for them, another tourist, dressed head to toe in white, asked if you could go into the tomb. At that moment my friends and children emerged covered in dirt, cobwebs and general grime looking completely disheveled. You should have seen her face. No surprise when she didn’t go in!

The power of pen and paper is actually more powerful than you think.
by Sharon of Where’s Sharon?

One of my funniest travel moments happened when my husband and I were in Hong Kong. The elevator in our hotel was taking a very long time, so we decided to walk down the stairs instead. HUGE mistake. We arrived at the bottom of the stairs where we exited through a door. We found ourselves in a tiny room with a glass door out to the street.

The problem? The door to the street was locked and the door we had just passed through had locked behind us. We were stuck!

The only thing we could do was to bang on the door and hope to get the attention of one of the millions of people walking past the door. Hopefully, they would understand that we needed them to go to the hotel reception to ask them to open the door!

We banged on the door for a few minutes. People would glance our way, give us a strange look but keep walking. This wasn’t working.

We looked in our bag, and thankfully had a pen and paper so we ended up writing a sign (in english of course as it’s all we know) asking for help! A lot of banging and silent screaming later and someone thankfully stopped, read it, laughed and got us help.

Moral to the story? Don’t use stairs unless you are sure about where they finish!!

The Oktoberfest (of the young and stupid).
Abby of Abby’s Roads

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While a group of (young and stupid) university friends and I (myself, also young and stupid) were studying abroad in Italy, we decided to travel to Munich for the infamous Oktoberfest for a long weekend. We booked the only available return flight (on our student budget), which unfortunately was at 5AM – again, we were young and stupid and decided we would just stay up all night and get the train out to the airport after a day at the festival. At the end of the weekend, we emerged beer festival champions, exhausted…and yes, still young and stupid. With backpacks and passports in hand after a day of beer drinking, we boarded the train to the airport (or so we thought) – sadly for us, however, we didnt realize we took the train in the exact opposite direction of the airport. All the way to the end of the line. In the wrong direction. With no return back until the train started back up several hours later…after our flight back to Italy would have taken off. We panicked at the end of the line, and thankfully (?) a German who spoke excellent English stopped and asked us if we would like a ride to the airport. Again, young and stupid, we three girls agreed. We had no idea if we were actually heading to the airport or if this was going to end up like the movie “Taken”. Fortunately for this travel experience, our German savior, Powell (I’ll never forget his name), was a good samaritan and deposited us at the Munich airport with time to spare. Needless to say, the lesson of this travel experience is to always read the metro/train signage, get a good night’s sleep before an international flight, and that there are good people in this world (not that I recommend taking rides from complete strangers in a foreign country!)…people like good old Powell.

When Lightning Strikes
by Amanda of Adventures All Around

I’ve never been a particularly nervous flyer, and am one of those people who almost enjoys turbulence in a roller coaster kind of way. Which is a good thing, because otherwise I’m not sure how I would have coped on one particularly memorable flight.

I was by myself, quite new to travelling and flying between Paris and Florence when the flight attendant came over the PA and announced something in French. At that point, all of the French speaking passengers looked alarmed. She then announced something in Italian and as some of the Italian speakers gasped the little old nonna beside me started praying with her rosary.

Unfortunately for me, the flight attendant had decided to stick with the two languages that were spoken in the countries the plane was travelling between and didn’t expand on the problem in English. I’d already established that the nonna and i couldn’t communicate beyond smiles and nods and so there was no point trying to ask her, and besides, I wasn’t sure I really wanted to know what was happening.

Turns out it didn’t take long to figure out what was wrong. We were soon in the middle of a storm and being thrown around in a way I’d never experienced in a plane before, and fortunately haven’t since.

It was when I saw a flash of light and heard a bang, that I realised we’d been hit by lightning.

Maybe it was the jolt of electricity in the air, maybe it the adrenalin, whatever it was, I remember a feeling of total elation. We’d been hit, but we still were bouncing around up there in the sky and i didn’t feel in any real danger. And as I looked at some of my fellow white knuckled passengers I just beamed from ear to ear knowing that if you’re ever going to be hit by lightning, up there’s the best way to do it.

Robbed in Uganda
by Ross of Travelling for Fun

Have you ever wondered: why me? As we walked through Kampala with two light bin bags containing all we owned, we were attracting lots strange looks from the locals. Not often are two dusty mazunga’s going around town with black bin bags slung over their shoulders!

The beers were going down nicely when the hostel owner found me by name at the bar. As she escorted me outside to my hut I finally noticed the rain and thought maybe there was a leak in the roof. With a combination of our terrible flash lamps and the rain it was hard to make out what had happened. My plastic bag of socks was on the bed where I left it but the muddy footprints on the floor were new and…. then I realised that both our rucksacks were gone. It took about 2seconds to process this, our clothes, crap. Our cameras. Really crap. Our passports. Sh!t. For the pantomime dramatic effect, a huge bolt of lightning lit up the room so I could see the nothing that was left. The robbers cut a hole in the wire mesh fence and then slashed the door and came in to our hut.
All we had were the clothes we were wearing, lots of socks from my plastic bag which even in its clean state didn’t tempt them and the wet clothes that we wore rafting. All phones, medicines, jumpers, credit cards and passports were gone. Of most concern was our gorilla trip we had already paid for in Rwanda in 4 days time.
You don’t know how you will react to situations like this until you are in them but I must say I was kind of impressed. I thought I would get angry but in fact most of the time we made some dark humour of it. We just thought how ridiculous we looked and what the robbers looked like in our clothes. Would they know the value or even the use of the contact lenses? We had to bus it with our plastic bags and then walk for 30min like bin men in Kampala to the Irish Embassy. We would have our new passports by lunchtime. Brilliant! Money was also a major issue. After many emails, phone calls without getting any mothers too alarmed we bought ourselves some bags and trousers when the money came through. We arrived back to the embassy to discover that the passport machine was broke and now our passports would have to be printed in Tanzania and we wouldn’t have these for 5days. We could not leave the country. Ahh!  

A brainstorming session began and suddenly we had a crazily complicated plan for a new passport to be ready and waiting for us in Kigali, a wad of cash from Western Union, some new clothes and a bag to put them in.
The plan was so crazy it worked! We got to see those cute gorillas after all!


The camel, the sunset and the puke

by Ida of Mrs Jack Of All Trades

For my birthday the first year living in Dubai, my husband took me for a short getaway at Al-Maha Resort just 45 minutes outside Dubai. It was truly a beautiful place. The setting was dreamy with our own luxurious tent, private pool, a personal butler and a camel ride into the desert to watch the sunset while sipping some bubbly was also thrown in the package.

So there we were together with 6 other couples taken to our respective camels and ours happened to be the last camel in the convoy. It was a bumpy but fun ride and all were fantastic except for our camel that was sort of impatient and was trying to cut the queue. Due to that instead of being behind the camel in front, we were sort of slightly on the side of it.

Along the ride there were lot of ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ and happy giggles here and there coming from everybody but I noticed the Far Eastern couple on the camel in front of us were not as happy.. the guy (that was sitting at the back of the camel, at my 10 o’clock) didn’t look like he was doing too well and right after that crossed my mind he spewed ‘whatever-he-had-for-lunch’ out in one big horrible gush! It was a windy day and unfortunately for me the wind came from the front and guess where all that nastiness landed on? Well, most of it on the camel’s face (poor camel) and since I was sitting in the front of the camel some also landed on yours truly. Yup, ewww alright!

Oh, by the way there was no ‘excuse me’, or ‘sorry about that’ or ‘here’s some tissue paper’ or even a mere glance came from Mr Puke! Nada!

The sun set anyway… and it was spectacular, ironically.

Finders Keepers
by Pia of exPIAtriatewife

I have many strange travel experiences but one of the scariest (without involving any dangerous animals) must have been when I and the kids went to Greece last year. We had just spent wonderful four days on the island of Poros and were on our way back to Piraeus and Athens airport to meet up with friends. Our rental car was booked and so was the gorgeous villa outside of Marathonas and we six wonderful days together with our friends awaited us. When I’m travelling alone with the kids, I always tend to be extra careful and attentive as there are various things such as Tinkerbell trolleys, army backpacks, soft toys, kids (!) and suitcases to keep an eye on. We bought our bus tickets for the airport bus and waited along with a large group of people. I kept all my tickets, the car reservation, the villa reservation and our passports in a very handy, pink zipper folder. It made it easier to keep everything in one place. The bus came and of course, everyone tried to board at the same time with their suitcases and backpacks. Elias was trying to drag one of our suitcases on the bus but got stuck. Luckily, a very helpful young man came to the rescue and helped him. I looked at the young man and thanked him and I recall that I found it strange that he did not get on the bus himself, he just helped us with our luggage. Once we got on and the kids found their seats, I did what I always do, checked that everything was with us; kids, suitcases, Tinkerbell trolley, army backpack. Suddenly I noticed that my handbag was alarmingly light and when I opened it, I realized that my pink zipper folder was missing. I cannot describe the panic I felt when it dawned upon me that we had just lost all our tickets and our passports. I quickly pressed the stop button and we jumped off and ran all the way back to the bus stop. Maybe I had dropped it, maybe it was still there somewhere? During our short run (which felt like an eternity, I swear those expressions are not a cliche, it felt like we ran for hours) various thoughts passed through my mind: where can I find a Swedish embassy? Can we get emergency passports? If they issue emergency passports, it will only be back to Sweden and the rest of our trip is “khalas”. I did not even get into the whole “and then we need to apply for a new residence visa in Dubai” as that was just too much to bear at the moment. Kids ran like crazy and we must have looked really funny with our suitcases and backpacks, panic in our eyes (Joli did not quite understand that her Mum had just screwed up the rest of her holiday and basically made her stateless with no passport) but Elias was very quiet as he could see the expression of despair in my face. We finally reached the little bus stop and I (by some illogical reason) started to look in the garbage bins if someone had thrown it away but we found nothing. Finally, I turned to the lady in the ticket booth, without any hope whatsoever left, to ask if she by any chance had seen a pink zipper folder. The lady looked at me for a second and my heart sank, I was expecting to see her shaking her head but instead, she leaned a bit to her right side and picked up: my pink zipper folder! I swear to God, I have never felt so thankful and happy in my life ever (and very humble). The relief, the joy, the shock hit me. I could not believe it. Joli was dancing around me and my poor son, who had been under tremendous stress for the past half an hour did not say a word but tears trickled down his brown cheeks and I started crying as well. I quickly composed myself, bought us new tickets and we hopped on the bus. When I checked my folder, I could easily see that someone had been going through its contents, my papers and receipts were all over the place but my tickets and most important, our passports were still there. So whoever the thief was, he redeemed himself after all and returned it, probably he thought it was an ipad case or was looking for cash. My heart was beating so fast all the way back to the airport and even though it was only 11 in the morning, I could have given anything for a large drink!

Poison Oak
Jessica of Turquoise Compass

Photo provided by Turquoise Compass

Photo provided by Turquoise Compass

I came into contact with Poison Oak while hiking in California in the fall. After 48 hours (and over the course of the next three days following) of initial contact I started to break out into an uncomfortable rash on my legs. Initially, I thought I had been bitten by some bugs, possibly mosquitoes, ants, or fleas. However, after noticing that the red spots were showing up in patches on four different parts of my legs, I started to question my recent interactions. I thought possibly I had an allergic reaction to a food product, but I hadn’t eaten anything out of the ordinary. After finally discovering that I had been affected by Poison Oak, I tried managing the intense itching sensation and discomfort with cool water, Benadryl, and various creams.

After much research on Poison Oak, I learned that it could take anywhere from ten days to three weeks to heal completely and for persons with sensitive skin potentially six weeks. Unfortunately, there isn’t any real “treatment” for mild cases of Poison Oak other than various at home remedies and strategies to manage the itching and swelling (i.e. cool water, ice packs, baking soda baths, camomile lotion, Benadryl, cortisone creams, etc…) Of course I was one of those people who needed the 6 weeks to completely heal. I have lived through it all.

Fortunately for me, I had a very mild case of Poison Oak (other than one small moderate case on my left ankle). I’m blessed to not have been affected as bad as it could have been. Apparently sever cases of Poison Oak can be extremely serious and debilitating. My mild case of Poison Oak didn’t slow me down! I still traveled as normal. I didn’t anticipate coming into contact with Poison Oak, yet I often don’t think anything will go wrong when I am traveling. I’ve learned that it is essential to go with the flow when traveling because I never know what situation I might face or what will come. During my travels thus far, I have run into a few circumstances where I have had to be patient and just go with the flow.

When traveling, I learn more about myself than I could otherwise because I am forced into situations I wouldn’t normally experience. I have experienced oversold flights (missed flights), delays, getting stuck at the airport, sleeping in a city I didn’t intend to be in, computer systems being down and unable to find my confirmation, catching connections during the middle of the night, traveling for 24 hours straight, walking to a bus station alone at night with all of my luggage in a large city, having no access to a restroom, taking a 14 hour bus ride, and the kicker… poison oak; I’m learning so much about perseverance. Through it all, these life experiences continue to teach new lessons. They also give me more stories to tell! I have to keep reminding myself to go with the flow (I’m trying to!) even when I encounter difficult situations, because that’s a part of the traveling life.

Traveling alone (for the first time) to the USA
Vera from Frank About Croatia

I’ve never been a solo traveler kind of girl. I did it few times and didn’t like it at all. I still don’t get the pleasure of going to the toilet with a huge backpack and all other gears, just because there is nobody to look after my things while I’m there.

Anyways, I traveled to the USA alone, and without having a single contact over there. I was supposed to join a cruise ship in Norfolk, Virginia and I was said that the ship agent would be at the airport waiting for me. Our plane landed in Norfolk at 10pm. And nobody was there waiting for me. I had very little money on me. I was for the first time in the USA. I quickly realized that there is not a single public bus going to the town. And according to my knowledge of English back then, a shuttle was taking people to the outer space, and not to the town. So taking one was out of the question. It was dark. It was raining. And our flight was the last flight of the day. It was pretty scary. The agent never showed up. Luckily, my seat buddy from the flight offered to give me a ride to Virginia beach and the next day, after at least ten manic phone calls, the agent sent a driver to pick me up and bring me to the hotel in Norfolk. The rest was easy, I embarked on the ship the following day.

Prairie Kids on a Sailboat
by Kate of Off to Anywhere

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I’m a generally positive person. I like to find the good in things—I really do. But sometimes it takes a bit more digging to find out if the good out-weighs the bad—even when travelling.

My worst travel experience? Well let’s just say, prairie kids + sailboat + horrible weather = seasickness. For three days.

I was in Panama with my partner, Braydon, and some other friends on our way to Colombia. If you don’t know, an area called the Darien Gap—think jungle, swamp, and zero policing—blocks the way from Panama to the rest of South America, which meant we needed to book a boat to cross on the water.

There are sail tours that will take you from Portobello, Panama to the San Blas Islands for a day, and then onward to Cartegena, Colombia. All in all it’s about a 3 full day trip. Having never been on a sailboat before, and seeing nothing but shockingly beautiful pictures of the San Blas Islands, we all happily decided to take the tour.

Now, we weren’t naïve enough to not expect some kind of seasickness—and we purchased medication to prevent seasickness while we were in Panama City. Clever kids!

You know, other than the guy who forgot the whole bag of meds in his room. We arrived in Portobello to discover that we had exactly 10 Gravol pills I had brought from home, and nothing else. To top it off, the pharmacy in Portobello—a tiny port town—was entirely out of their stock.

So off we went — not knowing what to expect from the water. Well, it turns out we travelled on the worst weather they had ever seen on that stretch of water. Within 30 minutes of setting off every one of us — nine passengers in total — had been sick at least once. If not multiple times. And the absolute worst part of seasickness is that there is absolutely no way out. So 30 minutes in, I was not looking forward to the next three days.

We sailed for about 20 hours out of Portobello toward the San Blas Islands, and I spent the time by the side of the boat, or attempting to sleep in my and Braydon’s cabin. I say attempting because we were being thrown around like rag dolls in there, the boat was pitching so much. I landed on top of Braydon on multiple occasions and he on me.

Once we arrived at the islands, however, the positives kicked in. The water was stunningly clear and warm, and we had the chance to visit the local who live on the islands, which was extraordinary. After an afternoon and night anchored at the islands, it was back on the water. For a solid 40 hours of seeing nothing but water. Everywhere.

So it’s safe to say that sailing is not for me. And you know what? I’m ok with that.

Chasing buses and rides.
by Weng of Wengarooism

One travel experience has taught me two things: That sometimes, it’s better to travel when it’s not a holiday, and that sometimes, it might be better to wait.

My first time traveling out of the country was like a baptism of fire for me because I was not with my parents, but with two of my college friends, with whom I spent five days of the Holy Week roaming around and embracing how gorgeous and disciplined Singapore was.

Come Easter Sunday, it’s we’re-coming-back-to-Manila day. We boarded a plane around lunch time from the Changi Airport and arrived at the Diosdado Macapagal Airport in Clark, Pampanga at 3 p.m.

The plan was to ride a shuttle from the airport that would take us to Manila. (Before leaving for Singapore, I checked the schedule and even called the shuttle company to ensure that they have an available shuttle at the time we’re arriving.) Lo and behold, when I went to the booth of that shuttle, the manning person said that the vehicle wasn’t coming until 5 p.m. Of course my friends and I didn’t want to wait that long – especially me, because I still had work to do when I get home. As Plan B, we took a multi cab heading to a nearby bus terminal.

We were greeted by something even more unexpected thereafter: Yes, there were a lot of buses at the terminal, but there, too, was a horde of commuters who probably vacationed at a nearby province during the Holy Week. We waited, chased buses – me with my multiple shoulder bags and luggage, my friends with their huge backpacks and handbags – for 30 minutes to an hour, until we finally got to ride an ordinary bus to Cubao. It was stressful, but we kept our cool as best as we could. None of us wanted that to happen anyway.

Going back to my opening statement, it’s inevitable to opt for holiday trips because it’s when most people are free and we don’t have to file leaves. Nevertheless, the bigger lesson here, for me, is that we just have to prepare for unexpected mishaps and remain calm and resourceful to resolve it in the best possible way. I’m glad that I’ve taken that trip with two of my dearest friends, because we’ve learned a lot not only about Singapore but about ourselves as well.

Bike Ride To The Mountain of Apples

by Ken of Kenneth Surat

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One of my most memorable experiences while on a trip was during my recent vacation in Kyrgyzstan. It was actually a fun experience more than embarrassing.

On my second day in Kyrgyzstan, my host family told me that we can go to the mountains by riding a bike. The thought of going to the snowcapped mountains on a bike really got me tempted (photo opp!) and I said YES to the idea immediately.

With all the enthusiasm and adrenaline, we rented a bike, and from the city we trailed away to the Ala Archa Mountains.

We were so excited (I think I was too excited), we all raced around the city like a kid, and after around 15 minutes of biking, I felt tired already. With my pride intact, I didn’t give up and still pedal my way to our destination. When one of my friends decided to walk, I immediately followed and said that my friend needed a companion.

With all our energy drained, and hour of biking passed and still no trace of the mountains…2 hours…3 hours and still nothing. I am starting to have doubts that our guide really knows the direction. A glimmer of hope came when he said that we’d be there in around 30 more. Walking and not anymore biking (my butt was painful already), we passed 30 minutes and I still didn’t see the foot of the mountain. After 6 hours of biking and the sun started to set, we passed by an apple farm and asked an old man if we are near Ala Archa and he said that we were a bunch of crazy guys trying to get to the mountains from the city on a bike. He forcefully told us to go back (LOL).

Being all guys, our macho physique (and pride) didn’t want us to admit that we were defeated—but in the end, we decided to just stop and grab some apple as a reward to all our efforts. Instead of conquering the mountains, we ransacked the apple tree and brought a bag full of fresh and tasty apples.

We didn’t make it to the mountains, although, I told them that I could still go on. Stopping, and turning back was the wisest decision as darkness will start to creep in and it will be very dangerous for us to move forward. They thought I was disappointed, but in reality I wasn’t. I was so happy with our adventure. I got to know my new friends better and we had a lot of laughs. I assured them that it was a trip worth doing.

The Time When A Map Ruined My Night… Or Did It?

by Fionn of My Footprint Diary

When we travel to new places, we become tourists. As tourists we rely heavily on maps. If the map is wrong, it throws us off. How can people create maps that aren’t correct? Of all the years I have been traveling, the first time I came across a map that was wrong was in Rome.

I flew to Rome in August 2013. I spent 3 days in Rome before I boarded Ruby Princess in Civitavecchia. We all know that there are a lot to see in Rome, so I made good use of my time. Once I got to Rome and checked into my hotel near the cruise port in Civitavecchia, I took the train to Rome. The hour long train ride seemed a lot longer than that. It must have been a combination of excitement, tiredness and freezer like temperatures that made it longer.

By the time I arrived in Rome, it was around 5pm. I quickly picked up a map at the station and walked outside. My first stop was to Trevi Fountain. However, unfortunately… I never made it there that night (I did manage to visit it the next day).

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I spent two hours roaming around before I got back to the station to have dinner at an Italian restaurant. Dinner was amazing! Coming from someone who loves anything pasta, my dinner was one of the best. Then, here comes the best part…gelato. Not just a regular flavored gelato, I’m talking about Coconut Gelato.

What I thought was a bad day didn’t end up being as bad as I thought it was. As much as we love to be in control, there are just some things in life that we have no control over. The map was an example. I just happened to pick up the wrong map, but life moves on. If I hadn’t picked up that map, I wouldn’t have the chance to walk the streets in Rome. Sometimes we just need to let go and let things fall into place. There will always be light at the end of the day as long as we believe in it.

The Clueless Gringas
by Lynda of Longhorns and Camels

The open road and plenty of Texas sunshine accompanied me and my friend on a drive down I-35 from Austin to Nuevo Laredo. Texas is so big that it’s hard to even leave the state by driving (Texas is over 8 times bigger than the UAE). Getting to another country in 3 1/2 hours provides a sense of adventure when you’re feeling restless.

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Mexico, like most countries, cannot be defined by one region. The colonial towns are different from the capital, which is different from the beach resorts, which are different from the border towns. Each has their own charms and challenges. One might argue that the border towns have more challenges than charms, but I still enjoyed going. However, they are not the place (especially in more recent days) you want to attract attention to yourself. My friend and I, two clueless 20 somethings (at the time) traipsed around Nuevo Laredo as if we fit in. We marveled at the countless “dentistas” (dentists) who displayed their menus of medications just in case you needed a prescription (of any variety, from a dentist when you don’t have a toothache… Hmm.). We drank a beer at the local bar. We did a little shopping. This wasn’t a raucous, party-style visit. We mainly just walked around, taking in the sights. By late afternoon, we were approached by two Mexican men. At first a bit scared, especially by the big one with the scar on his cheek and tattoos, we tried to avoid them. They persisted and made it a point to talk to us. As it turns out, Mr. Scarface was just a big ol’ teddy bear. Basically they told us to be careful, that this really wasn’t a place for two girls like us. I was so touched by their sense of concern for two clueless gringas like us. After our little chat, we made our way to the border checkpoint but before leaving I snapped a picture of the two of them with my friend. Fifteen years later it still makes me laugh and wonder, “What were we thinking!” But it also reminds me of the reasons I love traveling: to meet new people, challenge stereotypes, see how other people live and to experience different cultures. This wasn’t my worst travel experience, but perhaps it would have been if we had stayed a little longer.

My sincerest gratitude to all the bloggers who joined this collaboration. Until next time, hopefully! 🙂
All photos on this post were provided by the lovely bloggers.

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18 Comments

  • Reply Aleah | SolitaryWanderer.com March 7, 2014 at 00:57

    Yikes, so sorry to have missed the deadline. I was traveling in Nepal and I only had a few hours to work because most of the time there was no electricity. Soooo sorry! Love your contribution. Never happened to me before, but I can imagine your mortification when the British guy saw you!

  • Reply Ross March 5, 2014 at 14:21

    Great collection. Some good one’s in there. Thanks for the inclusion.

  • Reply kenneth March 3, 2014 at 22:46

    Nice nice…I’ll read everything later. Too long for me in one seating, it only means these are all good reads! Exciting!

  • Reply Lynda March 2, 2014 at 09:44

    A fun compilation! Really enjoyed reading everyone’s stories. 🙂

  • Reply Sally March 2, 2014 at 08:59

    Very amusing round up 🙂

  • Reply Micki March 2, 2014 at 01:44

    Oh, these are hilarious! Thanks so much for including us 🙂

  • Reply Rhey March 1, 2014 at 21:56

    oh love love love!!! i really couldnt think of anything bad that happened to my during my travels, other than losing my luggage… Good compilation!

  • Reply ExPIAtriatrewife March 1, 2014 at 19:23

    I love this! I will share this on my blog as well, too good not to!! Thanks for asking me for this awesome collaboration!

  • Reply Fionn March 1, 2014 at 17:56

    Awesome, love these stories! Thank you 🙂

  • Reply Sharon @ Where's Sharon? March 1, 2014 at 11:26

    Lol thanks for including me! I just had a great laugh reading all of these stories!! 🙂

  • Reply Mrs C March 1, 2014 at 11:08

    Fab collaboration, Neomi! I have to take your experience as a lesson because I do the same, t.shirt and nothing else and if something like being locked out happened, that is a nightmare! Mental note, always put on a robe 😉 Enjoyed the read and I’m sharing this page on my Facebook if that’s alright 🙂

    • Reply Pinay Flying High March 1, 2014 at 12:37

      Haha! I learned from that huge mistake and stupidity, I never order room service anymore. Hahaha.

      Share away Ida and thanks for joining. 🙂

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