Travel is amazing. It beautiful, eye opening, stunning. But it’s also stressful and ugly. While this post is a bit late this year, I love reflecting on both the good and especially the bad from the past year. The travel industry, as well as my Instagram, often only highlights the good parts of travel, so in the name of transparency, here’s the shitty side of travel (quite literally sometimes, as you’ll see below.)
I wrote this same post at the end of 2016 also if you want to check it out here! Also, these are in no specific order.
Food poisoning and sunburns in the Maldives
This one might be a bit TMI. But hey, in the name of transparency, right? I had the worst food poisoning ever in the Maldives. Ever. Horrible. I’m still slightly convinced I may have had Dengue because of how bad it was. Luckily I met a friend who let me cry lay on his couch and watch movies for a few days until I felt well enough to step on a ferry. But it did not end there. Once I got on the ferry, I was so incredibly sick- with a disgusting toilet and bouncing waves- I may have missed the toilet. Yep. So gross. Luckily it had a pail of water in the bathroom for me to rinse the side of the toilet and floor with but it was awful.
Because of the food poisoning, I was severely dehydrated and traveling solo, I didn’t have anyone to help me put sunscreen on my back. I swear sunscreen is the absolute worse part of #solofemaletravel. As a result, I had a horrible sunburn, so bad that I wanted to peel my skin off. I couldn’t sleep, I may have cried in a cold shower because every time I stepped out of the water I felt like my skin was touching the sun. Just writing about it is making my back hurt. Ok, moving on.
Losing my camera after my trip to Boreno
I almost never take my nice DSLR camera with me anywhere. It’s too big and I never end up using it but this was Boreno. I knew I’d be photographing wildlife from a distance. I took some amazing pictures– a orangutan from 15 feet away, a group of 6 or 7 pygmy elephants drinking on the side of a river, a group of red hornbills, etc. At some point during the last two days of this trip, I left my camera somewhere. I have no idea where and I didn’t even realize it until I tried to upload my pictures to my computer a few weeks later. All the pictures were only on the SD card. I came back from Boreno with the absolute worst photos but some truly beautiful memories. I guess I’ll just have to go back to photograph it all again someday.
Not drinking enough any water at the Guns n’ Roses concert in Singapore
A few friends and I decided to drive down to Singapore for a weekend to see Guns n’ Roses. They were epic. Slash and Axel Rose, in person, I’m sorry but they’re both getting older so seeing them while they’re still preforming was so worth it. But we were not expecting the horrible planning on this event. The venue is on the very tip of Singapore meaning there’s only on street out as it’s surrounded by water. It took over two hours to get out of the parking lot. We didn’t have any water and we were complete dehydrated from the past hour screaming and dancing to Gun’s and Roses. One of my friends was actually sick to and probably shouldn’t have been dancing around to begin with. We walked back into the venue thinking we could grab some water but apparently they had run out anyway. I walked by a cop and asked him if he knew where we could get water and he literally laughed in my face. Eventually we found two parking attendants who very graciously gave us the two bottles they had. I’m somewhat surprised that none of us passed out before we found some water.
Traffic in Manila and getting lost trying to find “Chipotle”
Let’s start by saying, there’s no chipotle in Manila and whatever random girl told me this is a liar! Ok, glad we got that out of the way. I knew traffic in Manila was going to be horrible. However, I didn’t think to plan my flight times in order to avoid it. Someone how both of my flights into Manila arrived around 5pm on a Friday night. It took me over 3 hours BOTH times to get to my hotel that was only 5 miles away. I really should have stayed closer to the airport I guess. On top of that, since I was told that there was a chipotle in Manila, after spending 3 hours in a car to my hotel, I went in search of it. Unfortunately, the chipotle in Manila is actually a dive bar that just happens to have the same name. It also wasn’t in the best area. In total, I walked about an hour in an area I probably shouldn’t have been walking in anyway, on what felt like a very small sidewalk on the side of a freeway. On the other hand, I got to see the locals shoving themselves into already packed buses, a crazy scene that I would have missed, had I not gone in search of this non-existent Chipotle.
Almost missing my flight home in Tokyo
I had a 12 hour layover in Tokyo during my flight back to California. I had heard of how great the public transit system is there but I ended up wasting SO much time getting to and from the airport because I was trying to avoid paying the higher rate for the airport express train. Instead, I ended up missing my stop, going the wrong way on a train, getting on the completely wrong train and then finally paying 30 USD to grab a ten minute cab because the next train wasn’t for 30 minutes. I’m so incredibly lucky that my flight was delayed giving my 14 hours instead of 12. I definitely would have missed my flight.
This piece doesn’t include the numerous times I’ve gotten lost, missed a bus, or generally had plans fall through. Overall, I consider myself very lucky. I haven’t had anything stolen (if you don’t count my flip-flops). I’ve never been physically attacked. I haven’t gotten in a car accident. Also, anytime something bad has happened, someone was always willing to help me out. The world is a surprising nice and welcoming place.