I recently posted this photo on my Instagram and Facebook page and had a lot of positive feedback. Original post: ” My cousin took this photo of me during our 12hr layover, and I am just so in love with it. I think it’s because it shows the less glamorous side of traveling. The side I don’t post pictures of. Like the long layovers or the times I am completely lost and hoping that my tiny knowledge of the language is navigating me in the right direction or the times that I have had to trust my gut and put complete faith in strangers. It’s moments like these that test you, but also make the Instagram worthy photos that much better!”
Now that I am back on the job hunt, I have gotten mixed feedback about my travel gap. Some people do see the power in it, and others think that its a long gap of partying. Well anyone who has travelled long term knows that yes you do have some booze filled nights, but the majority of your time is spent experiencing a new country and culture. You also learn how to get out of your shell and build relationships with new people, and how to practice patience and staying calm when stressed. But most importantly, you learn how to be independent. I wanted to share with you all a few mishaps that I have had whilst traveling.
My Top 5 Mishaps:
- Booking the wrong ticket – I have only done this once thankfully, but I have seen others do this all the time and begin panicking at the airport, train station, or bus station. I booked the wrong date for the bus from Amsterdam to Paris which I didn’t realize until I was getting on the bus. Luckily for me there were still seats on the bus for the night I wanted to leave. Unluckily, I had to pay for both tickets. Mistakes happen you have to just shake them off and keep having a good time.
- Missing a connection – On my trip around South East Asia, I was leaving Thailand and headed to Bali with a quick layover in Singapore! Unluckily, I didn’t hear over the speaker that the gate had changed. So when it was time to board and the doors weren’t opening, I quickly started searching for a customer service representative. I found one! But unfortunately they had switched terminals too so I was screwed. I had to book a new ticket from Singapore to Bali and spend 24hrs in Singapore. Singapore is a very cool place, but not ideal when you are a budget traveler.
- Figuring out public transport– So I’m pretty good about figuring out public transport. However, when I was heading to Nicaragua from Costa Rica, I had to do several bus changes. Now I researched the process before I left and double checked multiple times at the bus station. My first step was to get off at the Pan-American Highway stop and then catch another bus from there. No biggie! When I got on I asked the driver to let me know when we get to the Pan American stop. Bus ride is crowded, but fine. I’m of course the only gringo on the public transport. I hear the driver yelling “Pan- American, Pan-American” so I make my way to the front of the bus and hop off. Only to discover that I have literally been dropped off on the side of the Pan- American highway with all my belongings and no other person in site. After an hour on the side of the road I did begin to start panicking and thinking of ways to get back to the station that had been about 30 minutes away. Thankfully at an hour thirty the next bus I was meant to catch arrived!
- Being Detained – On my first trip ever traveling by myself, I went to London to visit a friend. Well, I had no idea what to do I thought I just turned up showed my passport and went on my merry way. NOPE! You have to have the phone number and address of the person you are meeting and proof of your return ticket. After 2 hours of being interviewed by British Homeland Security I was finally set free to enjoy London and to meet up with my very panicked friend.
- Last but not least- Long Layovers / Long Travel Days – Oh man, I have had some horrific layovers. Especially if you are traveling on a budget you can find very cheap flights with 12- 16 hr layovers. Also, in third world countries it’s very common to take long distance bus and train rides and the conditions of the busses and trains is pretty poor. My final story is of a rather quick trip, it was a 3 hour bus ride from Granada to San Juan Del Sur. However it was 90°F, extremely humid, and the bus had no AC. We had to sit on the bus for 30 minutes before it took off, but even after it took off the air never really circulated around. I turned up in San Juan Del Sur completely soaked in my own sweat. Also another quick story, I once had my phone die 2 hour in to a 12 hour bus ride and had to just stare out the window for the remaining 10 hours.
I just wanted to share some of these stories because I think they are often not talked about, but I know ever traveller has them!
Comment one of your worst travel days below!