Traveling Confessions and Mishaps

November 28, 2016
My time spent traveling has almost always been an incredible experience overall, but there were some moments when events don't go as planned. Today I'll be keeping it real by sharing a bunch of instances that I'll never forget, as well as a few confessions.

* I've been to more countries than states, which tells me I need to get out there and explore my own country soon.

* I'm an anxious flier and have only ever fallen asleep on plane once in my whole life. That was when I took some prescription strength sleeping pills while flying from Indonesia to San Francisco. Best flight of my life because I don't remember any of it!

* Speaking of sleeping pills, when I flew to Greece, I took some Tylenol PM in hopes that I'd fall asleep like I did on my flight from Indonesia that I just mentioned. It wasn't working, so I took a few more. I never fell asleep, but felt extremely out of it. In fact, I felt so loopy that I left my passport on the plane by accident after I disembarked. I was at customs having a panic attack, and feared I wouldn't be allowed to enter if my passport didn't turn up. They had to sweep the plane for me, and the lady working at customs was NOT happy. Thank goodness it was found, and trust me, I have not taken one Tylenol PM since then and always obsessively check for my passport now.

* After a trip, you know how you tend to get stuck with some extra foreign currency you might not use again? Previously, I put some of those coins in my class's treasure box, and my students loved them!

* Even though it's insanely expensive, I hope to go on a cruise to Antarctica one day. This might be an impractical dream, but it's still a dream nonetheless.

* I know solo travel is all the rage, but I think I prefer to have a travel buddy come along with me, especially after what happened to me in Urumqi. Personally, I think traveling in groups of 2 or 4 is ideal because sometimes with three people one person might get left out. I have done some solo travel and had a good time, but I 100% prefer to travel with just one other person or a few other people.

* I've had McDonald's in the States, the UK, Canada, Italy, Korea, China, and India. Mind you, I did live in four of those countries! Of course I make an effort to try the local food, but sometimes when I'm hungry, it's just nice to know what I'm going to get and the price range of the food.

* About 10 years ago, a couple of friends and I got stuck in Menaggio without meaning to. We took a day trip from Milan to go to Lake Como, and later decided to take a ferry across the lake and explore Menaggio. Once we got off of the ferry, we thought we were being really responsible by purchasing our return ticket then and there. It was only the late afternoon, so we wanted to spend a few hours there and then return to Bellagio in the early evening. When we asked when the last returning ferry was for that day, the ticket seller pointed at the ferry that had just departed for Bellagio, and said,"That one." We had a hotel room in Milan to stay in that night, so we thought about just staying out all night to save on money rather than booking another place, but we eventually decided to get another hotel room in Menaggio because of our mistake. Whoops!

* I've missed a flight before. A friend and I were flying from Manila to Caticlan to try to get to Boracay. We asked at the front desk at our hotel how early we should get to the airport, and they said to leave two hours before our flight, even for a domestic flight. By the time we got to the airport, we were still an hour and a half early, but before we could enter the airport, all passengers had to wait in this long line so that our bags could be x-rayed. Because we were traveling around Christmastime, it was SUPER busy, and we were about to miss our check in time for our flight. We went to the front of the line and explained the situation, and the security guards let us through. When we arrived at the check-in counter, we were told we had made it just in time, but then the worker took our tickets and wandered around with them for 10 minutes or so saying he had to check something. After he took off with our tickets and came back, he said that we had missed the check in time by 5 minutes. We pointed out that we were there in time, and that he left with our tickets, which caused us to be late. However, they overbooked the plane, and his suggestions weren't very helpful. He told us that we could fly stand-by, but that we would likely never get a later flight, as there were tons of others ahead of us in line. Instead, my travel companion and I just booked a flight from the competitor and only had to wait a few hours in the airport. We were really lucky that there were still seats left on other flights!

Sunset at the White Sand Beach in Boracay, totally worth it once we got there!
* Now I'm going to tell you about one of my scariest times traveling. It was when I was taking a boat back from Koh Phi Phi to Phuket. The ferry my friend and I took to Koh Phi Phi was so nice, clean, and huge with a food stand. It looked sturdy, and our boat ride over was very relaxing. On the way back, we had a small, rickety looking boat. It was okay at first, but then the water got really choppy. Waves came up so high that water was coming in through the windows of the boat. People around us started putting on their life preservers, and several adults started to cry. My friend Ashley and I were really nervous about the possibility of the boat sinking, but in the end we were fine besides the fact that we were a little shaken up.

* This next one is rather funny! A friend came and visited me in Italy, and we decided to take a trip to Vieste, a prime beach spot on the Eastern coast. Not only was it raining all day, but when we tried to buy our return ticket, no one would sell us one. They kept telling me a word I didn't understand, but once I looked it up, everything was clear. The bus drivers had gone on strike! Again, I was stuck in a town (ironically with the same friend I got stuck in Menaggio with). We tried hitchhiking, but when we saw who pulled over for us, we decided we valued our lives more than chancing it. I couldn't get ahold of my boyfriend at the time, and no one could come and get me. We decided we were just going to stay up all night again, so we went to a grocery store and got supplies, and then sat on a bench eating mozzarella di bufala laughing at our luck. Eventually, the guy I'd been dating came through for us and drove in terrible weather conditions to come get the two of us. I'm rather glad he did because the it was starting to rain harder.

It's true that some of my mishaps were annoying, but I can't deny that they have all turned out to be adventures, most of which are funny to reminisce about these days. Part of the reason why I love traveling so much is because of the unknown and all of the possibilities!

What are some obstacles you're faced while traveling?
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