Those moments when travel goes horribly wrong

Aah, the joys of travelling: exploring new cities, meeting new people and the only thing you have to worry about is “where am I going to eat and sleep tonight?”
But occasionally, travel goes wrong. These were some of those times:

1/ The car crash in Ireland

when travel goes wrong: car crash in Ireland

I am sitting on a rock next to my tent in the small Irish village of Caherdaniel. Beside me is a police offer, trying to sort things out with the insurance company. How did I end up here?

It all started the day before. I was driving the spectacular “Ring of Kerry” a 180 km-long circular route on the south-west coast of Ireland. The sun was shining, beautiful landscapes unfolded around every single bend and there were plenty of photo opportunities along the way. My head still full of the dramatic beauty of the coast, I drove off… on the wrong side of the road.
Of course I knew people drove on the left hand side in Ireland, I had been driving in this country for nearly a week! But all it took was just one small lapse in concentration and there I was, driving straight into the oncoming car! Airbags exploded, engines were fuming, but thank God, nobody was seriously hurt!

My “victims” were English who in a very posh, polite way asked “What were you doing on this side of the road?”  No shouting, throwing tempers or anything, no. They even offered me sweets as we were waiting to be towed away!

The next day I woke up with serious muscle pain and bruisers and with the police next to my tent, ready to take my declaration…

2/ The stolen bag in Cuba

when travel goes wrong

It’s 2 o’clock in the morning when I ring the doorbell of my “casa particular” in Santiago de Cuba. “I’m so sorry, my bag’s been stolen!” I managed to utter. “My keys are in the bag too”! Credit card, driving licence, id, everything was in it, except my passport. At least I was going to be able to get back home!
I didn’t sleep much that night, feeling angry with myself. How could I have been so stupid?

I was walking around Santiago de Cuba when I spotted a party in full swing. The music was blasting, people were taking over the dancefloor and mojito’s were flowing. Was it the energy of the place or the effect of one too many drinks, the thing is, I decided to join in! I put my bag on the floor and decided to show my dance moves to the Cubans! The disenchantment came five minutes later, when I discovered that my bag was gone! Of course it was, who the hell puts a bag in the middle of the floor at a party?! Up to today, I’m still not very proud of myself for that…

3/ The lost passport in Thailand

when travel goes wrong

“Please sign here” said the Thai police officer. “Sign what? Everything is in Thai!” I shouted. The woman of my guesthouse, who came with me, assured me that everything was ok. The officer wrote down exactly what I told him: I lost my passport and I needed a replacement.

Where could it be? Where could I have mislaid it? I was not looking forward to losing a few valuable travel days at the embassy to sort things out…

Back at the guest house, a taxi driver was waiting at reception. “Is this yours?” he asked. “Yes, it is, my lovely precious little passport!” “It must have fallen out of your bag when I drove you to the guesthouse, I found it on the back seat”.
I never wanted to kiss a man so badly!!

What about you? Any horror travel stories? Looking forward to reading them!

8 Replies to “Those moments when travel goes horribly wrong”

  1. Brianna

    When I was 19 driving along the East Coast my beater car bit the dust in rural North Carolina. I ended up getting my car fixed in exchange for a bag of beef jerky.

  2. Vicki Mattingly

    I agree with Elaine. The mishaps (things stolen, lost, etc.) are truly horrible in the moment, but do make for great stories–as long as everything works out ok in the end. And, at least you had some fun dancing and good mojitos in Cuba!

  3. Becky

    Glad to hear the passport story worked out! I’ve had a few “oops” moments, but nothing serious. Left my eyeglasses on a plane (never to be seen again, expensive to replace but did OK in the interim without them), threw away a driver’s license because it was folded up in an unnecessary boarding pass (thankfully not my only ID), and forgot my bag on a bus (it was delivered about 6 days later). Life moves on!


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