My Top 10 Worst Travel Experiences (So Far)
Updated: Sep 12, 2019
Welcome to the second part of my Top 10 travel experiences! You may have read about my favourite Bucket List experiences here, and now I've pieced together a countdown of some of the worst things that have happened to me whilst on the road. Granted, some of these are quite standard scenarios that many backpackers find themselves facing, then others, are truly awful - but they could always have been worse - I am still standing.
Being away from home, from the city or town that you grew up in, without a close knit group of friends to fall back on can be quite intimidating as it is, let alone how uncomfortable it can be when you get knocked off your feet due to illness or perhaps, have a terrifying encounter. I feel like I have experienced a (un)healthy dose of pretty much everything that could have gone wrong at some point. I have been seriously ill, homeless, hospitalized, mugged, defied death a handful of times, lost someone dear, been involved in an accident (or two), been caught in a tropical storm and been an illegal immigrant.
Some events have been significantly worse than others, though through it all, I'm still currently in one fully functioning piece! I was hoping that my clumsy reign of the last few years would come to an end as I progressed and aged, but perhaps it is just in my nature to attract disaster. Anyway, without further speculation, here is my countdown from the mundane to pretty gut-wrenching events that I have endured since leaving home, proving that traveling ain't all that glamorous...
Special mention: STANDARD TOILET TRAUMA
LOCATION: The Philippines
STORY: As I stated, it's kind of a standard thing that happens to most backpackers once they venture into Asian territory. It's mainly because of the food - but the climate, jet lag and different hygiene facilities can all play a part in causing an upset tummy! It became a bit of a running joke (pardon the pun) whilst I was in the Philippines, that upon meeting another traveler, you would ask three general questions: "where are you from?" "where are you heading?" "how are your bowels?".
Most people were in a similar situation - they either couldn't stop going, or they couldn't go at all. And those lucky enough to escape the wrath of the stomach demon may have had anxiety just from the sheer standard of the roadside bathrooms... Cubicles with long drop style porcelain urinals in the ground, no toilet paper only a bum gun (you spray yourself clean), no soap, a hose pipe to run your hands under and nothing to dry them on. You may as well have been outside with mother nature blowing a breeze between your cheeks. Dignity is a luxury you may find absent here.
10. SLEEPING ON AN OVERNIGHT TRAIN IN JAVA
LOCATION: Java, Indonesia
STORY: So this was probably my least favourite method of travel in the whole world - and as someone who suffers quite badly with motion sickness, no method of travel except walking is really that great for me! But imagine being stuffed like sardines onto a train in the Indonesian heat, travelling for 8 hours across Java and expecting to fall asleep comfortably whilst you chug on through the night. Babies were squealing, kids were crying, my knees were in between the knees of the stranger opposite and there was no spacial comfort whatsoever. We were sweating in the humid air, feeling disorientated from traveling backwards and unfortunately I was in an aisle seat so had nothing to rest my head on except my equally aggravated friends lap.
The toilet stank, it was overcrowded, we had no snacks, no air con, little water, little sleep... never again.
9. CRASHING MY SCOOTER. TWICE.
LOCATION: Lombok, Indonesia
STORY: My travel buddy and I were determined to learn how to ride a scooter. After passing my driving test 4th time lucky, I can own up to the fact that I am not a natural on the road. So I was feeling nervous but my recently acquired German friend, Nils, was confident in my ability. He sat me on the scooter as he sat down behind me and demonstrated how to rev and accelerate the engine. VROOOOOM! Off I went down the lane screaming "HOW DO I STOP!?" - we hadn't quite got to that part of the lesson, and next thing I know we've crashed into a wall, badly scraping our arms and legs and are now lying on a pavement with the scooter five feet away on its side. Perhaps we should have applied some theory before I began with the practical.
The following day, I'm all bandaged up and in pain, but all ten members of our Bali crew are buzzing to explore a secret beach located on the island of Lombok. Upon leaving the beautiful beach after a cracking day, I clamber onto the back of Nils bike and as we begin to pick up speed, he hits a rock on the dirt track and we end up toppling over AGAIN, this time with the scooter landing directly on us, crushing our legs. Thank god that hunk-a-junk didn't weigh enough to break anything!
The others demanded that we rode separately from now on and declared us riding together as a bad omen. I came out of it a little worse than he did - though as a nice reminder of our bad-ass friendship, Nils and I both have matching knee scars for life.
8. BEING HOMELESS DURING A CYCLONE
LOCATION: Queenstown, New Zealand
STORY: When I first arrived in New Zealand, I had a hostel booked for the first week of Christmas - which was very lucky considering the housing crisis in Queenstown at the time. Every hostel was fully booked for New Year and I didn't know anybody in town. I was in a strange new country with no job and no friends so I had to come up with a plan fast. Luckily, I got hired at the first place I handed my CV into and ended up moving around several hostels in town due to their limited availability, managing to catch vacancies here and there living day to day. However, one morning as I woke to go to work, I realised that I had nowhere to stay the following evening. Everywhere was fully booked again.
That morning I went in to work and there was a new girl named Druzie having a trial shift. It turned out that we had been staying at the same hostel for the last three nights so I told her about my housing issues, and that tonight I was going to be completely homeless. She said in her thick cockney accent, "don't worry babe, gimme your number, gimme an hour, I'll have something sorted for ya". True to her word, an hour later my phone rang and Druzie announced that she had secured me a tent, kindly lent to us from her friend and had already set it up in the hostel garden. This wonderful stranger had even checked me in with the hostel receptionist, so all I had to do when I finished my ten hour shift was pay for it. I was flabbergasted (love that word) at her immediate kindness to someone she didn't even know. We've been best friends ever since.
That evening as I snuggled up into my sleeping bag (which was also borrowed) I wondered if the rumours were true regarding the impending cyclone that was supposed to hit Queenstown that night. At 4am I could conclude that they were indeed true, and woke to the slashing of rain, the flooding of my tiny nylon abode and the puddle that was now forming beneath me.
I gathered my belongings and ran inside the hostel to shelter. I wrapped a bath towel around myself as I tried to calm my shivering and managed to fall asleep for a few hours in the girls bathroom. I then went and completed a full shift at work and took shelter sleeping in a friends car for the next two nights. After sharing my experience behind the bar the next day, I was lucky enough to have one of my managers kindly offer me her sofa to surf on before I finally found a house! (Thank you Chloe).
7. CONTRACTING A MYSTERIOUS ILLNESS IN FIJI
STORY: Our trip to Fiji was meant to be a relaxing escapist retreat in the sunshine! But instead I ended up with 24 hours of food poisoning, followed by the pair of us contracting a very strange flu-like illness which lasted pretty much the entire two weeks we were holidaying :(
JJ caught the mysterious sickness first and at one point, was sat on the beach in a winter jacket shivering whilst I was sunbathing in a bikini. We both ended up with a mucus cough, sore throat, migraines and hot and cold fevers. I lost 4kg from not eating properly and was struggling to gather enough energy to stay awake past 8pm. We enjoyed our vacation as much as we could, but it was such a shame that the one trip we had scrimped and saved for, turned out to not be the reward we had so deserved after all our hard work leading up to it.
Nevertheless, Fiji was still a beautiful destination with much fascination and adventure, read about our trip here!
6. GETTING MUGGED IN MILAN
LOCATION: Milan, Italy
STORY: As you may know, I spent six months of my second year at uni studying fashion at the Politecnico Di Milano in Italy. Whilst traveling on a bus one night to head to an Erasmus student party, my three housemates and I were all sat trying to look up the address on our phones. I was the only one who could get a connection and so I had my mobile in my hand as the bus pulled into a stop to let some passengers off. From behind me, a scrawny man speedily raced down from the back of the bus, grabbed my bag and my arm, yanked my elbow into the seat so it fell limp from shock and sprinted off into the night with my iPhone. Luckily, I was wearing an 'across-the-body' satchel, so the thug had been unable to steal any other belongings.
In an state of absolute shock I stood up to chase after him and then froze, considering the consequences if by some miracle I ever did manage to catch up with Forest Gump. I turned to the bus full of people who were awkwardly looking in any direction but mine and I yelled "what the hell is wrong with you people!? why did nobody do anything!?".
I guess living in a once capital, they see this type of petty crime all the time and barely bat an eyelid. I was gutted, I was only two months in to my trip and now had no way of contacting anybody at the party to find out their address. So there we were in the middle of a strange city, no clue where we were heading, my arm hurt, I was in tears, bewildered at what had just occurred, and the worst part of it all, was that I could still feel his touch on my hand.
The aggressive thrust that he used to remove the iPhone from my palm had left an impression of evil behind and I just couldn't shake it. I needed to get to a sink quickly so that I could scrub it off with strong soap. Of course, there was no physical sign of his touch, but I could still feel the heat and immense pressure that he had left behind on my skin like the invisible mark of the devil. I felt sick. Suffice to say, I have since then learnt not to flash my belongings in public places.
5. BEING RUSHED TO HOSPITAL FOR RENAL COLIC (kidney stones)
LOCATION: Milan, Italy
STORY: This happened back in 2014 and still to this day, is the most painful experience I have ever endured in my life. Perhaps, I hope, it will be the worst full stop. I would not wish it upon anybody. Renal Colic is the agonising pain that comes from contracting kidney stones - a sensation that is said to be more painful than childbirth.
I was lying on my stomach watching a movie, when all of a sudden I felt a deep twinge in my lower right back. I figured I hadn't moved for about 40 minutes so I rolled over and it twinged again. I went to the bathroom and on my way back, bumped into my housemate. She asked me if I was ok - apparently I had gone completely white (well, whiter than my normal white). She sat me down in my bedroom and went to get a cup of water for me to sip at. Upon her arrival back to me I had began to cry; this strange pain was growing rather intensely across my lower back and within a couple of minutes I was screaming in excruciating torment. My body was writhing like I was possessed, until my right hand side began to paralyse under the pressure. I had no idea what was going on but I genuinely, wanted to die.
I have thought about dying many times, but I had never actually wanted it until that moment. I could barely keep myself together, I grabbed the waste bin and went to vomit but nothing came. My right hand had clenched into this claw shape that was shaking vigorously - unable to read any further brain instruction, it lost its ability to respond and turned to stone. I was trying desperately to pass out so that I didn't have to endure this torture further, but my housemate Miriam kept me conscious until the paramedics made it to our apartment.
The attack lasted for about 20 minutes and by the time the ambulance rocked up, I was through the worst of it. I could barely speak, my whole body was numb and shaking uncontrollably. Unfortunately, to then add insult to injury, neither of the medics spoke English and neither me nor Miriam spoke Italian. Through a painfully tedious guessing game of my symptoms using Google Translate, they came to the conclusion that what I had just experienced was Renal Colic. But I hadn't a bloody clue what that was.
I was carried into a lift the size of four shoe boxes - the same lift I had refused to step into since the day I arrived in that apartment block due to my Claustrophobia. But at this point I didn't care, I couldn't even use my legs. Then all I remember is a tight squeeze on my shoulder as the doctor tried to keep me awake, my eyes fluttered open and I saw a blue cloudy sky above me. "Am I in heaven?" I calmly asked, to which my other housemate Millie laughed and said "no babe you're in the ambulance! You worried us all so much but we're all here with you!".
I was left on a hospital bed, floating in the corridors of a building I had no recollection of entering, for three hours with only my house mates and their Snapchats for entertainment. When I was eventually seen by the doctors, they concluded that I was severely dehydrated and could face repetition of the painful fit if I didn't start drinking more water. Now here's the funny thing about this situation; as foreigners, we weren't meant to drink the tap water in Italy and were expected to purchase bottled water only. Bottled water from the supermarket was €2.50 a litre, the wine however, was € 1.20 a bottle. So I blame the economy for my 'severe dehydration'.
4. HAVING MY DRINK SPIKED AND NEARLY DYING at a spa party
LOCATION: Budapest, Hungary
STORY: I honestly wish I could tell you how this story occurred, but as you can imagine, I don't remember much. Now before I go any further; yes, I know for sure that I was spiked. Not only am I a reasonably responsible drinker, but those that have attended the infamous Budapest Spa Party's also know that you are not required to take money in with you, only a waterproof lanyard that has 'pre-bought' drinks tapped on to it. I know, that I only drank four alcoholic beverages that night - before everything got freaky.
The last thing I could recall was my friend Millie and I, giggling and 'woo-ing' with joy as we crowd surfed over a large Jacuzzi full of party goers, until I felt someones hand aggressively reach into my bikini bottoms. I kicked off and screamed for the crowd to put me down at once! I was horrified and felt completely violated. The oblivious crowd that we were 'surfing' grew bored of my writhing and so threw me into the surrounding rapids, from which I did not surface. Not on my own accord anyway - seeing what had happened, my strong Spanish travel buddy (Reuben - I thank you forever) spotted me drowning in the rapids and scooped me out, sitting me on the poolside whilst he gathered the rest of our group together.
After throwing up out of the window of the palace that the party was held at, Millie, Melina and Reuben all carried me dripping wet into a taxi where they obtained several embarrassing videos of me snoring like the exorcist on the back seat, wrapped up in a towel. They then tucked me into the top bunk of my hostel bed, probably just expecting a miserable hungover Annabel the following day.
I opened my eyes at 10am and clutched my head in my hands, "GOOD MORNING BABE!" Millie shrieked rushing over to me. "You had a big night last night didn't you!?" I looked down and not only was I upside down on my mattress but I was completely naked. In a shared hostel dorm with seven other guys in it, who were also awake, and staring. "WOAH where is my t-shirt!?" I rolled over to conceal myself, mortified and confused. Millie then went on to tell me that after they put me to bed last night, I had woken them up choking on my own sick in my sleep. They had put me in the recovery position, taken off my chunder-drenched pj's, relocated my head to the opposite end of the bunk where I had not yet thrown up and tried very hard to take away my pillow, which evidently I hadn't wanted to hand over because I was still lying on it, in a crusted vomit-y mess.
I guess I had two near-death experiences in one night - thankfully I couldn't recall either of them. Having to waddle around Budapest the next day on a historical walking tour was not the TLC I desperately needed after that turn of unfortunate events, but someone up in the big blue must have been watching over me. Cheers!
3. HAVING A PANIC ATTACK AND NEARLY DROWNING ON THE OCEAN FLOOR
LOCATION: Malapascua, The Philippines
STORY: OK, hands down one of the scariest moments of my life; if not THE scariest moment of my entirety. When I was traveling the Philippines, my friend and I decided to undertake the three day Open Water diving course that would certify us for intermediate future diving. During one of the progressive lessons we had to perform a little 'trick' which enabled us to clear our goggles out of any water or fog whilst underwater. The motion meant that we had to tilt the goggles forward, allowing them to fill with water and then use our nostrils to blast the water out by tilting them again from the bottom, rendering us temporarily unable to see and open to the elements. I was struggling, as a claustrophobic, with the idea of wearing a mask and relying on a tank to breathe in the first place, but losing my sense of sight during this movement was all a bit too overwhelming for me.
I have a couple of strange phobias (enclosed winding staircases and unvarnished pottery - it's a texture thang) but my biggest and most problematic fear is confinement. I am extremely claustrophobic, but it's not just small spaces that bother me, it's the whole idea of being trapped somewhere where I cannot envision an escape, or the idea of suffocating. I don't like having things over my head like masks or blankets, and I freak out when I have to wear tight or restrictive clothing (yano, like a wet suit…) because I feel like my skin can't breathe and I get all hot and frustrated. So the notion of open water with impaired visibility and relying on a breathing device to survive, struck me with a daunting chord of unrelenting fear.
After failing to perform the goggle task, and after then throwing a tantrum and climbing out of the practise pool all upset, I was encouraged to get back in and try over and over until I mastered it. After all, I had paid all that money and got so far - this was my final task before we were allowed to actually dive. In the sea. In the big blue ocean. In the vast expanse of open water. Oh Jesus what on earth had I signed up for? I had the fear and the fear was very real. Nonetheless, I managed to pass my pool training and after a short break we voyaged out on a small motorboat and jumped 12 meters into the ocean where we bobbed on the sea bed awaiting our final tests.
Upon attempting the 'clearing of the goggles' maneuver, I became extremely aware of the potential danger I was about to put myself in, and immediately felt an overbearing sense of panic. I had filled my goggles with sea water, losing my sight as my eyes clenched shut. I tilted open the bottom half of my goggles and tried to blast out the water using my nostrils but in the panic accidentally breathed IN. I was now hyperventilating 12 meters underwater, choking blindly on the salty surrounding fluid and I was certain I was going to drown. I opened my eyes and looked up towards the surface. I was going to swim for it.
My flight mode was powering my mind right now, though I knew from my training that if I was to have kicked off and swam up to the surface, it probably would have caused my lungs to burst under the pressure. Luckily my instructor held onto my arm and shook her head, motioning me to control my rapid breathing. I was losing oxygen and had to regain conscious, rational thought. Her eyes never left mine and both my instructor and friend were squeezing my forearms and making slow breathing gestures with their free hands. Then my fight mode kicked in.
Fight mode said "Annie, you need to slow your breathing RIGHT NOW if you want to survive. You need to SLOWWWWWW DOWWWWN. Remain still. Think clearly. You know the movement. Clear the goggles. Do it in baby steps. This will be a tragic tale - a pathetic way to die. Clear the damn goggles. YOU GOT THIS". And eventually, I did it. My witnesses clapped and stuck their thumbs up, obviously unable to actually voice how relieved they were. My goggles were now full of tears.
Now, if you have ever had a panic attack, you will probably understand just how tiring and draining of all energy and happiness it can be. All I wanted to do was sit on the boat and rest in the sun whilst the others continued the dive. But we swam on, and began our first ever dive into the coral reefs. I was exhausted, still a little scared, but very much full of relief. Fortunately, I spent the rest of the morning completely enraptured by the colourful underwater world that I had only ever seen on nature documentaries. We swam in and out of rock formations, mouthed WOW a dozen times and left the waters feeling like we'd just uncovered a whole new vast expanse of magic.
I have a bit of a knack for defying death hey?
2. GETTING BANNED FROM AUSTRALIA
STORY: Boy is this a sob story. It hurts me just thinking about it. In fact, I already wrote an article on the traumas of my visa issue in Australia, so if you're after the fine details feel free to read allll about it here. If not, here is the jist: when I was excitedly preparing all my paperwork back in the UK before I began my travels, I bought a working holiday visa for Oz. Upon doing further blog reading, I came across a handful of articles that claimed that the authors had struggled getting into Sydney airport without first securing tourist visas. My travel buddy wasn't planning to work in Oz so she only had a tourist visa and I was worried that without one I wouldn't be able to enter through customs. Somehow in my little warped, travel-virgin mind I had decided that the work visa would only need to be activated if I obtained employment.
Clueless and enthusiastic, I applied successfully for a tourist visa AS WELL as my already approved work visa. I later entered Australia and handed over my work visa details to an employer who then hired me. I obtained a Medicare account, tax file number and bank account using my work visa details. I never had any means to question its validity.
Then one evening I went to a trial shift at a restaurant - I was in need of a second job due to my current retail job being short on shifts and proving inconsistent with pay. I once again was hired, until I rocked up to my second night shift where I was asked to go into the office for a chat with the manager. "We sent your visa details off to our HR department and they've declared that you don't have the correct visa. In fact, you don't have a visa at all" full of confusion I pulled my printed documents from my backpack and handed them over, "I do, of course I do. I have it all granted and verified here. You can see it in my immigration account too. I've been here for five months and have another job". Management suggested that there may have been a computer error and so the following Monday I phoned immigration to find out what had happened.
Long story short; it turns out that because I obtained the tourist visa AFTER my paid working holiday visa, the tourist one had nullified my work one. Despite the fact that they were both sat in my account, accepted and verified with nothing to suggest otherwise, when I had entered Australia, the immigration officer had stamped me in on the tourist visa. Which in hindsight makes NO SENSE because you cannot enter a country on a tourist visa without outward flights - which I obviously didn't have. Immigration told me I had to go on a bridging visa now and leave the country as soon as possible, as technically I had overstayed the tourist visa by two months - meaning I was officially an illegal immigrant.
I was given 14 days to leave Australia and so hurriedly booked flights to New Zealand, two weeks before Christmas. I was informed that I could re-enter Australia on a fresh working holiday visa without much trouble, as I had informed them of the mistake and made myself legal again by getting a bridging visa. I made plans to work in NZ for three months so that I could afford to re-purchase the work visa and then I would head back to Sydney where I had left half my belongings and all my friends.
The universe apparently had a different plan for me and as I nervously handed my passport over at Sydney airport, I was set back once again when it wouldn't scan. An immigration officer came over and upon inspection said, "I don't know if you have been informed of this yet, but you have been given a re-entry ban for Australia" my heart sank into my stomach, "no, I wasn't informed. How long am I banned for?" the stern looking woman said "three years" and I numbed all the way down to my toes.
So I now have two years left of my ban before I am allowed to APPLY for a visa that may or may not be accepted so that I may return to the land of my dreams. But even after the ban is lifted, I still have to claim that it happened on other visa applications (failure to do so could lead to further trouble and fines). To say I was completely crushed would be an understatement. Being excluded from a country is a big deal. Being in trouble with immigration is a big deal. Having this on my shoulders for the rest of my life is a BIG DEAL because it could affect all future visa's in other countries too. I was VERY lucky that a compassionate immigration worker allowed my sponsorship in New Zealand this year. This incident could very well rule the rest of my traveling life, and is truly the worst thing that has ever happened to me - because it's long lasting effects will never subside.
1. Losing a loved one
LOCATION: New Zealand
STORY: People die everyday. It is the one thing in this world that is completely inevitable. We are all at some point going to experience a great loss. But losing somebody you love SO much, when you are on the other side of the world, is as bizarre as it is surreal. I lost my Grandpa to cancer on my last night of Freshers week at uni six years ago. It took me years to grieve. I developed depression, anxiety, night terrors and parasomnia because of the sheer guilt I felt for not being by his hospital bed when he left us. In April this year, I lost my Granny Sue to sepsis. When I was at university, I was an hour away from home. Now I am a 48 hour journey away from England.
It was 11 o'clock at night on April 24th 2019, and I was in a club in my new hometown of Queenstown, New Zealand, when I received the phone call from my mum. Gripping my mobile I pushed through the crowd of party goers and ran onto the street outside, where with a shrieking cry I fell into a crippled heap on the pavement. Dozens of people must have walked by but I didn't even notice. My heart was under attack. I felt like I hurt so much that I would implode. I hadn't been drinking (I was the designated driver that evening) but I felt the nausea swallow me up like a pill. I tried to vomit several times but only more tears and deep, agonising belly cries escaped into the cold night air.
I had lost my Gran; my fashion icon, my travel muse, my absolute Queen. And where was I ? Around 11,682 miles away, in a backpacker bar. Stranded. Helpless. Useless. With a hefty 48 hour journey back to the UK ahead of me. I hadn't been home in two years and the last thing I wanted to do was go and visit all the lovely faces I had missed so dearly, with a growing sadness in my heart in placement of what should have been overwhelming excitement.
I made it to the funeral - which was as colourful as Granny Sue had been - and made it back to New Zealand after another grueling journey. Everything had gone smoothly and according to plan, despite my anxiety planting fearful seeds of doubt the whole way back. How do you grieve when essentially, you have escaped the very environment that embodied that person? I hadn't seen my Gran in two years, so not seeing her felt normal. We spoke over Skype, sent 'newsy' emails as she would say, and messaged all the time - though still not as often as we should have done. But two months after her funeral, I began to experience a little more realism.
Two months is the longest period I have been without speaking to my gran in some form or another, and it finally began to dawn on me, that that two months was going to be forever. How can you possibly fathom, a loved one being there one day and then POOF, their very being has evaporated into the universe like the smoke from a flame.
If I am being completely honest, since her passing in April, I have broke down in tearful heartache only a handful of times. I well up when I see her photograph, or when my family group chat mention something to do with her and Grandpa, or when I saw that her house had been sold on Facebook. But I truly don't think I have begun my grieving process yet. Everything out here feels delayed, because I have escaped the gravitational pull of grief that my hometown would have drowned me with, had I stayed.
Out here I am in another little world of my own, with different friends, no family... hell, I am even 11 hours ahead. It's hard to explain, but I feel as if my sadness is not tolerated here. If I cry, it is only me that understands. Only I knew her. Only I am experiencing her absence. Everybody else around me has their own problems. They have people they miss or long for. They may have had a family member pass too. The support network is nothing compared to the all-encompassing love and empathy that being at home bestowed upon me. I am only sad here when I feel like it will benefit me to experience that catharsis of emotion. Often I am at work, or surrounded by people at events - places where you least want to experience sadness. How unusual to feel like my emotions are caged, as if on pause until I allow them to emerge into their temporary freedom.
I guess I will find out in the months to come whether this is an experience ended, or just beginning. Loss anywhere, hurts, and your worldly location does not mean it hurts any more, or any less. But away from my family, in another country, in another timezone, it feels like I'm going to open my eyes one morning and sigh relief that it was all just some hyper-realistic nightmare.
"I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night"
I believe that it is vital that we paint honest depictions of what joys and tragedies traveling can bring. It is never what we expect nor is the reality of it well represented on a pretty Instagram feed. It is hard. It tests you. The whole idea of independence and freedom comes with mighty price tags that can mean self defeat, loss of confidence, confusion, sticky situations, pain, anguish, regret and many many obstacles that render your journey feeling completely pointless at times. But I can promise you all ONE THING: if you live forever with the fear of WHAT IF then you will never leave your bedroom.
Whether you are sky diving over LA, scuba diving in Queensland or simply walking your dog in London, something could always go wrong. We must push fear and negativity aside in order to carve lives that are abundant in experience and wisdom.
I feel like I am a fairly seasoned traveler after all these uncomfortable, scary and pretty shit situations, but it hasn't stopped me from wanting MORE. And like a wise old monkey once said; "ah yes, the past can hurt. But the way I see it, you can either run from it, or learn from it".