While adventuring through Bangkok in the wee hours of the night, my friend and I somehow managed to lose track of our location. We walked down dark side roads, mostly empty if only for the occasional small stores surrounded by (mostly) intoxicated locals. Wandering around, we spotted a sign indicating the direction back to one of the main areas we knew, so we followed it. Its arrow led us to the entrance of a dark alleyway turning into a strange hallways through a building. We weren't sure if that was the right way, but a local lady loudly spoke to us in Thai, and motioned for us to proceed into the dark alley.
Desperately tired, we weight our choices and opted for the shady looking route as opposed to risking having to deal with the questionable-at-best areas we had just walked through.
While we kept hoping this walk down the path of darkness wouldn't turn into a nightmare (picturing "kidnapped girls missing" as the media headline), we were relieved beyond imagination when we turned a corner to the recognizable sights and sounds of our neighborhood!
Lesson learned: Either stick to known areas at night, or make sure to have access to a map to get back!
My friend brought her favourite pair of sandals on our Thailand trip. They were cute little white strappy sandals that looked much prettier than practical. But she swore by them and insisted that it was the comfiest sandals she ever had.
After a long day walking around in the first couple of days, two straps started to come apart at the seams. Unwilling to part from them, she grabbed some glue on the way back to the hotel and got to work repairing the straps.
Morning arrives and set on a daylong tour exploring temples and villages in the northern region of Thailand. The glue held up for a few hours, but soon enough, the sandals started falling apart worst than before! By the end of it, she had to drag her feet or the sandals would have stayed behind.
Believe it or not, the sandals lasted the entire three weeks (with a bit of glue work every night)!
My first international trip was to Spain with a group from school. I was new to travelling, but very excited and in awe of everything.
We were waiting for the security gates to open at the Heathrow airport when 2 students decided to go for a walk, leaving their bags with us. The airport security staff opened the gates while they were gone and welcomed us through. Being a newbie, I never realized that you should not carry someone else's bag through security. Especially not someone you don't know and therefore have no idea what's in the bag!
When I walked through the gates with two backpack they "randomly" selected me for further investigation and asked about the spare pack I had. I was evidently not thinking straight and said it was a guy's and I was taking it for him... bad answer!
Thankfully after interrogating me for a good 15 minutes, tears streaming down my face, they let my worried teacher come and explain the situation!
I got lucky back then, airport security measures were not as strict as they are now. These days I would have probably been kicked out of the airport! Take my advice, make your friends carry their own backpacks!
My friend and I had just visited Belfast Castle in Northern Ireland and we were trying to catch the bus going back downtown where we were staying. We could see the stop across the street, but crossing the busy four lanes of traffic was not happening. After seeing the bus go by before we could cross, we decided to simply take the bus going in the other direction. Being from a small town where busses are practically non-existent, we assumed that it would take us to the end of the route then turn around and come back downtown. We were wrong!
The bus didn't follow the path we expected but my stubbornness ruled out and I refused to ask for directions. The driver finally called out "last stop, everyone off!" and we ended up walking over an hour through an industrial sector to get to the nearest bus stop that would take us back to town!
My favourite thing when I travel is stepping out of my comfort zone. Whether it's experiencing a new culture, trying new food or trying an activity I've never done, it's always at the top of my mind. That's why in Thailand, when we took a snorkelling tour, I decided to do a back flip jump for the first time. The hosts were offering a free beer to those who tried, so why not!
It took me at least half an hour of standing on the edge before I gathered up the courage to do it. And it completely failed! I ended up face planting the water, and my bikini top came off in the process! I was so embarrassed that I even forgot to ask for the free beer!
A few years back I was traveling in Shanghai when one evening we decided to go explore part of the city on our own. We got the hotel concierge to write down, in local dialect, the hotel and its location, and went exploring. The problem arose when we attempted to get a taxi to head home later that night. The drivers would look at our card, refuse to let us in their vehicles and drive away. To top it off, we weren't able to locate anyone who spoke English. We stopped multiple vehicles with no success and realized we had no idea of alternate ways to get back to the hotel.
After an hour of walking around and failing at any progress, we found a lady in the back of a store who's minimal English was sufficient to come to our rescue. She hailed a taxi, had a seemingly heated discussion with the driver, and rushed us into the back seat. Luckily we ended up at our hotel shortly after!
These days we never take for granted the advantages of technology when traveling!
Having just spent over 30 hours alternating between flights and airports, my family and I landed in Cape Town, South Africa with an awakened adventurous spirit. It was early afternoon local time which motivated us to opt to go straight to hiking Table Mountain. We were dehydrated and sleep deprived from the traveling which made the hike even more challenging, along with the detour we added (not recommended!!) that doubled the hiking time. However, the magnificent landscape and stunning views of Cape Town and the ocean kept us going and was totally worth it.
Soon, the sun was setting down, and we were down to five minutes left before the last cable car to go down the hill – if we missed it, we would have to hike down the mountain in the dark, without any lights. Unfortunately, my calves decided to cramp up at that time and refused to let up. Not only could I no longer walk, but I couldn't even stand up! It took two people to carry me to the cable car – just in time as the doors closed behind us!
First morning in Thailand, our friend wakes up with swollen eyes. It didn’t seem bad, so we went on our way. She felt fine, albeit a weird sensation in her eyes. However, after showering that evening, her eyes got really red. She made it for dinner but hurried to wash her face again when we got in to soothe the itchiness. Only after she was done, it finally clicked. She used a new brand of face wash cloths and was having an allergic reaction! She washed her face again with water and mild soap, took some allergy pills and went to bed. It had to be better in the morning, right?
Poor girl spent the entire night tossing and turning, cold compress on her eyes, unable to sleep. We took a picture of her in the morning and ran out to find a pharmacist to help. Many eye drops and pills later she was finally herself again! Whether you’re prone to allergies or not, during vacations is a really bad time to try new skin products!
I don’t know about you, but personally I don’t want to spend my vacation shaving. So in preparation, I always make sure to do all the necessary waxing the day before I leave. This way everything is smooth for most of the trip and I only have to do touch ups as required!
Trying to cut costs, I bought a no name brand of the wax strips I usually use. Legs went fine, bikini line as well. But when I got to the arm pits, it all went downhill real quick! The cheap wax stuck to the skin more than the hair and it ripped off a layer! The result was painful, irritated skin, and me spending all evening with my arms up to avoid rubbing.
Needless to say that deodorant was a no go until the irritation went away. I spent the first 3 days in over 30 degree heat, not able to wear deodorant. Sorry guys!!
Walking around one evening in Thailand, we stumbled upon someone’s wallet. Looking around, there’s nobody. We check for ID, call out the person’s name in the nearby shops, but no one answers. Our next thought is to bring it to the police, but as we start walking that way we begin doubting. What if they’re corrupt? It’s dark, we’re smack in the middle of tourist county, and everything around us screams tourist trap. Our thought was “they’ll never get it back”.
And so we ended up spending a good part of the evening playing detective. First, tracking down a tour company they had used to find their hotel, and then finding their room number by using the front desk info ourselves as the lobby was empty. Luckily for them we are honest people and brought it back intact - it could have gone the other way.
We lost an entire evening of our trip that night, but we were happy as they gave us money for frozen treats in exchange! We're also considering adding this new experience to our resumes, any thoughts?