I'm a major procrastinator and it's no different when it comes to traveling. I can often be found at the airport trying to book my hotels, because I haven't taken the time to do it before!
On my last trip, I left everything to the last moment. As I was packing the last of my things, right before bedtime, I realized that I still hadn't waxed my legs. I decided to just shave them before I went to sleep since it would be much quicker. However, time flew by and I soon forgot about shaving.
I woke up a few hours later, put on my baggy capris pants and notice my furry legs. Shoot!! With no time to spare, I quickly took out a razor and dry shaved the portion of my legs that was showing and rushed out the door to catch my bus.
It wasn't until I was sitting cross legged in the plane that I realized my mistake! Sure, the shaved part was smooth as a baby's bum, but as soon as I would sit, my baggy pants would lift up higher and reveal a noticeable part of my unshaved legs. There was actually a very visible line separating my smooth white legs and the darker unshaved portion. How embarrassing!
I unknowingly went to Guatemala during rain season. Fortunately, the rain usually happened in the evenings, so I made sure to be up early to enjoy as much sunshine as I could!
One evening I was on my way to a pre-trek meeting in a light drizzle when it suddenly turned into a downpour. My waterproof jacket didn't do much to keep me dry. In no time, the streets became rivers and cars were splashing me at every chance! I quickly stuffed my not so waterproof bag inside my jacket and hurried to the meeting, looking like a pregnant wet cat.
The meeting went quickly, so the rain was still coming down as I made my way back to my hostel. My shoes were soaked and breaking at the seams, my clothes were all wet and dirty, and my hair a gorgeous mess of knotted, wet, frizzy hair. It was worst than if I had jumped in the shower fully clothed!
My hostel attendant saw me come in and to my dismay said "oh, but we have umbrellas!"
Have you ever been to Tokyo? It's huge, neon bright, and can be a tad overwhelming. It was the end of our three week vacation and we were exhausted. All we wanted that night was to eat at one of those cool sushi bars. You know, the one where the plates go around on a conveyor belt!
We seriously thought it would be easy to find. I mean, we were in Japan after all! We expected to be surrounded by sushi. But sadly, finding them was not as evident as we had originally thought. Our limited wi-fi access was no help at all.
We ended up walking around until late in the evening, stopping at restaurants with pictures on their menu (since we can't read Japanese!) starving until we got into an argument. Thankfully we got lucky at that point and happen to find a sushi bar! Just what we were looking for! Luck was on our side after all!
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 hallway 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 weighted our choices and opted for the shady looking route as opposed to risking having to deal again 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: Always stick to known areas at night!
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!