My Worst Travel Moments of 2016

My Worst Travel Moments of 2016

Let’s be realistic here. When it comes to travel, things go wrong. Things ALWAYS go wrong. There really is no such thing as the perfect trip, the perfect destination or the perfect year…and if anyone else is telling you there is, it’s bullshit.

One thing I take pride in when it comes to this blog is that I’ll tell you the good, the bad and the ugly. And I probably won’t sugarcoat it for you. While I may not have written about all of these moments, I probably shared them in some shape or form on social media. Some of these moments were funny, some were painful and some made me want to cry.

Whether they resulted in me laughing, crying or breaking down completely (and irrationally!) below are my worst travel moments of 2016. My job won’t look *quite* so dreamlike after reading this…

If you have some funny or difficult travel memories you would like to share, please leave a comment!

I cracked my head open and broke my front tooth

My own little Koh Tao horror story. Barely 24 hours on Koh Tao (an island some people refer to as a slice of paradise and others believe to be an island where everything goes wrong!) and I fainted trying to turn on the fan in our dorm. I cracked my head open on the corner of a bed, knocked out my front tooth , then went unconscious. I woke up to my hair matted in blood, a huge bump on my head and a gash in the back on my head. Great start to my time in Thailand!

I was homeless in South Korea

One of the absolute worst travel moments of the year was coming to the realisation that the hostel I had booked and paid for, but simply could not find after 3 hours walking in the rain, actually did not exist. Everything else was booked up, I had no internet on my phone and I simply broke down and cried in a cafe. My snapchat followers saw it all, every last tear. Two locals came to my rescue and bought me a hot chocolate, and then the cafe owner let me use the internet to contact an old friend to come rescue me!

I deleted all my drone videos

After I bought my drone this summer, I shot some of the most amazing footage of my life around Ireland.  I *thought* I had transferred it all to a USB so deleted all my files. Turns out they had never transferred. I cried, again.

I lost all my drone videos

More drone videos, mainly of Switzerland, Albania, Slovenia and Greece….gone forever. How does a tiny micro SD card just snap in half? When you accidentally drop your laptop on the floor, that’s how. No tears, just head bashing.

I had diarrhoea in paradise

I think anyone who reads my blog has, unfortunately, read about this. That time I was invited to a 5 star resort in the Maldives and had the worst stomach cramps of my life. You can read more here.

All my snaps deleted

For someone who loves social media as much as I do, and was working so hard to show my followers my experiences in the Maldives, the day all my snaps deleted was the day I lost all interest in Snapchat. My videos of paradise, my boat trip, dolphins jumping along side the boat, jumping on to a pristine sandbar, funny photo shoots on the beach. All gone forever. I cried like a little baby, and explained my devastation to my followers, but from that day on I don’t snap like I used to.

Refused visas in Egypt

It all started with not being able to get out hand on US dollars while in Egypt. What a fiasco. When we eventually got our hands on the dollars, the Ethiopian and Sudanese embassies still refused us those much sought-after visas. No visas resulted in an untimely end to my dream trip through Africa. Honestly there is so much more to write about this, and will need to wait for another day, but suffice to say this was the worst thing that happened to me in 2016. READ: Why Our Trip Is Finished.

Severe Delhi Belly ruined me

One of my most vivid memories from my trip to India on the Kerala Blog Express, one which I have not written about, was that I had the worst Delhi belly for almost a week. On two particular days the cramps and pain was so severe I had to miss some activities and just curl up in bed….never too far from the toilet! When I did go out with the group, all I could think about was “Where’s the nearest toilet?”

My drink got spiked

Getting your drink spiked is never a pleasant experience but it’s that bit scarier when you are travelling solo through Thailand. For me I was at a hostel on Koh Phangan and went out with 2 guys for some drinks. After the first drink we ordered, that the guys bought, I started to feel very dizzy and sick. They tried to persuade me to stay, dragging me on to the beach to dance, but I just ran straight back to the hostel where I proceeded to vomit for the next 24 hours.

My GoPro was stolen

My new GoPro was stolen from my bag on one of my first trips of the year – resulting in no GoPro footage for the remainder of the year. I’m unsure of exactly which airport it was taken out of my bag, so let’s just say somewhere between London, Sri Lanka and India. Note to self: NEVER put valuables in your checked luggage!!

Verbally abused in Morocco

My relationship with Morocco has, and always will be, a bit of a love hate one. I LOVE the food, the landscapes, the surfing and the people (well, most of them!). I hate the abuse I get no matter who sensible I am dressed. The cat calling, the vulgar comments, the marriage proposals and camel trades. This January was the worst as I was solo and had one man follow me 20 minutes across town, almost as far as my hostel, saying he liked my “body shape” and wanted to do unthinkable things to me. Not sure I’ll ever go back without a male friend, or at least a fake wedding ring! I’ve also written some tips for other female travellers going to Morocco.

 

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11 Comments

  1. January 4, 2017 / 10:31 pm

    HOLY COW! That thing with the drink is scary as f*ck!

  2. January 4, 2017 / 11:38 pm

    Janet, I am totally agree with the phrase “and if anyone else is telling you there is, it’s bullshit.” I’d been to European country last year with my family in law and my bro in law lost his GoPro in Zugspite! Your drink got spiked makes me think twice of travelling alone. I’m going for my first solo trip to Vietnam and Bandung soon and all worst moment above makes me super duper scared. Anyway, I will look at the positive way. :)

  3. January 5, 2017 / 5:29 am

    WOWZA! So much more respect and pride for you knowing how much you’ve been through, yet still hold your head high and deliver amazing and consistent content. Can’t wait to see what 2017 has in store and I know it will come with its fair share of nightmare-ish stories, and you will turn it around just like you did with these. Godspeed!

  4. January 5, 2017 / 9:57 am

    Love this post Janet! So funny, and so true. In life, things go wrong all the time, and that doesn’t change when you travel – if anything, it gets worst because you’re out of your comfort zone. I’ve had my fair share of disasters this year. But a lot of my stories, like your Korea one, have happy endings – locals showing you how many kind and good hearted people there really are in the world. Sometimes things have to go wrong for you to really appreciate when they go right!

    And if the drink spiking story is putting anyone off solo travel, don’t let it. The exact same thing could happen at home, and often happens in London etc. Solo travel means you need to be more careful – only get your own drinks, for example. Be sensible and look after yourself, but do travel :)

    Also, I was following your Africa story and really felt for you when it fell apart. But I’m convinced these things happen for a reason. Perhaps that trip just wasn’t meant to be – onwards and upwards this year I think!

  5. Noeleen
    January 5, 2017 / 10:00 am

    Wow Janet, I feel your pain on losing photos. Has happened me numerous times on my travels with cameras getting lost or stolen, mostly stolen. It’s so upsetting!
    One of my worst experiences was getting my camera & phone robbed out of a locked locker in a locked hostel room in Cancun. Turns out if the locker looks battered around the door chances are it’s been broken into before… and the ‘lock’ on the hostel door was one of those they use in bathrooms… which can be opened with a coin. Spotted them a lot in Central America. Very annoying, thought things would be safer locked away.
    Lookin forward to hearing how you get on in Mexico etc. Spent 3 weeks there a few years ago before travelling south, amazing place!

  6. January 5, 2017 / 10:20 am

    I had a similar experience with a drink in Indonesia (Amed Bali). I was with a French girl I was travelling with, three Italians we met there and their Balinese friend from Ubud, Ketut. At the end of the dinner, we all had the same drink. I was the only one to see the stars dancing in the sky and the bed was as a magic carpet! And guess what: the whole day, the waiter was after me and wanted me to go to a beach party at night… As I couldn’t stay in the bed, I was sitting on the terrace in front of the sea and when Ketut understood something was wrong, he took care of me.

  7. January 5, 2017 / 12:06 pm

    Love this post, Janet! It’s so important to share the less glamorous parts of travelling!

    I really feel you with those Snaps and photos getting lost, and I’d really struggle without my GoPro! I can’t believe the drink spiking, it’s disgusting how low some people can be. Glad you managed to get home! :)

  8. January 5, 2017 / 2:20 pm

    Brilliant post. Great to read the lows along with the highs – as we definitely all have them!

  9. January 6, 2017 / 8:14 am

    Oh Janet. :( You haven’t had a good year. You’re one tough cookie

    I have to agree with you on your last point. The abuse I copped in Morocco was like no other. It broke me. I went through the emotions of sad and angry asking myself why am I being targeted. Local kids threw rocks at me when walking through the souks. Travelling with Russ (husband) and wearing a ring, and by the end of our stay, I resorted to wearing a headscarf every time we left the Riad. Tough destination IMO.

    Heres hoping 2017 is A LOT better for you.

  10. January 7, 2017 / 5:32 pm

    As for the lost drone footage, before you ever do anything with your SD Cards in the future, my advice is to search online for free recovery software. Even though we may have “deleted” our photos, we have actually only deleted the file names. Unless you take another photo or video clip, you can still recover those deleted files. I have done this a few times in the past couple of years due to my laptop crashing on me. You may not get 100% of your footage/photos back, but at least you will get a majority of them.

    Otherwise, I enjoyed following along your overland adventure from England to South Africa via Instagram. It sucks that you had to call it off, but hopefully, you can re-attempt this adventure in the future or visit more of Africa as you will. And hearing about the spiked drinks pisses me right off! If I were there, then I would have broken their necks for you. Unreal. From how I am interpreting it, did you meet these two guys at the hostel and then went for drinks? How low can you be to do that to a woman?

  11. January 15, 2017 / 9:45 pm

    I love this post! Thank you for being so honest, and the next time I travel solo I will definitely remember to be extra aware of my items and surroundings.