But today, I've decided to pull back the curtain and talk about my travel disasters. Because my life is not perfect, my experiences are not all captured in a perfectly-composed, expertly-filtered photo, and sometimes I just get tired of the forced glossiness of blog posts. We're gettin' real over here today!
+ I went to Israel on birthright, which meant traveling with a group of close to thirty other college students. That in itself was exhausting, but it started to unravel a bit when I broke my toe while hiking in the Negev. Now, if I had to break a bone I'm lucky it was just a toe, but you try injuring yourself in the middle of a desert (hint: there's no ice. Shocker, right?). Eventually we made it to civilization (read: ICE!) and our medic helped me wrap my toe (and foot, and ankle… Ace bandages are gigantic), and I was able to hobble along okay. I'm really good at just sucking up my discomfort and powering through, but on the very last night of our trip (with a full day the next day still to come), I got an ear infection. Guys. That was almost beyond my threshold of powering through. But with only one day left before going home, I didn't have much of a choice. Needless to say, on that last day I was exhausted and gimpy and my head felt lopsided and I couldn't hear very well. Not a good look.
All this for a broken big toe.
+ I've talked about this incident before, but it bears repeating: the infamous Parisgate. We had planned to take trains around Europe on the Eurail ticket while we were backpacking, but upon arriving in Paris we realized it was Easter weekend and there were ZERO seats available on any trains to Venice. We were stuck. So we decided to bite the bullet and book flights on a budget airline. But when we got to the airport, we realized that they had completely screwed us and changed the date of our tickets without alerting us. So we were all but forced to pay several hundred extra euros to change our tickets to when we actually needed them. There were some tears shed in the airport, but we did eventually make it to Venice and immediately drowned our rage in gelato and a walk along the canals. (But I still harbor a bit of a grudge against Paris and the unfriendly attendants at both the train station and the airport for this situation. It was completely miserable.)
+ Honestly, Eurotrip itself could be looked at as a two-and-a-half-week disaster. Not only was there Parisgate, but almost every subsequent city had its problems. In Venice my plantar fasciitis started to act up, which left me with severe foot pain and had me hobbling around the city (and for the rest of the trip, in varying degrees). In Berlin, I killed my tailbone during our bike tour, making it excessively painful to do things like bend at the waist and, y'know, sit down. And in Copenhagen, I somehow managed to bruise one of my Achilles heels which, once again, left me with severe pain and no choice but to hobble around some more. Long story short: Europe absolutely kicked the crap out of me. I returned to London and essentially hibernated (and recuperated) for a week.
The best friends are the ones who offer to carry you around Europe because it feels like there's a knife in your foot. :)
+ While I've never missed a flight (*knocks on wood* *throws salt over shoulder* *runs outside to search for a four-leaf clover*), I've certainly had my share of near misses. Like, 90% of my flight connections through the Dallas airport. And that time in Cardiff when we realized we had no idea where we were supposed to catch our bus back to London and ended up sprinting around the bus station trying to find it. Good times. Goooooood times.
Now, I'm not writing all of this to complain about it. Those injuries and extra costs and panic may have seemed catastrophic in the moment, but now I look back and can laugh about all of it. (Except Parisgate. I'm still angry about that.) Everything that's happened has given me great stories to tell! And when you're climbing a mountain with a broken toe, it puts into stark relief just where your priorities lie; a lifetime of memories is so much more important than a moment (or several hours) of discomfort (or extreme pain).
So, let's hear it! What are some of YOUR travel disasters?