Well, not all things were done while traveling. A few were beforehand. But all in the act of traveling.
The first is a common mistake I think many people have had: missing a flight.
But I felt extra bad about this one, because at the time, back in 2014, it had been my first time to ever leave the country and go abroad, working overseas… and then like an idiot, I missed my flight. I had arrived at the airport quite early and being that my departure gate was very full, I decided to sit a couple of gates away. Ours is a small airport, and so I could easily see the gate, and read the computer screen from where I was sitting. But, as fate would have it, I got distracted by a fellow who sat down next to me and our conversation bounced all around, but mostly, I remember talking about photography….
The next thing I know, I look up and realized that it’s about 10 minutes past the time when I was supposed to depart. I got up abruptly and made my way to the counter where the woman informed me that I had missed my flight. I had this lurch in my stomach and I could feel my blood drain away from my face, as I sat back down wondering what to do next. I thought about it a long time… but when I finally returned to the counter, the woman told me I could easily have a flight booked the next morning, as long as it was the same time, flight change, etc, and it wouldn’t cost a thing because I had (thankfully) bought travel insurance for my flight. Imagine the relief I had! Of course, I had to let my host know that I had missed my flight. She found it extra funny because she was, coincidentally, a flight attendant. Figures 😀
The second mistake I made was not buying travel insurance.
Now, I had purposely, yet, not purposely done this. I say that because I of course didn’t buy any beforehand, but it was accidental for I had absolutely no idea that travel insurance existed. I hadn’t done that much research at the time. I simply wanted to hurry and get out the door to explore the world!!
The possibility of perhaps breaking something and landing in a hospital while I was away overseas was possibly the last idea that would’ve entered my mind. And you know, I was very lucky for, on my first trip overseas, I had had a small bike accident that could’ve turned very nasty indeed had I not slowed done when I did, coming from that steep hill.
I still shudder to think about it…
Mistake #3 – traveling without a phone.
Well, a smartphone. I had a phone. A simple one, and again… I had not had the slightest idea it wouldn’t work while being overseas. It wasn’t until later I learned about unlocked phones and dual sims, etc…
I had gotten along okay without a phone, but it would’ve been so much better to have a way to communicate with my host about when I’d be coming home if something came up, or if I were late, or if there was a delay on the train, etc… Plus, it’s nice to have a means of communication with friends and family. I’ve made so many more friends since I last went overseas, though…
But really….. at this day in age, who in their right mind would travel without a phone??
Mistake #4 Forgetting my wallet
Ahhhh yes… I shall never forget the day when I was dropped off extra early at the bus station in Lörrach, Germany to begin my journey to Munich. I had left the house that morning feeling like I was forgetting something. I checked my purse. Twice. Three times. My phones were there. My passport was there. My ticket was there. My makeup. My earphones. My sunglasses. My phone charger.
I didn’t even notice the huge bulk of my wallet missing.
No, it wasn’t until I had to use the restroom and was fumbling around for a couple of euros that I realized my wallet wasn’t there. Why, might you ask, was my wallet not in my purse to begin with? Well, I had taken it out that morning to get some money out and repay my host for some money I had borrowed from her a few days prior. And I simply forgot to stick back in. I was in such a frenzy that morning. I had been in the middle of packing when she interrupted my concentration and it was my absent state of mind that caused me to stick my wallet inside the drawer beside my bed.
So here I was. At the bus station. Can’t call my host and asked to be driven back for my wallet. No. There was a terrible traffic jam that morning. Besides, my bus was due in perhaps 20 mins. It took an hour to arrive at the station. I thought quickly. I had my passport to get over the Swiss border, where the bus would be cutting through, and I had my ticket to get to Munich. That was enough. I would just have to let my friend know what had happened.
I had been in such a state of affairs. This was a friend I had been longing to meet. The day finally arrived when lo and behold, I would be a burden because of a lost wallet.
But coincidentally, when I arrived in Munich, and after a friendly greeting, he informed me of some equally bad news: he had accidentally lost his wallet the night before by leaving it on the train.
I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.
“I also have bad news,” I remember saying. And I told him. We both just stared at one another for a moment. “Oooh. Okay, this is not good.” he had said.
But you know what? We did it. We survived Munich for 3 days without our wallets. He was able to borrow a bit of cash from some friends, and all went well. We kept things simple, and had a wonderful time together touring Munich, him showing me around the city. Of course, I must mention the small issue I had with the hotel, when they informed me my bank card didn’t work, and I had to present another, which I didn’t have because I didn’t have my wallet. I had explained this, but to no avail. I was forced to call up a few friends and eventually got ahold of my host. I had to ask her to please pay for the hotel, and I would repay her when I returned.
So other than that, it was fine.
Oh and I also had to rebook my return train ticket because I didn’t have my bank card for that either.
What a drag 😛
Mistake #5: And so the last mistake I made was when I got off the bus with a complete stranger. What made it worse, was that it was at night, and I had no phone with me, no way to communicate, or anything… I had been 18 at the time, while the guy was at least 40.
Don’t tell me. I know.
Don’t even ask me why I did it. I couldn’t tell you. I knew I made a mistake as soon as I said yes and especially when I stepped off the bus, following him down the dusty road to the house, where he was staying with a family. I just told myself to stay calm, and fake confidence and control. I also prayed to dear God that I wouldn’t be mugged or anything and end up in a gutter by the end of the night.
Perhaps I should not have read so many Sherlock Holmes or crime stories at the time…
But, in the end, he ended up being true to his word. He fixed me a decent cup of tea, which I barely drank, and I told him I had to go home. He walked me out to the bus stop. I didn’t like the way he watched me, but I again faked so much control and tried to act years beyond my age. He knew he was too old for me, and I could see a mix of conflict in his face. He was debating with himself…I could also see regret. The bus soon arrived and I was off! Whew!
Never again would I do anything so dumb.
I soon had the opportunity to prove that, not but a few days later. But that’s another story. Hardly exciting.
So! These are my top 5 silly/dumb mistakes I made in the course of my travels. I consider my self lucky for I’ve read and watched quite a number of mistakes made by other travelers and I think I’ve got it good.
I did make a video on YouTube talking a bit about these things, but I thought a blog post would allow me to write in more detail about my little mishaps.