What Was Your Worst Travel Moment?
I was skimming through some questions Johnny Jet sent me in preparation for appearing in his Travel Style Q&A section when I came to that one. My worst travel moment? A montage of hideous memories flashed through my mind.
There was the time Rich and I went camping in the Peruvian Amazon, 18 miles by canoe from the modest comforts of our base camp. The jungle was alive with mosquitoes, fire ants, caimen (an alligator-type reptile), monkeys, and, as the guides casually mentioned while starting a cooking fire, probably bushmasters, the incredibly aggressive, poisonous, 14-foot snakes that are attracted to light and heat.
Then the big storm hit. In moments all the humans were huddled together inside the leaky tent, water dripping down our necks to pool on the floor. Just when I though I couldn’t feel more miserable, one of the guides said, ““Don’t go out of the tent tonight. But if you do, there’s a machete by the door. Use it.” Immediately I pictured myself standing outside in the torrential downpour, machete in one hand, flashlight in the other, trousers down around my ankles, fending off a ravenous bushmaster. The guide added helpfully, “If you just have to take a leak, we have plastic bags.” That was at 6:00 pm. It was a long, long night.
But did that really trump the horror of getting stranded alone in the middle of the night in a very dubious New Delhi neighborhood?
Rich and I had taken the overnight train down from the Pakistani border, and hours before our scheduled arrival time in New Delhi, the train lurched to a stop and stayed there. Rich stumbled out into the corridor to ask someone where we were. “Delhi,” the man said. Rich burst back into the compartment. “We’re here! Get your stuff! We have to get off!” Three minutes of mad scrambling and we were out the door, running down the corridor and leaping off the train.
It was only then that I noticed there was no sign marking the station. Were we really in Delhi? I looked around for someone to ask, but the platform was deserted except for a dozen people sleeping curled up under what appeared to be burlap sacks, and a few glowering youths leaning against the back wall. Then Rich said, “Do you think we left anything behind?” And before I could say “Who cares?” he had jumped back on the train and dashed up the corridor.
And that, of course, is when the train took off. Yes, that was definitely among my worst travel moments. You can imagine my relief when Rich reappeared and made a flying leap off the train onto the platform. And the station did, in fact, did turn out to be in New Delhi, although nowhere near the downtown area we actually wanted.
But how to choose the very worst moment? What about the time we were on a small, private plane in Mexico, and I looked over to see a plane exactly like ours that had crashed and been dragged to the side so we could take off? And who could forget that toilet hut in rural Guatemala, the one that was so gruesome I simply threw away my shoes afterwards?
Bad times make for good stories. Nobody wants to hear about the connections we make with ample time, the flawless white sand beaches we stroll upon, or the bartenders who really know how to fashion a dry martini. As delightful as such experiences are when they happen to me, I find telling those stories to others tends to elicit yawns and snores. But we all love listening to tales of disasters averted and challenges overcome. There’s nothing like a narrow escape for reminding us how sweet life can be. So ... worst travel moment ever? I’m still not sure, but I think it might have something to do with white sand beaches and a perfect dry martini.
What's your worst travel memory? Your best? Are they one and the same?
YOU MIGHT ALSO ENJOY
2/26/2015 09:33:12 am
Bot have you guys been on some amazing adventures. My worst? I was 5 months pregnant with first child. We decided to take a final trip to the Bahamas before it got crazy with baby. Getting there was fine...but it was cloudy and windy the whole time. a storm had come in. The worst was on the way home when we had to wait about 8 hours in the airport down there because the plane broke down and they did not have another one. Mind you, I am pregnant, tired and hungry. On the plane we had to fill out custom papers...I had no pen. I was so irritated that I said I was not going to even bother. Well, once we got back (Newark) we had to go through customs...I did not fill out my paperwork. I was so upset by this point. The customs agent would not let me go through without filling it out. I threw a fit yelling and crying that I was tired and just wanted to go home. He was not happy to say the least...need I say more...
2/26/2015 10:41:49 am
Andrea, what a horrible time you had! It's so frustrating when a vacation you've been looking forward to turns out to be a dud. And being pregnant, tired and hungry is always a dangerous combination. Put that all together and it's no wonder that a small thing – like not having a pen – can make things spiral out of control. If it's any consolation, I suspect that customs agent was as miserable as you were by the end of it.
2/26/2015 10:55:14 am
As I know you do, I don't consider any travel experience as "Worst." This past fall, returning from Paris our plane blew out an engine that required us to turn around and return to Paris dumping fuel all the way back. That was not the worst part, however. The worst part was the Paris Air France ground Crew who had NO Earthly Idea what to do with us and made us stand for hours (On two different occasions) before putting us on other airlines (Not Air France) to get home. It was by far the worst customer service ever. Can you imagine being served soggy, tasteless, white bread sandwiches in France?
2/27/2015 02:06:47 am
Crummy food in France? Now that is shocking. The airline debacle is, alas, only too common. Rich and I spent the first night of our honeymoon stranded in a Florida airport waiting lounge ... not quite the night we had anticipated! And as in your case, Duane, the crew had no earthly idea what to do with us for 12 long hours. And people wonder why I prefer trains!
9/25/2021 05:32:33 pm
Great article! Thank you for sharing this informative post, and looking forward to the latest one. If you are looking for coupon codes and deals just visit coupon plus deals dot com
Leave a Reply.
Winner of the 2023 Firebird Book Award for Travel
#1 Amazon Bestseller in Tourist Destinations, Travel Tips, Gastronomy Essays, and Senior Travel
This blog is a promotion-free zone.
As my regular readers know, I never get free or discounted goods or services for mentioning anything on this blog (or anywhere else). I only write about things that interest me and that I believe might prove useful for you all to know about. Whew! I wanted to clear that up before we went any further. Thanks for listening.
TO I'm an American travel writer based in Seville, Spain.
Wanderlust has taken me to more than 60 countries. Every week I provide travel tips and adventure stories to inspire your journeys and let you have more fun — and better food — on the road
Don't miss out!
SIGN UP HERE
to be notified when I publish new posts.