Sometimes things are not instagram-worthy. Sometimes you fall or say something awkward. Sometimes you just fail when traveling.
Looking over this past year of living and traveling in Europe, there were definitely some travel fails. So I thought I would recount some of the best … or worst moments when traveling.
All of these are sad but also really just funny. Like how could I have been short-sighted? Others just … the elements of nature got together and made some less than fun situations. All in all, they’re funny to look back over.
At the end of the day, don’t be like me. Be better.
Here goes …
1. Leaving one of my Chucks in a rental car
I visited the United States for three weeks. During this time, I had many people to see.
When you attend university in a different city and spend time working in Wahsington, DC, you have people all over to see. My schedule was kind of crazy my last week in town. Basically I had my best friend’s bachelorette party in Asheville, NC and then I rented a car to drive myself from Asheville to DC so I could visit a friend up there.
The rental car lady saw that it was my birthday soon and upgraded me to this:
Halfway through my drive, I wanted to change to more comfortable shoes. At the time I was wearing my favorite red Chuck Taylors. I changed shoes and just tossed them in the back so I could quickly get back on the road.
When I went to return the car, I thought I had done a thorough look-through. I didn’t do a good enough job. The next morning I realized I left one of my Chucks in the car.
I was sad. To be honest, I’m still a little bit bummed. Those shoes had been all over with me. They were perfect. And now … I just have one.
2. Packing sundresses for the Azores
I never think to check the weather. I’m so bad about that. Other people check it and I always think “oh yeah, I should do that more.” So when my friend Karla invited me to the Portuguese Azores Islands in between Portugal and the United States, I imagined lush beaches and warm temperatures. I was thinking like a Portuguese Hawaii. Oh Lord could I not have been more wrong.
Did you know it was about to start raining here? Did you know that it was cold? Did you know that my trusty black sweater was either on the ground or being held by Karla? I packed a good 3-5 sundresses and yet only wore one … this one. The only thing that saved me was that I had packed for my entire summer in the Czech Republic, which I knew was going to have colder weather than Spain. So I had pants, sneakers and jackets as well. Phew.
Check the weather before you travel. Don’t be like me.
3. Fog at the Cliffs of Moher
I spent a long weekend in Dublin, Ireland at the beginning of April with my friend Mary Ann. She suggested we go on this Paddy Wagon tour that takes you from Dublin out to the beautiful Cliffs of Moher. They’re picturesque and by the sea. People love to get photos by the majestic waters. And they’re a nice day trip from Dublin.
However the fog that day was the worst. So here’s how my photos turned out …
I look awful here …
All we could really do was laugh about it. Also those are my beloved Chucks …
4. I almost lost my super nice camera
I swear sometimes I can just be in another world. I went to Andorra for a few days right after Christmas. We stopped in a grocery store to buy something … I cannot remember. Upon checking out, I set down my camera to pay. I then gathered most of my things and left.
After maybe about 10 minutes, I realize that I left my camera. I panic but am also hoping for the best. This is Andorra … one of the safest places in the world. People literally only ever come to Andorra to treat themselves.
So I sprint. When I arrive, I see that the cashier has my camera behind her desk. How nice. And I for sure am relieved.
I really need to be better with things like this.
5. Getting stuck under a faster and a snorer in Valencia
As many of my readers know, I love staying in hostels. As an English teacher, I travel on a budget. I also am very social and love meeting people from all over the world. So this means that I typically choose to stay in hostels. You just cannot beat 20-30 Euros a night.
Staying in a hostel dorm room has it’s ups and downs. I’ve been in rooms where the snoring kept me up most of the night. I’ve been in rooms that smelled bad. I’ve also had very pleasant experiences in hotels like this one.
I stayed at the Urban Youth Hostel in Valencia for Las Fallas. I will say that the room was set up nicely. Each bed had a curtain you could raise and lower for more privacy. Each bed had a locker you activated with a wristband and each bed had an outlet to charge your phone.
However I got stuck under a faster and a snorer. I really hit the jackpot. Oh hostels …
I will say that it always seems to me like women are less likely to snore than men. So if I have the option between a female dorm or co-ed dorm, I will always pick the female dorm.
The only thing that saved me was that I really never returned to the hostel 100% sober. So I just passed right out each night.
6. Walking around barefoot in a Spanish person’s home
In Spain I make a significant amount of income each month from teaching private lessons. I have about 7-8 families that I work with each week. I go to their home with all sorts of games and songs, and teach their children English.
One of my classes is with 3-year–olds. This means I sit on the floor a lot. When I first started with them, I was always wearing flats. So when we were on the carpet, my shoes just came off. Then they would need to use the potty like all children have to do every 10 minutes and I’d walk them to the toilet. I know the parents thought it was odd I would walk with them barefoot. They made comments … polite comments. But I picked up that you just don’t do that.
So … just never walk around a Spanish person’s home barefoot.
However a Czech person’s home? Well wearing your shoes there is a huge insult. So get barefoot as soon as you can.
Oh cultural differences. Sometimes you discover them by doing the wrong thing.
7. Not going to the Albambra
I live in Spain Granada. The most famous monument in Granada is the Alhambra. In fact, here I am posing in front of it. However I never quite made it inside.
I know I know … I spent a year living in Granada and never made it to the Alhambra. My first week in town was crazy. Just finding a place to live took up all my time. Then the school year started. After that, I just kept telling myself “next weekend … next weekend.”
So I’ve decided that next year there are no excuses. If I cannot find anyone to go with me, I will go alone. But I hope I can find someone who wants to go with me. Anyone?
Well there you have it. What have some of your best travel fails been?