Ah, the start of a new year.
That magical time when you can look into a bright window of opportunities ahead, wipe your hands of the crap you dealt with the year before, and pray to anything that will listen that certain occurrences don’t happen again.
Because, let’s be honest, as fun and feel-good as it is to reminisce about all the good things that happened the year before, what you’re most excited about is waving goodbye to those horrible, stressful, embarrassing, and humiliating moments that you sometimes can’t believe even happened in the first place.
I know you know what I’m talking about.
Most people would rather flush those moments down the proverbial toilet and pretend that they never happened. However, as strong proponent of the concept that travel is not always pretty and perfect (despite what the ball gown-clad Instagrammers try to make you believe), I am willing to bask in the glory of my personal shame for your entertainment.
Normally I do roundups of the best and worst of the past year, but since I shared a positive personal post a couple weeks ago about my first year working for myself, I figure it’s time for the bad. So, without further ado, I give you my worst travel moments of 2017.
The Worst Road Trip of Life
Exploring some of western Canada with my best friend and her boyfriend was one of my favourite parts of 2017. However, our road trip to and from Banff definitely makes the worst list.
We didn’t get any pretty mountain views, blue skies, or wildlife on the 10+ hour drive from Vancouver to Banff Town. Instead we got smoke, thicker smoke, smokier smoke, and some fire blazes and emergency helicopters. Oh, did I mention that the air conditioning in the car was broken? Plus, was about 35 degrees Celsius outside? And, I’m an asthmatic?
So our car rides ended up being a roulette game of sweat-from-every-pore and hold-your-breath-we-need-air-movement. It was a lose-lose situation. We were hot, grumpy, disgusting, and I felt like I needed a lung transplant when we finally arrived and went hiking. And I say hiking loosely because my death wheezes and inability to breathe meant we didn’t do much, even with my inhalers.
I paid for that luck this year.
If you follow my facebook page you will probably know about my Turkish Airlines fiasco which involved not only screwing up seats I pre-booked and lying about it. But also smashing all the zippers clean off my luggage (how does that even happen)? But, since I didn’t report it first thing at the airport (I didn’t notice til I got to my Cairo hostel) Turkish Airlines left me high and dry to fork out another couple hundred bucks for a new, useable suitcase for the rest of my trip.
Thankfully travel insurance came in and saved the day (another reason why you should never travel without insurance). However, Turkish Airlines is on my no-fly list for the next while after the complete lack of customer service I received.
Revenge of the Mango Smoothie
If you ask me what the best thing I ate in Egypt was I will say the fresh mango juice. Yes, I know you don’t actually eat mango juice, but it was heaven and I drank it all the time. Fresh at a café or restaurant, from a little juice box that we bought at the store, basically however I could get it. My brother did too. I’m surprised we didn’t turn into human mangos. However, our love for this sweet yellow beverage came back to bite us in the ass when we decided to upgrade from juice to a cold smoothie after scuba diving in Dahab.
Ah, the joys of third-world country tap water ice cubes.
No amount of my favourite stomach bug conquering cure (coke) could fix what my brother and I had to deal with on our nearly 18-hour trip back to Canada. Needless to say we didn’t eat anything on the plane and by the time we landed it was a literal race to the toilet.
This year was my first year working for myself as a full time freelance writer, and with that came a few perks like press trips and meeting with PR reps for media events. Sounds pretty cool right? Sadly, I am the opposite of cool. I’m basically the clumsiest most embarrassing person in the world and managed to do the following:
- Battle a potted plant (and lose) in a hotel lobby in front of a team of about, oh, 40 media professionals in Florida.
- Tell a certain PR rep that he was THE CUTEST when I meant sweetest. (Freudian slip- yup).
- Full on fall into another PR rep’s arms because I tripped on… myself.
Thanks folks, that’s all for this show, we’ll see you next time.
Nearly Not Making it Home for Christmas
Remember earlier when I said I was being punished for last year’s airplane luck? I wasn’t kidding. On December 19th, five days before Christmas, my mom and I nearly weren’t allowed on our flight home from our Viking River Christmas market cruise.
Part of the Viking package we received in the mail was a booklet with all of our flight and ship details. So rather than print confirmation emails, I used these pages along with our passports to check in at the airport. It worked fine getting over to Europe, but not so much coming back. Apparently the pages only had the reservation number, not the booking number, so we didn’t show in the system. And the Lufthansa worker at the check in desk? She was all up for leaving us high and dry, telling us we could buy another ticket or miss the flight. She wouldn’t call anyone for me and since the airport had no free Wi-Fi and mom and I both have locked phones; we couldn’t call ourselves.
Queue complete panic.
After screwing around with the Hungarian payphone (which I couldn’t figure out) I finally just sat down, fired up my laptop, and went through every single correspondence I had with Viking over the past several months. Thankfully, in the depths of my inbox I found what she needed and we did get on the flight.
Was it a bad year? Nope, but these experiences definitely sucked and I’d be grateful not to have them happen again. However, since travel is not sunshine, rainbows, and unicorn glitter I can only imagine what I’ll get into next year.