I have enough misadventures that it just won’t fit into one post without getting too long. Maybe some travel insurance should now hire me to be their poster child and star in advertisements for how NOT to travel.
So without further ado, here’s the next 6 of my most memorable travel misfortune.
6. Classic I-Missed-the-Bus
I have been a very punctual person all my life, so I’ve NEVER missed a bus before. But this one is memorable because in fact, I arrived in Bremen bus stop 1.5 hour before departure! But how on Earth did I STILL miss it?
I saw many buses… Flixbus, Berlin Linien, Mein Ferbus. No Eurolines.
Just the night before, I had a misfortune of riding a Copenhagen-Bremen bus which came to a halt and I had to arrive 3am midnight (4 hours later!). I have also read online that Eurolines bus is often late, so when the bus hasn’t arrived, I thought it’s another punctuality issue.
That’s when this “Berlin Linien Bus” passed right in front of me and my eyes twitched when I saw the Eurolines logo not on the front like other buses, but on the side. How is that possible? I started running like mad chasing the bus, but after one traffic light, they were already too far away.
How I Survived
I approached ticketing and they also thought the bus has yet to arrive, insisting that I contact Eurolines’ call center. I was like… “I need to purchase a new bus ticket. Forget about this bus. Do you get it? It. Has. Left.” but it fell on deaf ears.
They just shooed me off the door and started talking about call center again. Since they didn’t want the money, I ran to the train station instead and managed to book another train, sadly at 4x the bus price but magically I arrived in Amsterdam on schedule!
CIRCLE all buses to make sure they aren’t using different brand names.
7. Nein Neuschwanstein
Marienbrücke, where all iconic Neuschwanstein Castle shots are taken from, is famously renovated in 2015-2016. Despite that, a lot of tourists have successfully crossed for “the shot”.
Not many have tried during harsh winter weather, though. And truth be told, I have NEVER trespassed anything before. But the temptation was huge, and after contemplating many times, I finally jumped over the barricade. Ran I did, and jumped over 3 more barricades I did.
I finally reached the bridge but alas, the door is now protected with electricity! I’m not gonna risk my life getting electrocuted, so I took the “slightly less risky” route down the gorge. I crossed over knee-deep snow(!) and panting heavily, I looked up to find “the shot”…
…except that it’s blocked by the bridge.
How I Survived
Well, I went home without the shot. But I did have many cool shots from the wild Germany forest and nice castle photos from alternative viewpoints.
Uhm… never trespass?
8. Broken Spectacles in Budapest
I was literally just sitting on my bed in Budapest, taking off my glasses with my hand when I realized that… eh, the temples are broken. Like, no falling down, no bump on the walls… just a regular night taking off my glass. And I still have 10 more days—did I really have to be content with just enjoying a “blurry” Europe?
How I Survived
Emergency times called for emergency measure. I took out a bandage and used it to hold the glass together. Ta-dah, it worked! (It’s real ugly though with a bandage sticking on your glass, but hey, it worked!)
Always bring a first-aid kit.
9. Stranded in Airport
We were about to take our flight to Bali via Lion Air when news broke that all Lion Air planes for that day (from any destination, to any destination) has been delayed and no Lion Air representative is contactable.
We ended up stranded in Jakarta’s airport with thousands others, with complete uncertainty. This case was well-reported in the news, including Wall Street Journal.
How I Survived
Five hours later than the scheduled, we finally caught the plane.
Lion Air is notoriously known for its lateness, but in the past this was an acceptable 1-2 hour lateness. But I’ve sure learned the importance of working with reputable vendors when traveling.
10. Where’s My Luggage?
Another classic case. I arrived at Amman 3 am midnight only to find that my luggage is not there. My gut says that it’s still in Abu Dhabi, where I transited. But I only have 1 day in Amman and I’ll be leaving to my next destination soon!
Not to mention I’m leaving to Wadi Mujib, a “guaranteed wet” destination and I don’t even have spare clothes! And I still have 22 more days to go, and not just in Jordan. Will the baggage successfully catch up with me as I move from cities to cities, countries to countries?
How I Survived
I filed a report to the airport’s lost-and-found quickly. The morning after that, I called to make sure that the luggage is already on its way from Abu Dhabi and I was informed that it’ll be delivered to my hotel. But I came back to my hotel only to find that it’s still not there!
On a desperate move, I activated my travel agency, driver and hotel staff for Plan B scenarios. Thankfully, the Plan B wasn’t needed. The baggage finally arrived after midnight and I couldn’t be happier when I saw my Cabin Zero the next morning.
Well, I’m never checking in my backpack ever again. Even if it’s not lost, it’ll save me so much time having the privilege to exit airport without waiting for the luggage conveyor belt. I might check in only if I have a lot to bring. But for backpacks, nah, I’ve learned my lesson.
And of course, the classic “solve things one thing at a time” always work.
11. No Electronics
What if the lost luggage were actually a blessing in disguise? As the baggage arrived, so did my watertight baggage, which I have so dearly trusted to help keep my electronics dry during my Wadi Mujib trail.
I was horrified to find that either water has leaked inside, or maybe I haven’t closed my bag properly… but clearly my electronics are now spoiled. My phone’s flashlight just couldn’t close and my camera kept snapping shots by itself, when suddenly everything just turned dead!
How I Survived
This has just happened today, so it’s more like… how will I survive?
I don’t know. There’s a pretty high chance that the electronics have already short-circuited, but I’m still hoping. Internet says I’m supposed to cover them with uncooked rice, but where the hell am I gonna find one now? I’m now covering the electronics with clothes to help absorb as much water as possible, while placing it near thermos with boiled water to help the water dry quickly.
I’m also already half-planning the possibility to buy a new camera when transiting back in Abu Dhabi before my Morocco leg, hopefully earlier.
Worst comes to worst, I’m ready to travel without electronics for the next 21 days. Hey, people used to do that before this century! Maybe it’ll help me to appreciate what I see with my own eyes and be more “in the moment”.
Stay positive… stay positive. Don’t let this ruin the moment.
Never trust watertight bag and what-nots again. If you go to water, chance is it’ll get wet somehow. I’d rather leave them behind next time. Or buy waterproof electronics next time.
If any of you know a solution to rescue my electronics, do drop me a Facebook message or blog comment below, which hopefully I can check if my next accommodations have computers. I’m still hoping…