When Travel Goes Wrong

Most people go home with lots of photos after their holidays. I went home with lots of scars to remember my last trip by.

As I sit here typing this, I look at different parts of my body and I remember vividly where I got each and every scar.

  • There’s the biggest one on my right elbow when I slid down the rocky river of Wadi Mujib
  • I can see at least four bite traces on my right arm from a desert camp’s dog in Wadi Rum
  • My left toe under the nail is literally black in color from bleeding after walking whole day in Abu Dhabi with a tight shoe I bought in Petra
  • My right thumb has a cut from sandboarding in Sahara desert
  • So is my left feet, an argan tree cut victim when watching tree-climbing goats on my way from Taroudant to Agadir
  • And then there’s the camel which headbutted me angrily out of nowhere when I’m in Agadir, thankfully this one left no visible scar

And when I unpacked my luggage, I recall all the lost and spoiled items:

  • There’s the shoe soles I completed spoiled in the Wadi Rum river
  • My one and only towel which gets blown by the wind somewhere in the Dead Sea
  • A nice blue cardigan which is probably still sitting in my Tangier riad
  • There’s a sandal I spoiled in Taghazout but I continued wearing, before it completely failed me in Essaouira (though a kind fisherman helped me fix it with a metal spike and rope, God bless him)
  • And the funniest of all, I popped my pants’ button when doing a jump shot on the Rif Mountains; thankfully there was no one else there other than my driver

Beyond minor physical injuries and material loss, though, the emotional scars cut a little deeper. The trip didn’t got off to a good start, and the ending isn’t exactly a bed of roses either.

  • Just before the trip, I had a row with someone very close and I didn’t even know if I’ll get to see this person ever again after the trip (Update 29-Oct-16: We parted in the end, peacefully. After 4.5 years of everything, it’s really a painful loss.)
  • When I arrived at Amman Airport on Day 1, already my luggage didn’t show up (and I was to leave to another city the next day)
  • On Day 2, my camera and mobile phone were completely damaged from the Wadi Mujib water incident
  • And when I bought a new phone, I soon learned that it cannot accept SIM cards outside Middle East. I had to email the phone manufacturer many times, and it took at least 10 days before they finally helped me unlock my Singapore SIM card. But it doesn’t even matter in the end…
  • …because my phone was robbed just before the trip ends anyway (including all 23-day worth of photos that I took. Poof! Just like that). But it’s not only my phone which gets robbed that night, but also my wallet, credit card, my identity cards, and the key to the bag where I lock my passport and all other belongings
  • I was stopped by two polices and threatened to be jailed for something I didn’t do when I’m on my way to Merzouga.

All of the above happens in just ONE TRIP. (And it hasn’t even been one month since I posted about My 11 Most Memorable Travel Misfortune, Part 1 + Part 2; I now have A LOT more materials to write about.)

But believe me, I try to stay positive. A lot.

I smiled sweetly and learned how to laugh at all the button-popping, blown towel and stuff.

And when I remember how I got all the scars in my body, I was like… “Those are proofs I had LOTS of fun, didn’t I?”

The emotional ones are a little harder for me to swallow. But they all came with valuable life lessons. I’d be lying to say that the theft incident, in particular, didn’t affect me. I went to bed that night secretly hoping God would rewind the time one day. I felt like there are so many things I could have done differently.

The day after the incident, my heart felt like it has taken a giant plunge. And on my last day, it felt really weird going home with empty pockets, having nothing else to really watch guard of other than my passport. With no phone distraction at airports, it’s hard not having my mind wander back to the night of incident.

It’s a very bitter experience… so bitter I’m not ready to share the details yet with anyone. It’s the most expensive lesson of all.

But it also made me STRONGER.

There’s a small grief period there, but I know I had a blast for the remaining time of the trip. I had many unforgettable experience to share stories of, and I can even remember the little details of small towns I passed by.

So that day on my 24-hour journey back to Singapore, I took out a piece of paper and started writing.

I jotted down the things I’ve seen and experienced during the trip so I can remember them well again later. All the sweet things which brought smiles back to my face.

I also made a list of places I loved the most since I first started traveling seriously 5 years ago, and feel grateful to have been blessed with so many opportunities to see the world.

More than that, I started writing about the places I want to visit next, knowing that I have many more adventures to live through. One or two, or a million hiccups, are NOT gonna stop me.

And here’s the big news…

I’m moving to travel industry beginning this October! (What more… I’m joining right the day after my birthday.)

When I first started this blog, I’m a typical cubicle-dweller just trying to realize my travel dreams. Soon, this is gonna change and travel will be a huge part of my life.

I may have left a decent-paying job of a Marketing Manager position to start over, and though I can proudly say I performed well in my job, I know I’ve made the right decision. I feel like it’s been so long since the last time I truly chased my passion.

I might not be able to rewind the time and took a different path to my life.

But I can restart and turn to a new chapter of my life.

And I can’t wait to embark on new, exciting journeys.

More travel misfortune stories:
My 11 Most Memorable Travel Misfortune (Part 1)
My 11 Most Memorable Travel Misfortune (Part 2)


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