Awkward Moments While Traveling: Part 1
Traveling isn’t always fun. Sometimes it is awkward, frustrating, or makes you fear for your safety.
This post is dedicated to all those unpleasant times.
While WWOOFing (Willing Workers On Organic Farms) at a cheese factory in a small town in New Zealand, I hung out with one of the girls that worked in the factory. We ended up at her friend’s house drinking 7%ers (canned drinks that have 7% alcohol volume), and hanging out with her friends, who were members of various New Zealand gangs. New Zealand gangs? Definitely an oxymoron. One of the guys was so intrigued that I was from America. He kept asking how gangs were in my country compared to New Zealand’s and if I had ever seen two opposing gang members in the same room before. I know I may appear to be an all-knowing authority when it comes to gangs in America, but unfortunately, dear Kiwi gang member, I am not.
After a botched Couchsurfing arrangement in Arizona, I booked a last minute camping reservation. It was the middle of summer with over 100 degree heat so I decided to come back and set up my tent when it was cooler. Being the genius that I am, I came back at night, and with only the faint light of my cell phone to help me, I attempted to build my 1 person tent. Did I mention that this was the first time I was building a tent all by myself? So after half an hour and numerous people walking by staring at my failed efforts, I gave up and slept in my car. It was warm so I left the windows down. The wind was strong that night due to an approaching storm. When I woke up that morning there was sand all over the inside of the car.
In Australia, I was sitting with my computer outside a travel agency, using their free wifi, when a disheveled guy sits right next to me. He informs me that he just got out of jail, after serving a 6-month sentence. After finding out that I was job searching, he says that he could get me a job picking marijuana up north. Unfortunately for him, I didn’t feel like getting arrested and told him I would just continue to search for a job on my own. He proceeds to ask if I have a boyfriend and I say “Yes, I’m meeting him later” (In times like these you don’t want to be single). He then asks if we can go out together and I asked, “To do what?” He responds: “To sleep together.” Despite the generous offer, I declined and slowly made my way back to my hostel.
My first day in France, tired, jet lagged, and hungry, I took a train from the airport to meet my friend. I managed to get on the train headed to my destination, but noticed that someone was in my assigned seat. I quickly consulted my English – French dictionary and with confidence, told the woman in French that she was in my seat. She asks me in English to see my ticket, looks at it, then informs me that she was in the right seat and that I was on the wrong car. At the next stop, I asked the conductor to direct me to the right car and again found someone in my supposed assigned seat. I didn’t want to get my ass handed to me again, so I found some room by the luggage section of the car and stood for the remaining 2 hours left of the train ride.
I attended a friend of a friend’s birthday party in the Philippines and just happened to lose most of the drinking games. I quietly made my way to the sink and threw up…a lot. Afterwards, I realized the sink was not draining, so I grab a bag of ice that someone had kindly given to me and begin filling it with vomit. My friend sees my predicament and tries to help me. He pours coke into the drain as if it were drain-o. Uhh….maybe he was drunk too. So his friend comes over and tries to help us. He places his hand in a plastic bag and manages to create a makeshift plunger. Success! Fail for him though…there was a hole in the plastic bag. There were a lot of apologizes I had to make that night.
A great thing about traveling is learning adaptability. Things don’t always run smoothly and unexpected occurrences happen all the time. All you can do is roll with it. Plus, the awkward moments make for great stories.