The Stupid Things I’ve Done While Traveling


Now that I’ve been travelling for over three months, I thought it was time to post an update. Have I developed an amazing sense of direction that prevents me from ever getting lost? Do I now remember to apply suntan lotion and mosquito repellent every time I go outside?

… I think you know the answer to that.

I wrote in some detail about the really major things – such as walking around Kiev for three days with my map upside down, as well as using an unlicensed cab in Moscow and ending up paying £50 for a journey that should have cost £15.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Here are some of my favourite stories of stupidity from the past three months.

Exploring Ljubljana alone at night

After hearing that the views from Ljubljana Castle at sunset were among the best in Slovenia I decided to hike up to the Castle alone to check them out for myself.

It takes fifteen minutes to walk up the hill to the castle and involves walking along winding unlit paths through what is essentially a dense forest.

The views from the castle were so spectacular that I couldn’t bring myself to leave after sunset and remained until 9pm taking photos. I soon realised that this was a big mistake when I saw my route back down the hill was pitch-black and full of hidden slopes where I could quite possibly fall to my death.

Deciding to take another route I walked back towards the car park and found the main road that led down from the castle.

Upon reaching the bottom I realised that I was now on the opposite side of where I needed to be and had no idea where I was. I couldn’t see any buildings or signposts – only trees and sketchy looking teenagers smoking.

It was at this point that I realised I was going to die.

Silently crying to myself and seeing my life flash before my eyes I staggered through the streets, being heckled by Slovenian teenagers, desperate just to see a street sign, a car, anything.

Just as I was about to give up and accept the fact that I was about to die, I spotted a cab a few roads away. I ran into the beam of his headlights, terrifying the driver as I squealed in happiness and lept up in front of him with a manic look in my eyes.

Little did he know, he had just saved my life. 

———–

Taking the wrong train that then turned out to be the right train.

In Taiwan I had planned to take the train from Taichung to Kaohsiung in the south of the island. I actually did some research for once and arrived at Taichung train station knowing exactly where I had to go. Kaohsiung was the final stop of the High Speed Rail – easy.

It soon turned out not to be so easy when I discovered that every single train was going to Zuoying – not Kaohsiung. Where the hell was Zuoying?!

I had no idea what to do.

I bought a ticket for Tainan – a place whose name a recognised as a station close to Kaohsiung and hoped that when I arrived there I’d be able to figure everything out and find a way to get to Kaohsiung.

lotus park kaohsiung

As I was waiting to board my train I happened to notice that the train station had free Wi-Fi. I quickly had a look online to work out what I would need to do when I arrived at Tainan.

I found out that Zuoying is the train station for Kaohsiung!

…So I had to take the train to Tainan and get off there, buy a new ticket and then wait on the platform for two hours to take the next train to Kaohsiung. So much for my amazing research skills.

————

Not realising the importance of mosquito repellent

I never get bitten by mosquitos.

I always believed that I must have really foul tasting blood because they will never approach me and I’ve never had to bother with insect repellent before in my life.

That is until I got to Seoul. 

In Seoul I am completely irresistible to every type of bug that exists there. I woke up after spending my first night there and counted 38 bites on the right-hand side of my body.

38!

Fortunately, the bites here don’t seem to make me itch so it wasn’t as bad as it could have been, but I did have to walk around for a week looking like I had just had a severe acne outbreak on one side of my face.

———

Deciding to visit Hong Kong for Halloween.

Having spent the last few weeks doing nothing in Seoul, it was time for me to move on and actually get down to doing some real traveling!

buddha hong kong tian tan

I have a lot of friends in Hong Kong so thought it would be fun for me to visit them for Halloween.

I booked the flights and then started having a look at hostels and it was then that I discovered nearly every single hostel was fully booked. The ones that weren’t fully booked cost $100 a night.

I should have stayed in Seoul for an extra 3 nights before going to Hong Kong and it would have made everything a lot less stressful.

————

On top of all this…

  • I also managed to lose several pairs of shoes.
  • I had £100 stolen because my money fell out of my pocket onto the floor and I couldn’t be bothered to pick it up, so someone else did.
  • An old chinese lady frightened me so much that I threw my Kindle across the room and smashed the screen.
  • Thinking I could walk five miles to my hostel at midnight through a dodgy area in Taiwan.

What’s the most stupid thing you’ve done whilst traveling?

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34 Comments

  1. I Hart Travel
    October 30, 2011
    Reply

    What did that Chinese lady do to scare you so much?
    I heard that there are a ton of conventions in HK this time of year and it’s considered one of the high seasons.
    And mosquito repellant is definitely a must throughout Asia.

    • Lauren
      October 31, 2011
      Reply

      It’s really pathetic – she glared at me and then spat on the floor, aiming at my feet! It scared me so much that I chucked my kindle across the room haha!

      Definitely learnt my lesson about the mosquito repellent now :-)

  2. Mica
    October 30, 2011
    Reply

    Ahahah ok sorry not laughing at you, laughing with you…You are laughing right? Right? I also want to know what that Chinese lady did to scare you enough to smash your screen. Shitballs.

    Definitely take care and apply bug spray. Recently, we took a motorbike trip up from our place in Chiang Mai to Pai to visit a friend. She didn’t mention the giant mosquitoes up there. I got bit even though I wore socks and shoes and used the mosquito net.

    When we got home I admired all my bites and scratched them a bit. The next day I woke up with a bowling ball where my skinny ankle used to be. Ended up in the hospital with an infection and had to be given an IV drip of antibiotics and 2 other meds + an anti inflammatory pill. A walking pharmacy. Had to put my foot up all week long.

    And this after I lived in the amazon for months getting bit by things and never having any problems. I’m convinced Thailand is trying to kill me. Be careful. Apply the spray of the bugs.

    • Lauren
      November 24, 2011
      Reply

      Yeah, totally, I’m so laughing :)

      The Chinese lady didn’t -really- do anything! She just spat at me and it made me jump so I threw my kindle across the room. As you do.

      That sounds terrifying! The size of a bowling ball?! Yikes! Not especially reassuring as I’m heading that way within the next few days….

  3. Runaway Brit
    October 31, 2011
    Reply

    Most stupid thing I have ever done while travelling was when a female friend and I got off a bus near Anjuna, Goa – watched the bus sail off into the distance and then realise that we were nowhere near ANYTHING. We were stood on an empty road, there wasn’t even a bus shelter! It was almost dark, totally deserted and the next bus wasn’t until 2 days later.

    Suddenly a guy rides up on a motorbike and asks if we need accommodation. As we desperately did we agreed to go with him to look at a guest house. He said he could only take one of us to see the place and then come and get the other if we decide to stay.

    It was only when I was sitting on the back of the bike, hurtling down a steep mountainside covered in dense jungle, that I realised I could have made a dangerous mistake and there was absolutely nothing I could do about it. I was convinced I was about to be raped and killed.

    Thankfully it was fine and he did take me to see a lovely guesthouse that we agreed to stay at, but I would be much more cautious next time and I have never told my mother this story!

    • Lauren
      November 24, 2011
      Reply

      Wow, what an amazing story!! I would have been really terrified too, but at least it all worked out for the best.

  4. Gladys
    October 31, 2011
    Reply

    You mentioned my fav place – Taiwan!! Miss it soo much….

    Anyway can i ask.. how did you manage to fund for your long term travel? My only plan and strategy now is to save….

    • Lauren
      November 24, 2011
      Reply

      Awesome! Taiwan is my favourite place too. That was basically my only strategy too… Worked for five years and spent next to nothing.

  5. Monica
    October 31, 2011
    Reply

    Hahaha, I love this. I’m so glad that other people do stupid stuff all the time too! I must have lost (and thankfully found) my passport about 7 million times while travelling which was pretty stupid. It’s only now that I think ‘Why didn’t I just have a safe ‘passport pocket’ in my bag or something.

    • Lauren
      November 24, 2011
      Reply

      That would make more sense, right?! Thankfully I haven’t lost my passport yet but I’m sure it’s only a matter of time…

  6. Toni
    October 31, 2011
    Reply

    The scariest part of your whole post? Not one thing on this list surprises me lol. Awww bless you =D

    • Lauren
      November 24, 2011
      Reply

      :) I know, I’m so terrible haha. Maybe with time I’ll start getting better?

  7. Katie
    November 1, 2011
    Reply

    Your Ljublana Castle story reminds me of when my mom and I walked back up to our hotel on a hill in Sorrento in the pitch black. We had missed the last shuttle up from the town to the hotel and decided to just walk back up the way we came down hours earlier – not realizing that there were absolutely no lights along the way! Luckily my phone did still work because that’s what we used as a flashlight.

    Your story about mosquito bites in Seoul now makes me embarrassed that I whined over getting about 10 bites when I first got to St Petersburg. I used bug spray too but I decided Russian mosquitoes are immune!

    • Lauren
      November 24, 2011
      Reply

      It’s horrible walking around at night with no light! It makes me feel like there are a hundred rapists hiding in the shadows waiting to attack me!

  8. Jordan
    November 1, 2011
    Reply

    A great read! All in all, not such stupid things. Could have been worse!

    • Lauren
      November 24, 2011
      Reply

      Thanks Jordan! It definitely could have been worse, that’s true.

  9. Elizabeth
    November 2, 2011
    Reply

    This is hilarious. I think that eveyone makes these kind of mistakes when traveling – its just part of what makes it an adventure!

    • Lauren
      November 24, 2011
      Reply

      I am starting to realise that it’s not just me that does these idiotic things! It definitely keeps things interesting.

  10. Christy @ Ordinary Traveler
    November 4, 2011
    Reply

    Ha! Some of these really made me laugh. I can totally see myself doing stuff like this. Traveling solo brings out the stupid in me. :)

    • Lauren
      November 24, 2011
      Reply

      Definitely, I know I wouldn’t make all of these mistakes if I had someone else with me to stop me being such an idiot!

  11. Amanda
    November 4, 2011
    Reply

    Well, I guess the consolation (if there is any) is that none of these stupid mistakes resulted in any horrible outcomes! Instead, now they just make for rather amusing stories. ;)

    Though, I do have to ask… how in the world did you manage to lose FOUR pairs of shoes?? Lol.

    • Lauren
      November 24, 2011
      Reply

      It’s up to five pairs now! I just keep leaving random flip flops behind and forgetting to pick them up when I leave! In fact the other day I actually left the hostel barefoot and didn’t realise for a good 10 minutes that I had no shoes on and had left them behind!

  12. Ziggy
    November 9, 2011
    Reply

    Well being stupid tells the stories; this will be of interest to you:

    • Lauren
      November 24, 2011
      Reply

      Yay for being stupid!

  13. Tyler @ roundtheworldtravelchallenge.com
    November 10, 2011
    Reply

    Seems like some of your biggest mistakes have lead to some entertaining stories! Where do you get the idea for a death bunny? Hahah, just the name of it makes me laugh… let alone the picture!

    • Lauren
      November 24, 2011
      Reply

      I was sitting around bored on Halloween and found loads of random items in my room and just shoved everything together and death bunny was created!

  14. Aussie on the Road
    November 10, 2011
    Reply

    Haha, love the Death Bunny costume. Very cool.

    Mosquitoes have been my downfall on many occasions. My blood is almost as sweet as my personality.

    • Lauren
      November 24, 2011
      Reply

      Hahahaha, no, I can’t believe that. Nothing is as sweet as you :)

  15. Jade Johnston
    November 16, 2011
    Reply

    Were the bites sort of in straight lines? It seems more like bed bugs than mozzies. Your lucky that they didn’t itch too bad. I got attacked by bed bugs in Taupo NZ and had over 500 all over my body. AND Im allergic to them!

    That sucks about the shoes and the kindle though! I hate forgetting things especially!

    • Lauren
      November 24, 2011
      Reply

      Nope, they were ALL OVER my entire side of my body. Wow, that sounds absolutely horrific!!

  16. Lily Leung
    November 28, 2011
    Reply

    I walked down that pitch-black path from the top of the castle in Ljubljana too!!!

    A friend and I were watching a movie they were playing at the castle and after the movie we had to find our way back down. I couldn’t believe it’s not lit at ALL. Luckily I had my iPhone and used that as the flashlight. It was practically a manifestation of the Blair Witch movie.

    – Lily

  17. Chris
    December 13, 2011
    Reply

    Lauren you do make me chuckle heaps! :)
    x

  18. James - Ouroyster.com
    January 22, 2012
    Reply

    We have lost loads of pairs of shoes as well. I have no idea where they have gone. I really liked the story about the train as well. That is strange when they are named something completely obscure!

  19. Trudy Florence
    January 31, 2012
    Reply

    I have been to that exact point in Ljublana and I can just imagine how tricky that walk down would have been in the dark! Eep! Your stories are awesome, keep them coming! Hop you have gotten a little safer as time has progressed!

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