Over the past 8 years of travelling around the world, I have experienced some seriously crazy, scary, unbelievable, out of this world things! I mean looking at my Instagram you would think that it has been all smooth sailing, perfect sunny days, beautiful sunsets and non-stop adventures, which to some extent it has, but travel doesn’t always go smoothly. I have made some SERIOUS travel mistakes and today I will be sharing some of my crazy travel stories with you. Mum, dad, please stop reading now!
Fearless at 18
The craziest story of mine is the story of how it all started!
At the fresh age of 18, I made the decision to pack my bags and board a plane to Canada, the other side of the world! I moved to Canada on a working holiday and just a few months later did a solo trip to LA, Mexico and New York, all by myself.
Looking back, I can’t believe the decisions I made and the things I did as an 18-year-old! I was fearless!
Leaving by myself at the age of 18 has shaped who I am as a person and has given me confidence and independence years beyond my age!
If you are new here, you can read all about why I packed my bags and left Australia at 18.
New York Horror Story
Travelling alone at the age of 18 was a great idea! Travelling to New York, not so much!
This was the first time I was overcome with emotions, left feeling homesick and completely distressed.
Coming from the countryside of Australia to one of the biggest cities in the world as a young and naïve 18-year-old can do that to you, especially when things don’t go right!
I had booked an Airbnb for my time in New York. I was planning to arrive in the late afternoon but after a delayed flight and hold up in customs, it was after 12 pm before I arrived. When I did arrive, no one was home! I was left on the streets of New York in the middle of the night with all my bags, no phone and no idea where to go or what to do.
Panic kicked in and I started to get really emotional. I asked the neighbour to call a taxi for me, then I asked the taxi to take me to a cheap hotel. The taxi driver took me to a hotel that has glass across the reception and told me they rented the rooms for 12 hours. I got the feeling that I was in some kind of prostitute’s motel, so I left immediately to find another taxi.
Eventually, I made my way to a safe (and expensive) hotel and got a good night’s sleep, but it wasn’t without distress and a river of tears.
This set the scene for my trip to New York, which certainly isn’t my destination of choice. Every time I stepped foot on a subway I got lost and found the big crazy city to be just that. Too big and too crazy for a little country gal.
Driving to my grave in Colombia
I travelled to Colombia back in 2013, where I met a friend in Cartagena. Within an hour of arriving, my friend wanted to take the local bus to a nearby beach, Playa Blanca where we would spend the night sleeping in hammocks under coconut trees. As you do when you travel, I said hell yeah, let’s go! So within a few hours of landing in Colombia, we jumped on a public bus and made our way to Playa Blanca.
The 75-cent bus ride was one to remember, eventually dropping us off in a small town! From here we were directed to take a taxi to Playa Blanca. The thing was, there were no taxis in sight! We waited and we waited for a taxi to arrive, but after an hour we realised that one may not be coming.
Since arriving, a local man with very limited English was hassling us to get in his car. He kept saying, Playa Blanca! He knew where we wanted to go, but his lack of English and his dodgy car made us hesitant.
After the realisation that a taxi wasn’t coming, we decided to get in the man’s car. We started speeding through the streets of the small town and eventually started to cross swamplands as we made our way to Playa Blanca. My friend and I started to get concerned about where exactly we were going, so we pulled out our Spanish book and tried to ask how long until we arrive! The man turned up the radio.
We looked at each other and accepted the fact that we were most likely on our way to our grave! We continued trying to ask the man but we just got no response. We ended up in hysterics as we accepted death was inevitable and we might as well go out happy.
Minutes later we arrived at Playa Blanca, clearly, we took a shortcut that involved swamp lands instead of main roads. The man asked if we wanted to be picked up tomorrow! The answer was a no!
Into the Amazon
One of the most epic adventures I have been on was my journey into the Amazon!
From Cusco in Peru, we took a 5-day tour into Manu National Park, an adventure I was so excited, yet unprepared for.
In my head, we were going to sleep in cute and comfortable tree houses, admire monkeys, sloths and jaguars and cruise up the Amazon river! Some of which we did, but I certainly didn’t consider the reality of getting into the Amazon.
We set off in the early morning from Cusco in a van. Day 1 was spent driving, and driving, and driving, and driving! It was a beautiful (and bumpy) drive as we left the city and started winding into the depths of the jungle. By nightfall, we arrived at our first accommodation. Naïve as to the journey ahead, we enjoyed dinner an early night.
Day 2 came and off we went again in the van. Another few hours in and we made it to the next chapter, our boat ride up the river! A day-long boat ride. We made a pit stop on the river bank for lunch and then we kept cruising up the river, until nightfall.
We finally made it to our destination, a tree house in the jungle. A very basic tree house with no bathroom or beds! Yep, we slept on the floor of the tree house with a mosquito net around us!
We spent the entire next day bushwalking and walking! We saw spiders, mosquitos and every other insect you can imagine.
Any Jaguars, sloths or monkeys? NOPE!
We literally spent two full days in transit to get into the jungle, where we slept on the floor of a tree house and saw insects! It was an amazing experience, but a painful one!
The journey home was another half day boat ride and one-and-a-half-day car ride along a bumpy road!
Sailing from Colombia to Panama
Sailing from Colombia to Panama on a sailing boat was one of the craziest things I have ever done.
Can’t you just picture me sunbaking on the deck of the sailing boat, drinking rum from fresh coconuts and listening to reggae music?
Well, that is what I imagined and that is not what I experienced. We departed from Cartagena. The first hour was a dream, but after that, seasickness kicked in. The sailing boat was TINY, accommodating 10 other travellers. The boat was rocking like crazy through the waves and the wind! Then it hit me, I had 3 more days in the open sea, and I was sick the entire time. I couldn’t eat, drink, read or drink my envisaged rum and coconut. All I could do was try to keep my cool as we spend 3 days in the open ocean.
At one point I literally made the captain stop the sailboat. We were in the open ocean with no land in sight! I just needed to get off, even for a minute. We pulled up and we jumped out into the deep blue ocean. A relief for a short minute.
Eventually, we arrived into the San Blas Islands of Panama – aka – Paradise.
Finally, I could enjoy my rum and coconut on the deck of the sailing boat!
Near death in Mexico?
On my first solo trip to Mexico, I believe I may have nearly died, but I will never know. I went out partying one night on, later to be dropped back to my hotel. I locked the safety lock on my door and passed out in bed.
When I woke up in the morning the door was open, but the safety lock was still locked, meaning the door was only slightly opened.
I have this terrible feeling that someone tried to get into my room that night, but there is always the possibility that I didn’t close the door properly, highly unlikely.
Nights out in Mexico with the mafia
So I don’t know if we were out with the mafia, a drug cartel, or potentially some super-rich Mexicans, but I have my suspicions. On a night out in Mexico, we planned to see the Coco Bongo show. Beforehand we made our way to a restaurant to have a beer. On the table next to us were a group of Mexican men and women (mostly men) with a personal band playing to them and a table full of straight liquor. They invited us over for a drink so we said why not!
We mentioned our plans to visit Coco Bongo and before we knew it the entire group has VIP tickets to attend. At this point we separated ourselves but looking back I think about what kind of people live this lifestyle and it comes back to two options.
Super rich Mexican
Into the wild
In 2014 I spent 3 months camping in the wilderness in Canada and along the West Coast of America. With my campervan, some cooking utensils and firewood, I set off on the journey and embraced every minute of it.
For 3 months I had minimal showers, cooked almost every meal on the campfire and got truly in touch with nature. It was incredible and I will be doing it again next year, just this time in Australia.
Strange sights from Vietnam
So many strange things happened during my trip to Vietnam that I literally dedicated an entire article to it. Read all my stories from Vietnam.
Into the brothel in Cambodia
We booked the overnight bus ride from Sihanoukville in Cambodia to Siem Reap. We arrived at the bus stop an hour early. It was hot and there were mosquitos everywhere so we looked at the building next to us and got the idea to go and wait in the lobby.
We entered and asked if we could sit. The men were hesitant but said, okay you can stay a few minutes. During the 10 minutes we waiting in the ‘hotel lobby’ I saw girl after girl walking down the stairs of the hotel. And men entering. It literally made me sick. Especially as I had just finished reading Trafficked that week. I can only speculate but my feeling is that we were sitting in the lobby of a brothel, and I will feel bad about that situation forever!
The tire thief in Brazil
On my recent trip to Brazil, I stood right next to a car as it was robbed by 2 men on the street. Ignorant of the situation, my partner and I stood there talking to each other. After a few minutes, we started thinking, what is that noise. I looked to the car, which was 2 cars in front of us to see one man leaving the inside of the car with the spare tire. I could not believe my eyes. We got straight into our car and away from the situation, which left me in shock and feeling like an idiot for standing so close to such a terrible situation and not doing anything about it. But also lucky that we were not approached. Brazil certainly isn’t the safest destination to travel to.
So there you have it! My crazy travel stories. No matter who you are or how you travel, you are certain to experience some crazy things at some point on your journey. Even those with the perfect Instagram profiles make travel mistakes and experience crazy and sometimes unpleasant situations.
Pin these crazy travel stories for later!