Everyone makes mistakes, here are some of the stupidest ones I’ve made while travelling. Not all of them endangered my life.
1. Trying to get into the Canadian embassy thinking it was a member-style country club.
I’m not sure why I thought the embassy was a club and not a place of diplomatic business. Maybe it was all the movies I had seen, or maybe I was just hoping for a little house with a Tim Hortons. I tried my best to get into the Canadian Embassy in Bangkok, only to be turned away for not having an appointment – turns out they’re places for serious things. A friend I recently met had tried this as well with her embassy, so I don’t feel so stupid about the whole thing.
2. Missing a train to Bangkok because I left my retainer in the bathroom.
After a productive month in Northern Thailand I was making my way to Bangkok for the new year. I found my sleeper bunk on the train, threw my backpack onto the bed, and went to put on my retainer. Discovering it to be missing, I emptied my entire bag, quickly repacked, and ran off the train. I rushed back to my guest house, hoping to make it back in time before the train departed. The door was locked. I shelled out $200 for a flight the next morning.
3. Leaving my brand-new phone on a public piano after taking too many selfies.
It had been a while since I stayed at a hostel with a piano – so of course I needed to play. It had also been a while since my friends had received a snapchat from me, so I needed to send one. It apparently had also been a while since I used my brain, since I left my phone sitting there for nine hours. By the time I retraced my steps, it was thankfully still there. The piano wasn’t as popular as I thought.
4. Emptying an entire water bottle on my passport.
I had been exploring Istanbul with my friends from the hostel when I took my water bottle out of my backpack. I took a sip and mistakenly placed in back in my bag upside down without tightening the lid. A few minutes later my entire bag was soaked. I spent the rest of the afternoon drying my passport in public bathrooms with paper towels and hand dryers. I still travel with it today.
5. Boarding a mystery bus to Bulgaria.
I’m not sure when I realized I was completely screwed, hitting the European border unexpectedly, or being dropped off in an unknown city by myself at 3:30 AM.
6. Electing to take 9 connecting trains over a direct one to save 30 dollars.
It seemed like a good idea at the time. I was nearing the end of my euro-trip and trying to be frugal. Partying until 4AM, then catching the first 6AM train from Berlin started off the experience bad. By the time I got to Munich, 14 hours later, I was ready to die.
7. Getting lost in Barcelona because I thought I knew the layout from a video game.
Tony Hawk’s Underground II had never led me astray in the past, until I tried to use my knowledge of the game to make my way around gothic Barcelona. Turns out you can’t actually grind down the tram line.
8. Crazy-gluing my hair together in Indonesia.
“It’s good for your dreads” she told me. “Only 30 dollars”. I shaved my head a few days later.
9. Accidentally booking myself into first class on Iceland Air.
I really don’t have any idea how I did this one, but I was pleasantly surprised when I boarded the plane with free champagne and a comfy seat. As it turns out, one way flights to North America don’t often go above $1000.