Not all who wander are lost. But sometimes, we genuinely are… See below for some examples of my travel misadventures and misfortunes.
- The time I got arrested for accidently trespassing in a park.
- The time I slept through my 6:50am flight to Dublin and my friend was already there waiting for me to arrive.
- The time I got drunk and decided it would be a great idea to run up the ‘down’ escalator while wearing flip flops. Stacked it near the top and gouged a huge chunk out of my knee. Couldn’t bend my leg for days, which is a pain in the ass (and knee) when you want to sit down.
- The time I nearly died being driven the wrong way round a roundabout by a crazy French tightrope walker.
- The time I was vegetarian and mistook fried calamari for an onion ring.
- The time I was trying to get back into the States on a tourist visa and the guy at the Canadian checkpoint had big qualms about letting me in and the bus very nearly left without me.
- The time we were lost in a not-so-nice part of Casablanca and I felt so intimidated by the groups of men standing around staring at us (me) and making clicking noises as we passed that I grabbed hold of my friend’s hand and pretended he was my husband.
- The time I got stomach flu and was living in an apartment with a broken toilet. We don’t speak of that time.
- The time I drunkenly lent my friend my passport to use as id to get into a club and the bouncer confiscated it and I never got it back. It had my visa in it but I was too drunk and too young to realise what a huge deal this was at the time.
- The first time arrived in America alone and had forgotten the one really important form I needed to validate my visa and be allowed into the country. My mum finds it later on the windowsill in my bedroom.
- The night of my 21st birthday, which I spent in a hostel in Portland, OR with a weird roommate who farted in her sleep. Literally in her sleep. Sleep farting.
- The time I flew back to America, moved into a new flat, broke up with my boyfriend, started classes and had emergency surgery all in the space of five days. Awful, really truly awful.
- The time we met up with a bunch of marines on leave on a night out and one of them grabbed my wrist and kissed me and wouldn’t let go even though I was pushing him away.
- The time we were on our way to visit a Mosque and I wore a white cotton shirt which went completely see-through in the sudden rainstorm we got caught in on the walk over.
- The time I got lost trying to find an abandoned prison (don’t ask) in South Carolina and ended up walking around the projects alone at 11pm.
- The time we visited some rock pools and a big wave swooped in and we nearly drowned.
- The time I got locked out of the house I was supposed to be housesitting.
- The time the window opposite me blew in on the train from Marrakesh to Essaouira. I was shaking glass out of my hair for days.
But, despite all these dodged bullets and near misses, travel is still what I want to do. Sometimes I think it might be all I want to do. I work three jobs and never turn the heating on because I want to get back out there and nearly drown in rock pools.
It’s a privilege to have stories to tell and scars to point out because they are the proof of a life lived bravely. And that’s the kind of life I want.