I may not be an experienced traveler just yet, but if anyone knows about crappy stuff happening as you travel, that person is me! You see,sometimes you’re killing time in Milan and on your way to the airport you’ll twist your ankle so bad your foot will get the size of a rock and you’ll cry the entire time without being able to walk, but you’ll have to find strength and run because you’re about to miss your flight home! Other times you’ll basically running for the free breakfast about to end because you fell asleep and you’ll twist your ankle at the reception.
Things happen, and all you have to do is try to deal with it the best way you can and try not to cry a lot. Like when you get a 100€ bus ticket in Rome because your boyfriend’s friends convinced you it’s Rome and nobody pays the bus anyway. Or when you decide to pay the round trip ticket from Naples to Sorrento, and if getting lost and not being able to reach the Amalfi Coast wasn’t bad enough, when you’re going back, you realize you lost your return ticket and now you have to buy another one. Oh, and what about when you’re getting to explore the Pompeii ruins under rain, which sucks on its own, but you still have to fall down on the floor and get all wet and muddy? I’m sure that’s pretty fun!
And there’s also that fun moment you bought a round trip between Zagreb and Plitvice Lakes, after the lady told you the 6pm bus was the only bus to return, but when you get to the Lakes, you realize the park closes at 4pm, and that there are a million other buses to return to Zagreb. Yup, she lied to you! So you decided to forget about the money and pay a new ticket and leave earlier, but when you count the change the driver gives you, you realize he just gave you the wrong change. So yes, scammed for being a tourist, twice in one day. By this time your feeling exhausted and you just don’t even bother to complain anymore.
Wait, I’m not done just yet. Yes, there’s more!
One night you’ll arrive in Ljubljana, scared, but you’ll reach your hostel like a ninja and think you’re totally rocking the solo travel thing. And then you ring the bell a thousand times, only to realize there’s a sign on the door saying at the time you just arrived there’s nobody there to check-you in, which will basically make you cry for an hour because you’re alone in a new country, your phone just decided to die on you, and you will have to sleep in the streets!
There are a couple of situations that are a little more complicated than the above. The ones that will make you believe you might just be the worst traveler of all times and that you should just go home, because you are sure this stuff only happens to you and it’s just so unfair! What am I talking about? I’m talking about you going out in Budapest to grab some pizza for lunch, only to discover your card (where you have ALL your money) was cancelled by your bank because someone tried to use it and steal you money! And now you’re suppose to leave tomorrow, and you need to buy the train ticket to Bratislava, but well, you don’t even have enough money to eat for the rest of the day. Or when you’re in a party hostel in Tallinn, and on the day of check-out you realize your ID card and credit card were stolen!
Then you have those minor situations, but that still make you really mad at yourself and make you wonder “should I even be allowed to travel alone?”, like running out the bus in Lithuania, only to realize you forgot about your computer charger inside and now you’re out of computer for the rest of the trip. And when you arrive in Gdansk and you leave your fully written travel journal on the bus and you hate yourself for that! And when you’re in Bratislava and you loose your locker key, and now you have to pay 5€ and you’ll be all day long without your camera that was inside, so no photos for you!
Should I also tell you about the day I was getting desperate to get a bus from Cesky Krumlov to Prague, after missing 2 because they were all full, and I told the guy almost crying and really mad that I needed to get on that bus, and that I would go on the luggage room if I had to but I was not missing another bus! Or when I was trying to get from Bratislava to Warsaw and I guess I didn’t have some kind of code you need to take from the internet to hop on the bus, and the driver yelled at me saying I didn’t have the number so I couldn’t go, and I yelled louder and refused to get out of the bus as he was trying to make me leave and departure!
And now the WORST OF THE WORST. I was trying to keep this one for last, because I was afraid if I told it in the first place, you would be too grossed out and wouldn’t read it until the end. So here it goes. Are you ready? You probably know by now that I’m talking about some disgusting crawling things. No, not cockroaches! The ones that apparently like to call beds their homes and that will get you to wake up in the morning feeling all itchy and with so many bites all over your body that you think you’re going to die. Bingo! BEDBUGS!
I’m really grossed out by telling you about this and to give you the bad news that the stuff about getting bedbugs in hostels is not a myth at all and it totally can happen to anyone.
In March, this year, I was in a pretty crappy hostel in Prague and I saw a weird bug when I woke up, but didn’t say or do anything. I decided to believe I hadn’t seen anything, because the truth was disgusting and I didn’t want to have a bedbugs story to tell anyone! Well, two or three days later about a million bites started to appear all over my body, and by the time I arrived in Bratislava I went to the receptionist for help because I didn’t know what it was and I thought I was dying. The look on his face?TERROR! And he also said an “OH MY GOD!” that freaked me out. They had to close the room!
And if getting bedbugs on my very first time travelling solo wasn’t bad enough, I got it again, 8 months later in Madrid! So yes, in 8 months, I got bedbugs TWICE! Who has that much bad luck, really?
So, there you go, public transport 100€ fines, twisted ankles, almost spending the night in the streets, tourist scamming, lost tickets, yelling at bus drivers and refusing to get off buses and volunteering to travel in the luggage compartment, bedbugs, cancelled cards and stolen ID and credit card…you name it! I’ve been there and it sucks, but great news: it doesn’t kill you! All this will teach you to be better, to pay more attention, to not let yourself fall into travel traps. It will make you stronger, as you’ll realize you can deal with this problems and not actually die, you are going to be just fine! And I always say this, because I truly believe in it: if I can do it, so can you! Just let go of fear, be open-minded, deal with all the shit on your way and you’ll be just fine, and you’ll have an amazing time doing it!