Traveling is super popular on social media. Right now, you can go on Pinterest, Instagram, and any other social media app and see hundreds of pictures from the perfect and ideal trips.
There are women who spent 20 minutes getting the right pose, in the right city, at the right time are a dime a dozen! Couples who take astonishing engagement photos in the with the perfect sunset. Families who take pictures of their babies while living on the road in Europe.
The pictures are all amazing and astonishing! Every single one of them! And of course, there is usually a great story about something the travelers experienced, learned, or overcame that is detailed below the picture.
It’s inspiring! I totally do the same thing.
You know what you don’t hear enough?
Travel blunder stories.
Like in real life, traveling has these silly moments that create memories that stick in the mind just as well as a perfect moment. They’re not always caught on camera. They aren’t ones that you can prepare for. And they certainly aren’t ones that you expect.
I have plenty of these blunder stories from all over the world. Some of them are funny, some of them cost me money, while others taught me a lesson.
Here is My Favorite Travel Blunders pt. 1 (because with how awkward I am, there will certainly be more)
Chicago, Illinois, USA
I’ll start with a month long road trip I did in the States. Over the course of this road trip, I drove my Red MINI Cooper through 19 states and a piece of Canada. I likely covered about 2,000 miles (3200kms) during this time. I decided I was going to spend as little money as possible on housing. I would camp or sleep in parking lots.
Through most of the trip, this worked perfectly! Except in Chicago. It was one of my longer driving days and I couldn’t find any good places to end the day. Without finding any spots outside the city, I ended up driving into Chicago looking for a place to sleep.
Eventually, I found my way to a hospital parking lot. I practiced a line I would say if I was asked why I was asleep here, “My relative is having surgery and I’m just waiting until it’s done to hear the news!” That should work, right?
At 2am, a security guard came to my window and started banging to wake me up. “You can’t stay here!” He repeated it at least 3 times, before I was awake enough to understand what he was telling me. I rolled down my window just a crack and said coyly, “Can I help you?”
His response was the same as before, “You can’t stay here.”
I was ready to say my line. I’d been rehearsing for this. But before I could get out the words to say, he walked away. As soon as he finished saying his line, he turned around and got into his car. I was a little shocked by this and shouted to him, “Where should I go?”
So, heeding his words, I turned on my car, drove back to the other side of the hospital parking lot and went to sleep. Apparently, this side of the parking lot was fine, because he never came to tell me to move. However, every now and then when I sleep in my car, I have a dream that I am yet again being woken by the security guard in Chicago.
In the DR, I was on a service journey with Denver Community Church. As we helped erect a house in the area, we were given permission to enter this older woman’s house to use her bathroom.
I, of course, like to stay very hydrated. So, I was commonly going in to use her bathroom. Using my broken Spanish, I was able to chat with the elderly woman a bit every time I went inside.
During the second day of work, I causally walked into the house, through her room, and into the bathroom as usual. However, this time when I entered her room, I saw here there, topless next to her bed.
Immediately, I decided I didn’t have to use the bathroom in that moment and I walked away.
On our last day, I wanted to take a picture of myself with some contrasting colors. I was asking the locals to borrow a chair. Guess who had a plastic chair for me? Yes, sweet little old lady.
I placed the chair down and set up the camera where I wanted it. Without relooking at the chair I sat down.
Without me realizing it, the little old woman snuck behind me and sat on the chair. Therefore, I ended up sitting on her fragile little lap. I’m not sure where we got lost in translation, but I don’t think either of us were expecting the other one to be in the chair.
Not only did I see her half nude this week, but I also sat on her lap. This mission trip ended up way more kinky than I expected.
After spending a day in Paris, we were taking a bus to the beach. It’s about a three and one half hour drive. Keeping babies entertained is a full time job. Sometimes it’s difficult on a trip because they wont just fall asleep whenever it’s convenient.
On this particular drive, my sister and I were taking turns playing with the little one who was wide awake and ready to play! Roughly an hour into the drive, my sister noticed something was starting to smell bad.
Milana had pooped. But what was even worse was that the poop had escaped her diaper!
In an effort to entertain her, I was bouncing my darling niece on my lap. Little did I know but with each bounce, the poo seeped out. It dripped onto me. It got on her back. It splashed on my sister. It got on the chair in front of us.
It was like a war scene, poo EVERYWHERE. We were blissfully unaware of all the splattered poo now scattered throughout our area of the bus.
It was a stinky situation, but my sister couldn’t help but to laugh at the silly moment.
Traveling has its blunders.
Be prepared to make good stories out of them.