I have a pretty incredible track record of strange and unusual things happening everywhere I go. Anytime I share my stories with my family, friends, or anyone else, everyone always seems to be in awe over the number of things that have gone wrong while I’ve been traveling.
“That would happen to you.”
Aside from the extreme misadventures, I also have pretty strange stories in general! The list on this page records these stories. My mishaps are so much more than ‘mistakes.’ In fact, sometimes they’re not even my fault… sometimes. I guess you could say it’s just my luck… (or lack thereof?)
Whatever the reason may be for having these incidents, I have decided to embrace it. I share everything on my blog: the good and the bad. These mishaps have never once held me back. In fact, I like to think they keep life interesting and keep me on my toes! I am always adapting and preparing for, dare I say, whatever might come next!
Rocky’s Strangest Misadventures
A Few Stories From When I Started My First Solo Backpacking Trip
Lost and alone in Athens, I walked. For some reason, I never considered that my arrival to this city would occur in the middle of the night. I never dreamed my first night traveling solo would result in me contemplating curling up along a street in the middle of Athens to spend the night. My maps were in the wrong language, I had NO IDEA where I was supposed to be going, my phone did not work, the taxi drivers were all ignoring me, it was dark out, and I honestly felt like giving up.
“Sir, please understand that the company that produces the vaccine for Yellow Fever is rebuilding their factory right now. Since the vaccines are not being manufactured anymore, there is a temporary, indefinite global shortage. Availability is becoming more scarce with each passing day,” explained the receptionist from the travel medical clinic…
This maddening transaction at TD Bank was blown so far out of proportion when I tried to convert currency before traveling abroad. All I wanted was to change my money into Euros, but the bank teller couldn’t process that I wanted more than 2 Euros.
Travel Mishaps While Backpacking
With my voice shaking and my face flushed from panic, I distractedly tell my virtual student, “GOODBYE, CINDERELLA!” Just as I attempt to move the mouse to the button to shut off my webcam, a giant cockroach comes running right OFF OF MY HAND and ONTO MY KEYBOARD so I immediately SCREAM right before clicking the button to disconnect from her.
Imagine flying all the way to another country to see ONE THING only to find out after arriving there that the one thing you went to see was now broken. It got severely damaged the night before you arrived leaving it out of commission for at least the remainder of the year, if not longer…
“La Tomatina” is the largest food fight festival in the world. Over 20,000 people pile into the tiny city of Buñol, Valencia to throw 30,000 pounds of rotten tomatoes at one another. This is the story of what happened to my eyes after getting splashed in the face with all of that tomato juice.
Was It Just Some Bad Luck
Unexpected surgery isn’t fun. When you think you need to go to the Emergency Room, just do it. Don’t wait or try to tough it out. It isn’t worth the risk. That was what I learned after my bout with appendicitis. One minute I was uncomfortable and the next, I found myself rolled over in tears on the ER’s waiting room floor praying for someone to please help.
How many times can one person have a car self-destruct? I’ve had garbage trucks back into my car while legally parked in front of the house; I’ve had a car catch fire and stall in the middle lane while on one of the busiest highways in the state of New Jersey; now every rodent in town has decided to claim my car as Home.
We had just exited the ferry and stepped foot on the gorgeous island of Mykonos. Within a mob of people, Jorge and I began to search for a shuttle bus driver who we were told would be awaiting us with a sign that read, “Paradise Beach Resort.” Once we arrived at the resort for check-in, we were met with seriously unfortunate news.
How Many Flights Can One Person Miss
I circled all of the check-in counters inside Chopin airport trying to locate the check-in area for RyanAir. I couldn’t seem to find it anywhere. Confused, I took out my iPhone to make sure it was definitely RyanAir I was flying with. It was. I sought help at their customer service booth. “Sir, I’m afraid RyanAir is only located at Warsaw’s Modlin Airport. You are at Chopin Airport.”
Christmas morning, I woke up, glanced over at my phone as it charged beside my bed, and deciphered a wonderfully unexpected notification that read, “Your estimated boarding time is: 1 hour.” (For the record, they moved it earlier!) I re-read the notification to make sure. I grabbed my phone, FLEW downstairs, and went straight into the kitchen where my Mom and Dad were. “Merry Christmas, Mom and Dad, MY PLANE TO SPAIN IS GETTING READY TO TAKE OFF RIGHT NOW!!!!!”
This was not a flight, but a ferry; far too chaotic of an experience to omit it from the list. Aboard the ferry, there was nobody on staff to help guide the HOARDS of people searching for their seats. To be honest, I’m not even sure if there were assigned seats. I’m semi-convinced there weren’t. It was far too disorganized for that to have been possible. People were stampeding to different levels of the ship, both indoor and outdoor areas, to find seats. Judging from the chaos that ensued, it was every man for himself.
Things I Mildly Regret
In preparation for my backpacking trip, I have been selling a large portion of my belongings on eBay. I want to radically simplify my life. To accomplish this, I have decided to create eBay listings for any of my non-essential belongings that have been laying around. This is the story of customer service gone wrong… along with undeniable pettiness.
Shortly after arriving in Mexico on November 5th, I came to the realization that I had just missed Mexico’s famous Day of the Dead celebration. Ahhddhssdjkjhs! Nooooooo! In Mexico, the local residents celebrate two holidays which are much bigger than Halloween in the United States. On November 1st, they celebrate All Soul’s Day and on November 2nd, All Saint’s Day, more commonly known as the Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos).
Madrid is expensive. Spain is one of the hottest and most sought-after tourist destinations in the entire world and the heightened cost of living there certainly reflects it. When we curiously looked behind a hanging “garden” arrangement in our room, we realized there was so much growing there that we didn’t even know about!
My Strangest Stories
One of my first times traveling alone within the U.S.A. involved a community service trip where I volunteered as a 15-year-old to help lead a tour group of students from China along the East Coast. When a random couple asked me to take a photo of them in front of the White House, my group kept walking. I lost them and was completely stranded. I thought I spotted them so I sprinted onto a bus. Only, once it pulled away from there, I looked around and realized I joined the wrong tour group… Oops.
This story is one of my most significant because it, quite literally, changed my life. Taking the MBTI freshman year of college and discovering that I am an INFJ really helped me better understand myself. In the population, the INFJ is the least common personality type out of the 16 possibilities. It also turns out that the ESTP type is the most suited to travel the world; the INFJ is the least. Oh, lucky me.
If you don’t know why I’m saying that, you must read this. It’s perhaps the most important warning you’ll ever receive. You’ve been warned. If you ever cross paths with the durian (Or the Damian, as I like to call it) you will surely understand why the fruit is banned and even illegal in many parts of the world.
The Unusual World Around Us
I realize this is one of my “Year In Review” posts, but I think it really better serves as a timeline showcasing how I created my backyard Ark where wild birds and all sorts of outdoor animals come together to feast and be merry. [Warning: STAY AWAY FROM THE WOODPECKERS.]
I never expected to encounter so many hilariously terrible English translations on signs and merchandise while traveling in China. I was caught off guard by some of the translations that I encountered in different cities in China. I think my favorite had to be the handrail sign.
When you think of the Greek Islands, do you imagine a luxury vacation? I mean, it’s Mykonos! It must be nice and with the name “Paradise Beach Resort,” how could it not be? Well, a quick tour through our hotel room would seem to suggest that their definition of “paradise” is a bit different from mine. With sheets too short for our bed and a missing pillowcase, we tucked ourselves in for bed.
Oh.. It’s Just a Little Bad Weather
The sky was dark and hazy. You couldn’t see a thing. The winds from the storm shook the plane. Passengers were jerked left and right. The plane shook. The wings caught each strong gust making the plane feel like a ship rocking in the upset sea. As the plane made its descent, the shaking worsened. The plane had to angle its nose up just before landing and take off again. I’ve never clutched onto the armrests so tightly in my life.
Should you decide to go to China, you best not visit during their rainy season. In fact, pray for sunny weather because should it rain, you’ll find yourself slipping and sliding on what is already a difficult sidewalk to walk along on an ordinary, sunny day. Chinese sidewalks have special tiles for visually impaired individuals that were built in the most uncomfortable way imaginable.
Trouble Is My Middle Name..?
I left the train station, approach the man with the colored mohawk, and tossed my oversized backpack into the back of his van. A cop watched as I hopped into the backseat. Just as the van went to pull away, the cops had our vehicle surrounded. They took away my passport to make sure I wasn’t illegally staying in Spain. It’s a good thing I wasn’t.
Have you ever tried couchsurfing and had to hide inside of a room with the lights off to avoid getting caught by their landlord? No? Yeah, me neither…
Before going down to the beach, Jorge and I rush to the bathroom to change into our swimsuits. We enter the WC and find that all of the stalls are relatively small and dirty. After a bit of maneuvering, I managed to change into my new bathing suit. Once I finished getting changed, I grabbed onto the latch to open my stall. I attempted to open the door but I couldn’t unlock it. The metal locking mechanism was rusty and difficult to move. I pushed and pushed until the lock snapped shut, trapping the skin from my pinky finger.