Worst Travel Moments of 2015

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2015 is coming to an end, and lately I have been reflecting on the last 9 months of travel. For the most part, my travels have been wonderful, but there are a few moments that I would like to forget.

Here are my worst travel moments of 2015.

pier sunset
Sunset over Pom Pom Island


1. Ripping the tip of my toe off on Pom Pom Island

I had been at TRACC for about a week and was still getting adjusted to island living. As per usual, my stomach was having a hard time getting used to the new diet and decided it best to order a mass evacuation of my insides multiple times throughout the day. While I was laying in bed one evening, it hit me. I took off running for the toilet without my head torch. I didn’t have time to go back, so I decided to use the moonlight to find my way. Bad idea!

I stubbed my toe on a small protruding tree trunk and ripped the skin on the tip clean off.

At first I was OK. The 2 dive instructors were in the kitchen and began helping me clean up my toe. While they were wiping away the blood (and there was a lot!), it hit me. I got so lightheaded and felt like I was going to pass out. Then it got even worse….my stomach decided it was a good time to clear itself out again. I pleaded for the instructors to hurry so I could once again run to the bathroom.

They finished just in time, but I was so weak I could barely stand up. Another volunteer, who thankfully happened to be a nurse, had to help me to the bathroom. She also waited outside to make sure I didn’t pass out! BTW when I say bathroom, I mean toilet with tarp walls. She could hear everything! I was so embarrassed!!!!

Sadie with green turtle
Turtle selfie!


2. Experiencing Bomb Fishing Up Close and Personal

I had heard the bombs going off during our dives before, but they were always a good distance away. The day a bomb went off within 300 meters of us is one that I will never forget.

The whole ordeal was scary. Hearing the bomb and thinking my buddy’s tank had exploded. The rush to get the police. Being in a boat with 2 Malay policemen and live M16s. Seeing the terrified faces of the family who had thrown the bomb as the police were pointing their guns at them. Never have I been that close to an exploding bomb or M16s, and I would prefer to never be that close to them again.

Sadie in North Sulawesi
Visiting sulfur lakes during our tour of North Sulawesi


3. Losing My Underwear

I don’t know what it is, but I seem to have a problem with losing my underwear when I’m traveling. I know it sounds weird.

I have had a few pair actually taken out of my checked bag before, which is really disturbing to think about. This time though it was completely my fault.

I was leaving Kota Kinabalu and on my way to North Sulawesi. My flight was super early, so I chose to pack my bags in the common area of my hostel rather than wake up my roommates. I had given myself plenty of time and was strategically packing all of my belongings with my bag of underwear to go in last…..or at least that was the plan.

I guess that little black mesh bag slipped my mind because it never made it into my backpack. I left the hostel with my bag of underwear sitting on one of the chairs in the main room. Whoever was the first to enter the common area later that morning got a nice surprise!

Tasikoki sunset
Sunset over Tasikoki


4. Getting Attacked by a Huntsman Spider at Tasikoki

I say getting attacked, but really the spider was just trying to get away from me. A huge spider had been spotted in our room at Tasikoki. The other 2 girls were too scared to get rid of it, so I stepped up and offered to trap it and take it outside.

This thing was so big I couldn’t even fit a coffee cup around it. I had to get a  cereal bowl to be able to trap it. While I was about to drop the bowl over the spider, he decided to take off running straight at my feet!

The scream that came out of me is one that I have never heard before. I didn’t know I could make such a sound!

The spider actually ran over both of my feet before taking cover underneath a bed (luckily not mine). It took me a while before I stopped shaking. We never found the spider after that, but I’m sure we scared him just as much as he scared us!

Sadie waiting for the bus
Waiting over an hour for the bus to take us to the train station


5. Taking the Train from Budapest to Germany

We should have just flown, but how was I to know there would be a refugee crisis. We had a long day of travel ahead of us, and it all started out bad from the get go. Our train leaving Budapest was almost 2 hours late. We found out that morning that our train from Salzburg to Munich was canceled and that we would need to figure it out once we got there.

No trains were going in to Germany, so we had to join a herd of people making their way across the city to another train station where were could try and get tickets to Germany. Nobody really knew what was going on!

When we finally got to Munich, we boarded the wrong train to Stuttgart and arrived 2 hours later than we should have only to find out I had planned our travels 1 day too early and my sister and brother-in-law wouldn’t be there until the following day. At least Alan and I made it through the day without breaking up…..barely.

Sadie with her backpack
Back when I liked backpacks


6. Realizing I’m Not a Backpacker

I am a traveler, and yes I can rough it, but when it comes to my luggage, backpacks are not for me. I wrote up a post back in June about how I chose my pack, and at that time I loved it. The pack is really great, but I’m just not cut out for backpacks.

My back kills me after carrying a pack for more than an hour. My neck and shoulders are already really stiff on their own, so I don’t need to add to it. They are bulky, and I’m constantly bumping into people and knocking things off of shelves.

Now I have a roller bag and couldn’t be happier!

Sadie and Alan at Kuang Si falls
Enjoying our day at Kuang Si falls in Laos


7. Our Mini Bus Ride to the Border

You have to try everything once right? Well I have tried the whole mini bus to Laos, and I can say that I will not be doing it again. The bus was terribly uncomfortable and cramped. We drove all night only to go straight to the embassy in Vientiane.

Yes I am glad that we were able to take care of things so quickly, but I was dead tired by the time we got to our hotel. Next time I will take a VIP bus or fly.

stuttgart Marriott
Our room in Stuttgart


8. Dealing with Insomnia

My whole life I have never really had a problem with sleep. Yes here and there I would have restless nights, but it never lasted longer than a couple days.

Since I’ve been on the road, my sleep issues have progressed to become almost unbearable!

While I was at TRACC and Tasikoki, I had about a week at each place that I couldn’t sleep. Then when I got to Budapest, the issue progressed. I went about 2 weeks where I didn’t sleep more than a few hours a night. Either I wouldn’t be able to fall asleep, or I would wake up in the middle of the night and not be able to go back to sleep. By October, I thought I had the issue under control.

The whole month I was able to sleep and felt rested. Then November rolled around and the issues came back, but this time they haven’t gone away. Almost every night I am having trouble sleeping.

I don’t know if the insomnia is from me traveling or what, but I’m going to keep trying different treatments until I fix the problem.

Looking back on it, the good times have definitely outweighed the bad. I have had the time of my life over these last 9 months and plan on continuing the adventure. Traveling is a learning experience. At least now I can laugh about all the bad moments.

What are some of your worst travel moments?

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