Why Bad Experiences Shouldn’t Stop You From Travelling
Travel is supposed to be fun and fulfilling, full of great memories and amazing stories to tell.
Sometimes, unfortunately, there is another kind of memories that we bring back home from a trip.
No one likes to talk about those, but they are a part of travelling – the bad experiences.
Last week I was sick.
It started during a trip to the Baltic Sea as a simple cold, which I thought I had under control after two visits to the sauna.
Unfortunately, I was wrong and the cold turned out to be tougher to beat than I imagined. I started coughing really hard, at times I couldn’t even catch my breath.
While we were on our drive back and the rain was pouring down making me sleepy in the passenger seat, I was wondering if that would have happened had I stayed home.
Then I thought of the times I got sick or injured during a trip or holiday and the times these happened at home.
I seem to have a record, a negative record, unfortunately, when it comes to injuries during vacations.
It is not that I’m more careful at home or more reckless while travelling, I think the sun just plays a trick on me and I do crazy stuff.
These are some of the injuries and illnesses I brought on me during trips or vacations, the stories how they happened and how those trips turned out to be at the end.
A Dislocated Toe in Algarve
We arrived in the beautiful Rock Algarve on a Saturday evening for a two-week vacation.
On Sunday morning we went for a walk on the beach all the way to the centre of Albufeira, about 3 km away from our apartment.
On the way back it was already pretty hot and I decided to go into the water to cool off a little bit. Instead of going in, I ran in.
I’ve no idea what got into me, running in without knowing what the bottom looked like if there were rocks (well, it’s called Rock Algarve for a reason!) or any other dangers. Long story short, I tripped on a rock and fell a sharp pain in my toe.
I fell and the waves started crashing around me, not giving me a chance to stand up.
I managed to pull my foot out of the water to check the damage. It didn’t look good – my toe was staring at me at a weird angle.
At this point I knew I couldn’t stand up on my own, so I started waving at my husband to come help me. At first, he wasn’t sure what was going on, but after a minute or two, he realised that I actually needed help. He came and helped me out of the water and to the lifeguard.
An ambulance was called and we waited on the beach for it to arrive. People gathered asking what had happened and if they could help with anything.
It seemed like ages passed before the ambulance arrived, but it did and the paramedics were really nice. They carried me to the ambulance, police came as well to ask us about the accident and write a report.
As it was a Sunday – of course, this kind of situations always happen at the most inconvenient time – it took some deliberation where the ambulance should be taking me to as the nearest hospital was closed.
Since we were on the beach, we had no documents or health insurance cards with us. My husband had to go to the hotel and take our IDs, then come to the hospital by himself.
The hospital was in the next big town, Faro – almost 50 km away.
I spent the whole trip to the hospital worrying that our vacation has been ruined.
Although everyone assured me that my toe wasn’t broken and it was just dislocated, I imagined how I had to lie by the pool the whole two weeks and not be able to go anywhere.
The visit to the hospital went pretty well, as expected no bones were broken and the whole procedure took about 40 minutes. The surgeons were great and took a really good care of me and soon enough we were out of there.
It was hard to walk with the huge bandage and the pain in the foot, but by the evening I was already able to make a few steps.
The next day we rented a car.
After a few more routine visits for new bandages during the next days, we soon started exploring the beautiful Algarve.
Turned out that without the rental we would have missed a lot of the sights and at the end, it was a good thing we rented the car for a whole of ten days (initially we thought of maybe renting for a day or two).
In the end, despite the bad injury and the unfortunate start of our vacation, we spent great the two weeks in Algarve, visited a lot of incredible places and had fun (almost) the whole time.
Also, the experience taught me that I could really depend on my husband to pull me out of the water and literally save my life! :)
Could something like that have happened back home?
Of course, I could have tripped somewhere on the street, although probably I would have been wearing shoes and the damage would have been smaller.
On the other hand, I had a broken nose at home, so I guess that’s an evenly bad injury.
The Worst Hotel Ever
On our first ever vacation as a couple, my boyfriend at the time and I booked a two-week stay in S’Illot, Mallorca, Spain.
Let’s just say that from the whole description of the package only the distance between the hotel and the beach were true.
We arrived at something which looked like an abandoned building with sad people staring at nothing as if they were sentenced to spend their time here instead of spending their yearly vacation in a fun and relaxing place.
Soon we realised that the inside looked even worse than the outside of the hotel, the staff was the most unpleasant and rude group of people imaginable, the food was awful in any way and the only way we could enjoy our time even a little was to change hotels.
Fortunately for us, we were able to get a room in another hotel in Cala Ratjada, about an hour away, which turned to be more to our liking.
Despite the fact that we needed to pay more and that we had to arrange our own transportation to Cala Ratjada, we gladly transferred.
Of course, that was a terrible start of a long-awaited vacation after years of not seeing the beach, but at the end, it proved us we could work as a team and manage difficulties during travel.
In fact, S’Illot turned out to be so boring and so not what we wanted, that we were glad we ended up in Cala Ratjada, a former fishermen village with beautiful beaches. And after all, we had a story to tell.
Several months later we saw the horror hotel in a TV show as one of the worst places to spend a holiday. That was the first and only time we booked a vacation through a travel agency and followed someone else’s recommendation instead of doing our own research. Lesson learned!
I’ve just checked and it seems that despite all the complaints (we weren’t the only ones who hated the hotel in S’Illot) and the TV show feature, the hotel is still in Altour’s catalogue.
I really can’t believe that they haven’t even changed the description. And the photos are probably taken ages before the hotel became the ruin it is nowadays.
Don’t be fooled by the two “suns” too, those do not match any official hotel categorisation – officially this hotel has ZERO stars! The “suns” only reflect Altour’s recommendation.
Well, thanks, but no thanks, I prefer real stars!
A Twisted Ankle High In The Mountains Of Bulgaria
I was on a week-long hike in the most beautiful and magical mountain in Bulgaria, the Rhodopes.
I knew no one of the more than thirty people in the group prior to the trip: a friend invited me to join them but at the last moment something came up for her and she couldn’t come. So I joined a group of strangers on a hike through the mountains.
Everything went great, we got along very well and had a ton of fun.
One morning after breakfast in the highest village in Bulgaria at 1,460 m, with no hike planned for the day but only a bus ride, we were playing volleyball in the school’s backyard. A ball flew over my head and into the bushes, so I turned and started jogging in its direction to retrieve it.
A few steps later, I stepped somehow on the side of my foot and landed with my whole body weight on the twisted ankle. I sat on the ground and removed my shoe.
We could all see how the ankle swallowed in front of our eyes. I tried to walk but the pain was too much. A couple of the guys in the group carried me to a café nearby and put some ice on my ankle.
The rest of the day they continued to carry me wherever I needed to go. I spent one more night with the group in the mountains and afterwards I left with someone from the group who needed to be back in Sofia as well.
My parents met me at the bus station in Sofia and took me directly to the hospital. The ligaments were badly torn and the ankle had doubled its size by the time we got there.
It lasted months to get the ankle back to its normal size and I still experience pains sporadically in my right ankle years later.
What I didn’t know back then is that I gained a lot of trustworthy friends in this mountain village.
They all called and asked how I was as soon as they finished the hike and returned to Sofia.
Years after the accident we still meet and celebrate together and despite the occasional pains, I gladly remember this episode of my life.
Of course, I regret not being more careful or not wearing proper sports shoes at the time, but if that’s the price of making several true friends, I’m gladly paying it again.
Diverse Colds, Infections, And Headaches
Needless to say, all of those happen more often at home than on vacation.
Could I have done something to prevent them?
Sometimes yes, and sometimes no.
Did they spoil my vacations?
I don’t think so.
I’m always determined to get the best of my time on the road, so a cold or an injury can’t stop me from having fun :-). It can change the planned activities or even cut some vacations short, but never really spoil a vacation.
While celebrating New Year’s Eve 2014 in Milan, I got a terrible cold.
On January 1st, we cut the sightseeing short and my husband ordered and picked up chicken soup for me from a nearby restaurant.
The next day we had a trip to Torino planned and I couldn’t let a cold dictate our schedule.
I bought cold meds in a pharmacy in Torino and enjoyed the rest of the Italy trip. By the time we got back home, I was already healthy.
I think generally it’s all about the attitude.
I know people who almost always say they had a terrible time during their vacation because someone was feeling sick or they fell for a travel scam.
That has never stopped me from having fun. And in most situations, I even learned a great deal about myself or the people around me from the bad experiences we went through together.
It’s much easier to be there for someone while everything is perfect but the real relationship test is to be there when they actually need your help.
P.S. Have you had any bad experiences during your trips? I hope not, but if you had, you can share them and the lessons learned in the comments below.