This was not a vacation where I’m relaxing by sandy beaches watching crystal blue waters meet warm sunny skies dotted with palm trees in the distance. This was a vacation in a polluted country with political storms brewing spreading panic in the streets. Hearing stories of riots and threats to tourists near your vicinity can be scary, but this article is not about countries and their social issues. This article is about my worst travel nightmares, one of which occurred because I missed my returning flight due to such riots. Thanks to speedier networks, I was able to confirm and schedule the next one within days.
The travel experience starts with the bookings. Make sure not to book connecting flights close together – chances are, you *will* miss that connecting flight, as experience has taught me from many such travels, so learn from the wise. Moreover, I’ve found from requesting flight details that I did not get that coveted window seat on the plane, but was stuck for over 11 hours in the middle isle seat next to a guy that snored, right near the smelliest toilet, and a crying child who constantly kicked my seat from behind. Receiving rude service from the pursers can also dampen one’s travel anticipations. The same applies to hotel rooms and the service personnel that a tourist relies on in a foreign country. Be glad your name doesn’t sound similar to a wanted notorious criminal – nothing like spending hours clearing up that confusion!
I once traveled on a foreign airline, and they lost one of my bags. After spending great many hours filling out forms, it arrived weeks later just as my vacation was ending. But when the vacation starts, one forgets these minor details. What is not forgettable is accidently drinking bad water, getting an infection that leaves you bedridden for weeks (the worst is amoebic dysentery). You just end up staring out the hotel window thinking about all the exciting things you *could* be doing this very minute! It’s even worse when you’re caught in a small village with only one doctor. I had to travel to a big city to be seen by a real physician, and that finally restored my confidence that I was not going to die.
Speaking of forgetting, it’s bad when you’re caught without extra cash, your medicines, necessary IDs and documents, extra memory cards for your digital camera, mosquito repellent, and toilet paper. One never imagines *actually* using those scary toilets! Never say never! Despite the hassles and small little things, travelers every year will venture into unknown lands and return with exciting stories for their friends. That’s the spirit you need, because without it, travel survival would be impossible.