When Things Go Wrong

It’s always more of an adventure when things go wrong.  Off the top of my head, here’s an entertaining walk down memory lane of some mishaps on my travels over the years:


  • I accidentally asked a waiter if I should “sentirme” instead of “sentarme,” the difference between “feel myself” and “seat myself.”
  • I got so cold one night in the mountains that I wore everything in my backpack, including a dress.
  • I got side-swiped by a car in Cusco in an alley too narrow for the flow of pedestrians and traffic. (It was the car’s fault, I swear.)
  • I got locked out on a third story terrace for 5 hours.


  • I took the road less traveled and came face to face with an 80-year-old nude man.
  • The rental car clerk refused to give me and some fellow solo backpackers the automatic car we had reserved online.  So I learned to drive manual in Portugal.


  • I thought “Boxing Day” was a holiday celebrating the sport of boxing.  Historically, it was when servants were given presents on the day after Christmas.  So, not even close.


  • I fell off a T-bar ski lift in the Alps, subsequently blocking ski traffic.


  • I got my ears pierced at the market, which in retrospect wasn’t the best place to do so, considering my right ear swelled up to the size of a golf ball.
  • I drank questionably treated water from a stream in the Amazon and brought home roundworm.  (Minus 10 points for the Amazon.)


  • While helping build a school, I fell off a chair I was standing on and sliced my leg open on a rusty nail.  There is a long scar on my thigh that offers me a fond reminder of my construction skills.


  • I got stung by a scorpion while answering a phone call to an animal rescue hotline.  I asked the caller to please call back.
  • I got a phone call from a deranged woman who thought a bear cub had taken refuge in her house.  According to her, the bear was also racist.
  • I got a little too into my karaoke song and somehow bit the microphone.
  • The lids weren’t fastened well enough to the plastic garbage cans in the back of my pick-up truck and blew off on the highway.

Florida Keys:

  • While probing crevices for lobster, my tickle stick was ripped from my grasp by an octopus.
  • I cut my hand picking up a quartz crystal rock, resulting in 5 stitches. Whooooops.
  • I missed my entrance on stage for a performance of “Harvey.”  Nurse Kelly was mysteriously absent from a hospital scene.
  • I got lost in the court scene in “A Few Good Men” during one night’s performance.  When I realized my line was overdue, I tried to recover by shouting the words quickly.  I sounded more like a gobbling turkey.
  • My BC started malfunctioning during a night dive, prompting me to swim half-drowning back to the boat and its inattentive captain.

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