By looking at a travel blogger’s Instagram, you’d never know how imperfect their travels can be. But if you’ve traveled far and wide, you know all too well the struggles that sometimes come along with the fun and adventure. In this post, you’ll see some of the humorous and not so humorous problems I ran into this summer, while traveling Southeast Asia.
Travel can be fun and enjoyable, and usually is, but there are also moments where you really really step out of your comfort zone. In my first few days in Thailand, we went to Tiger Cave Temple in Krabi. For those of you that don’t know, it’s a Buddhist temple in Krabi with a spectacular view from the top, but there’s a catch. How do you get all the way up there? Cement stairs of course, with some of them being more than a foot tall. I’m not in shape in the slightest, so this hike to the top was a definite challenge, and not a fun one. Pictured below, you’ll see me laying on the ground next to dead cockroaches, as well as the gorgeous sunrise from that morning, wondering what the heck I just did.
Living in Thailand came with all kinds of creatures, like snakes, giant spiders, frogs, geckos, you name it, we’ve seen it. Occasionally, geckos would find their way into our housing unit, and 4 squeamish girls would be forced to get this lizard back outside. Pushing it with a broom worked quite well, until it fell off of the ceiling and crawled behind our beds. Also, the dorm that was connected to ours housed a family of giant spiders.
There was also a time where we didn’t have running water for 2 days, almost 3. In a country as hot as Thailand, it’s necessary to shower every single day. So, what did we do?
Next on the list is a seemingly harmless weekend trip to Chiang Mai. Our hostel was not very clean, but that’s okay because it was cheap, right? Wrong. Our last morning there, I found a small bug in my bed, but I killed it and thought nothing of it. The next afternoon, I changed out of my teaching clothes to find that my leg looked like this:
It turns out that bug I killed was a bed bug, and he was pretty hungry the night before, as shown by the evidence on my leg. Obviously, this resulted in my roommates and I having to clean/hand-wash/wipe down every single surface/piece of material in our room to make sure we didn’t bring any bugs back to Phitsanulok with us. (We didn’t). As awful as that experience was, it taught me a very important lesson: always always ALWAYS check for bed bugs. (And maybe spending the extra few dollars isn’t always such a bad idea?)
The next mishap happened during our stay in Bangkok. We decided to spend a few extra dollars and book an Airbnb that had an infinity pool. We got there, checked into our room, and went on a hunt for the pool, only to find this sign:
We were disappointed, because the owner had said nothing about the pool being closed, but you live and you learn, right?
This next one is more funny than anything else. Many famous instagram-ers and social media influencers talk about how cool cat cafes are, (I agree, they’re worth a visit) but no one mentions that the cats might lick themselves on the table where you’re trying to peacefully enjoy your coffee and your friend is going to be eating her food.
I don’t know if it’s the same for everyone, but traveling heightens my emotions. However I feel, I feel it 10 times more when I’m traveling.
In Cambodia, we visited the Genocide Museum and the Killing Fields. Both of these places were difficult to experience, but the thing that upset me most was the monument at the Killing Fields, which is home to thousands of human skulls.
Standing inside this small monument, surrounded by these skulls, I was overcome with emotion and immediately left. I felt a mix of heartbreak and panic as I was forced to face the difficult truth that these were once real, living people who were killed for no reason, and the United States is headed in a disgustingly similar direction.
These moments listed above were just a few moments that I happened to get pictures of. I got pooped on by a bird in Singapore, got sick a few times, had a few panic attacks, fell and busted a knee, and so much more. Travel is not always fun or easy, no matter how some people make it look. When bad things happen during your travels, I encourage you to embrace those moments and learn something from them. Among the occasional bad moments, there are heaps of good ones that will always make the experience more than worth it.
Until next time,