A Couple of Dumb Things I’ve Done While Travelling

A few weeks ago I wrote about some of my many romantic failures while on the road, and the general consensus from you guys was that reading about my failures is downright entertaining! So, since you seemed to enjoy that post so much, I have decided to write today about a few of some truly dumb things I have done while abroad. Enjoy!

Gotten Hopelessly Lost – Around The Corner From My Hotel

On my first ever overseas solo trip, I had landed in London and was excited to go exploring. On that first day, I went on a bus tour to visit Stonehenge (not worth it tbh) in half a day. I made it to the pick up point with a few wrong turns but nothing overly dramatic. I had never really had to navigate myself around an unfamiliar place before, especially not without internet access and help from Google Maps, so I was relying heavily on landmarks to get me from Point A to Point B.

The bus arrived back at the same pick up point in the early evening, but since it was the middle of winter, it was already well and truly dark. To make things even better, as soon as I stepped off the bus, the clouds decided it was the perfect time to open up and pour.

I tried to retrace my steps as best as I could back to my lodgings, but everything looked completely different at night and I couldn’t seem to find any of the landmarks I had made note of during the day. I felt pretty hopelessly lost, I was sopping wet and freezing cold. It was my first day in a foreign country and at that moment in time, I was not feeling a lot of love for travelling.

I even tried hailing a few taxis, and when I told them where I wanted to go, they all just drove off without explanation! At the time I had no idea why, but it made sense when after about an hour of aimless wandering I found myself at the West Brompton Tube Station, which was literally around 100 metres from where I was staying.

Once I was inside, warm and dry, I fired up the Wi-Fi to try and work out where I had been wandering. As it turns out, looks like I took a couple of wrong turns and ended up kinda going in circles just a few streets away from my hotel. What an idiot.

stonehenge-england-london-ellen-burne

Almost Lost My Passport to The Irish Sea

I had taken a day trip from Belfast out to beautiful county Antrim to visit the Giants Causeway and the Carrick-a-rede Rope Bridge. Everything had been going relatively smoothly (that should have been a warning sign) up until when I arrived at Carrick-a-rede. I was visiting in the middle of winter, and in typical Irish fashion, the weather was just a little bit shitty.

Crossing the bridge can be a rather precarious experience, so if it becomes too windy, it gets closed off. I was worried that this would happen, but as it turned out, it was still open! I was told that if it became even a little bit more windy the bridge would be swiftly closed off, so upon hearing that, I sped off to get to it as fast as I could. I had come all this way, I wanted to cross the little bridge!

However, in my haste, I had not properly secured my bag. I was halfway across the bridge when a seriously strong gust of wind blew my way and as it did so, managed to blow open the flap of my bag and send my passport flying in the process! In what seemed like super slow motion I saw my passport blow into the air and away from me. In a show of coordination that I almost never possess, I was able to reach out and grab my ticket to the world before it went plunging into the chilly ocean below.

I was lucky, but if I hadn’t been stupid enough to leave my bag open, I could have avoided such a close call.

county-antrim-ireland-carrick-a-rede-rope-bridge

Almost Lost My Passport (Again) to a South African Toilet

Ever seen anyone post a status on Facebook a status that goes a little like this?

‘Phone is dead, I dropped it in the toilet 😦 – contact me through FB if you need me over the next few days!’

There was a time when I would see statuses like that and quietly call that person an idiot in my head. However, I no longer do such silent judging. I may not have lost my phone to a toilet, but I very nearly lost my passport.

I was getting ready to leave a little hostel in Oudtshoorn and had a bit of a drive ahead of me to get to my next stop of Wilderness. Naturally, a bathroom break ahead of a semi-lengthy drive seemed like a good idea, so I quickly (and hurriedly) made my way to the toilet to let nature call.

However, in my haste, I momentarily forgot that I had stashed my passport against my tummy inside my high-waisted undies (better than any travel pouch for concealing passports, cash and cards) and as I yanked them down, felt my passport tumble down between my legs and into the toilet beneath me.

Luckily, I make a habit of keeping my passport in a Ziploc (sealed) plastic bag, so I was able to grab it out (gross) and it was still perfectly intact. Sheer dumb luck!

So yeah, I don’t judge people who drop their phones in toilets anymore. If those people are idiots, then I am just as idiotic as they are.

Fallen Asleep In An Elevator

The heading of this story tells you everything you need to know.

I was in Reykjavik. I was phenomenally drunk. I had been asleep in my bunk and thus was in my undies. I woke up and for some reason still unbeknownst to me, felt an incredibly strong desire to wander out of my dorm. Upon finding myself locked out of my dorm, I feel asleep in an elevator because it was the only place that was warm. I eventually made it back into bed but I had the hangover from hell the next day. To this day I still cannot help but cringe when I wonder if that hostel has CCTV in its elevators. Definitely not one of my smartest (or classiest) travel moments.

Charged My Camera Battery, Only To Forget To Put It Back in My Camera

This may sound like not a big deal – but I was absolutely kicking myself. I had planned my entire time on this particular trip around being able to do a boat trip out to the Isle of Staffa so that I could explore stunning Fingals Cave – a truly beautiful geological marvel.

I was SO excited for this trip. I had made sure to get up early so that I could make sure my camera battery was charged and be at the ferry terminal on time.

So when I got aboard the ferry and went to turn on my camera only to find that it would not turn on, I felt as if my heart had sunk to the pit of my stomach. I was really bloody disappointed! I wanted to be able to capture some great photographs, and now I wasn’t going to be able to. I still had my phone, but it just wasn’t the same.

I learnt my lesson from that incident fast – now I almost always carry an extra battery.

fingals-cave-staffa-isle-scotland

Left For The Airport… Minus My Backpack

If you are wondering how on Earth somebody could leave for the airport without their possessions, believe me, I am still wondering the same thing!

Basically, I rolled out of bed and got ready to fly home from Glasgow. I checked out of my hostel and walked the 10 minutes or so to the bus stop where I was planning to jump on the airport shuttle. I had my headphones in, I was feeling relaxed and I didn’t even have the slightest inkling that I might be forgetting something.

It was literally only as I was about to board the bus that it hit me! The woman in front of me was struggling to pull her suitcase from the footpath onto the bus, and I remember thinking to myself “this is why backpacks are better than suitcases”. As soon as my brain processed that thought, it also seemed to realise that it had made a pretty significant oversight! I had to bolt back to my hostel, explain my embarrassingly stupid story to the hostel staff and then race back in time to catch the next bus.

I mean seriously, calling myself an idiot doesn’t even cover it for that one. Calling myself a dickhead seems rather more apt.

Drunkenly Stole A Guys Glove

Let’s set the scene, it was New Years Eve in Edinburgh and I was completely shitfaced drunk. For those who have never experienced the glory that is Edinburgh during Hogmanay – I will just say that the Scots do not do anything by half measures! They take their New Years celebrations very seriously, and the annual Hogmanay celebrations go off. 

I rang in the New Year in an undeniably classy way (unable to put a coherent sentence together, making out with a guy whose name I can only remember because he added on Facebook and squished in like a sardine on Princes Street with thousands of other punters) and to this day, still have more than a couple of blank spaces in my brain where memories should be.

I woke up early the next morning as I had to get down to the River Forth to participate in the annual Loony Dook and I was lucky enough to not have a hangover, mostly because I was still drunk. As I was getting dressed and ready that morning, I found something that did not belong to me. I had my own gloves, and then just one random lone glove that seemed to have appeared out of nowhere.

At first I thought nothing of it, after all, it isn’t uncommon for stuff to get mixed up in hostels. However, later in the day I received a message from New Years Eve kiss guy about how I had stolen one of his gloves. Luckily, he seemed to find it funny, and to this day, I still have that glove.

hogmanay-edinburgh-scotland-new-years

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20-something year old Australian backpacker writing her way around the world.

75 thoughts on “A Couple of Dumb Things I’ve Done While Travelling

      1. I somehow lost it between the stand where I checked out the bike in the bike-share service and the actual bike, maybe 10 metres. They returned it to my house without any cash before I even got home…I don’t know how!

  1. Ahaha these are brilliant – and way too similar to some of my travelling mishaps. I’ve definitely got lost right by my accommodation so many times. There was also the time I decided £4 shitty primark sandals were definitely the right kind of shoes to go leaping over 4 ft ditches in Myanmar …and consequently ended up hospitalised!

      1. Suspected break, turned out it was just the worst kind of way to sprain a foot! Took 7 different kinds of pills, 3 bandages and about a month of bedrest before I could finally walk on it properly (and wear something other than flipflops) again!

  2. Great post. Re: passport (scary stuff!) I almost always have mine in a money belt under my clothes, but just in case I carry a copy of the picture page elsewhere. These days I should probably email it to myself. It would make getting a replacement much easier.

    To trade stories, I flew home from Japan yesterday. Had the trip to the airport all organized, until I discovered my return ticket on the Keisei line was only good the day I bought it. Buying a single ran me late and I got on the wrong train… Happily, it turned out that you can walk from the station I got off at to Terminal 2 through a half kilometer underground passage! Broke one of my travel rules and didn’t ask when I got on the train.

  3. funny thing Miss Ellen, somehow I presumed you travelled totally sober, being such a smart young woman, glad to here it isn’t so !!!!!

  4. Funny. I fell asleep in the smallest pub in London once on the toilet. I woke up and the place had closed and I had to break out. Enjoying your adventures!

  5. Glad to know I’m not the only one that can be a bit ditzy at times when travelling! I’ve booked flights for the wrong day, left my passport in a multitute​ of places and often get very lost because I suck at reading maps! Things do look SO different at night, I have been caught out like this a few times haha

  6. Wow! Crazy stuff! I have my husband to keep me on track when we travel, but we don’t have as many stories like these 🙂

  7. I laughed my but off.
    On an Alaskan Cruise, somehow the wrong tag got placed on my nephew’s suitcase and it ended up in my nieces room. The who time we thought the cruise line had lost the suitcase. The poor guy had to borrow or buy clothing. It was on the second to last day that the girls realized that they had his suitcase. They were arguing because it had been left in the middle of the floor and they thought it was the other person suitcase.

  8. Enjoyed your travel (mis)adventures. 🙂 Thanks so much for sharing. I hope to do more traveling myself, and I have made a note to put my passport in a ziploc bag! Ha, ha, ha —still laughing. Thanks for the entertainment this a.m. Keep writing!

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