My Most Embarrassing Travel Moments of 2017


There are a lot of ways to summarise a year in travel. You could do it by sharing your favourite photographs, by recounting your best (or worst) memories, or even do it country by country.

These are all great options, but I gotta be honest, the most fun way I can think to recount my 2017 travels is to do so by listing all the most embarrassing, cringe-worthy and just plain stupid travel moments!

So, grab the popcorn, pull up and chair and prepare to have a giggle at my expense.

Got in a dog sledding accident

I wrote an in depth post about my disastrous dog sledding accident in the early months of this year, but it is still an event that sticks out clearly in my mind.

This accident wasn’t exactly embarrassing in itself, but my reaction to it certainly was!

I didn’t want to know if I had really done any damage, so I acted like a stubborn little brat for a good few hours – refusing to go and get the medical attention that I very clearly needed for my truly battered knee.

When I think back to how immature and childishly I had acted – it certainly makes me cringe! Thus, it earns a spot on this list.

Slipped on ice and been forced to crawl across a road

A few weeks after the aforementioned accident, I found myself in Svalbard and slowly but surely starting to recover. My knee was still banged up to the extreme, but I was able to walk on it and move around, albeit tentatively.

One day, I was booked to go on a Northern Lights hunting expedition, so once the minibus arrived out the front of my guesthouse, I trudged through the snow until I came to the actual road.

The bus was parked on the other side of the road, meaning that I would need to cross to get to it – sounds simple right?

Yes, not so much!

There was a snap of unseasonably warm weather, which meant that the once crunchy snow and ice that covered the roads had started to melt, leaving a slippery and slidey surface that provided very little traction.

I knew that it would be slippery once I set foot on the road, so I made a point to be as slow and careful as possible, but alas, my efforts were fruitless.

Literally the split second I stepped forward onto the ice, my feet slipped right out from underneath me and I landed directly on my hands and knees! Then, as if the pain from landing onto my bad knee wasn’t horrible enough, I then was completely unable to stand back up – I just kept sliding around like a newborn gazelle!

In the end, I had to abandon any shred of dignity that I had left, and I crawled across a road on my hands and knees in front of a busload of people.

Fell face first into knee deep snow

This too happened in Svalbard – obviously the place just didn’t agree with me!

After an evening spent dog sledding and drinking huge pints of beer, I walked from the main part of town back to my guesthouse.

I had been walking in the knee deep snow as at least this provided a surface with enough traction that I could remain upright… or at least that’s what I thought!

I was literally only a few metres away from my lodgings when I ended up stepping into some sort of crevice, and ended up falling face first directly into the snow!

How I haven’t injured myself more in this lifetime I really do not know.

Been too nervous to get lucky

While backpacking through Iran I befriended a fellow travel blogger named Hayden, and we ended up travelling together for a number of days.

When we arrived in Kashan we checked into our guesthouse and were given a two bed private room in a small courtyard. The walls were paper thin and there was only a thin glass door between us and an open courtyard.

Long story short, we ended up in bed together getting rather snuggly, and under any other circumstances we almost definitely would have had sex, but unfortunately, I kept hearing movements and conversations from the courtyard that seemed ridiculously close to us, and for some reason, it just made me nervous!

I just couldn’t get past the concern that maybe we were somehow breaking the law (like it would have been if we were in the UAE) and I was far too worried about it to let anything happen.


Had to master the art of the one legged squat

The screwed up knee strikes again!

By the time I arrived in Iran it had been well over a month since my accident, but my knee was still not anywhere near back to normal.

I soon found out that Iran mainly uses squat toilets – which was not good news for someone that still had to keep a pressure bandage on her knee every day!

In the end, I had to master the art of squatting with my good knee bent and supporting my weight, and my bad knee stretched out to my side – kept almost completely straight.

To make it even more difficult, I had to do this whilst wearing a lot more clothing than I was used to! It led to a few ‘near misses’, where I was very lucky not to fall on my arse on the dirty toilet floor!

Smelt so gross that a duty free worker gave me 6 different perfume samples

I’d been travelling for 36 hours straight.

Enough said.

Unironically danced on a table

God, I never thought I would be the person to do a freakin’ Coyote Ugly and dance on a table like a right dickhead.

However, as it turns out, if I’ve had in excess of 20 beers over the course of a day, in addition to a couple of buckets – even the most level headed person may suddenly think that they are Beyonce and start shaking their groove thang on any elevated surface available.

I truly hope that Cambodian bar doesn’t have CCTV footage.

Rode a tricycle like a 5 year old

You know how in the Saw films there is that creepy doll that rides out on a tricylcle and asks people if they “want to play a game?”

Yeah – well that is exactly what I looked like when I was in the Maldives this year!

I’d been staying in this ridonkulously swanky overwater resort – and due to its huge size, all guests were provided with bicycles to help them get from place to place.

I however, am not exactly the most confident kinda girl on a bike, and I was terrified that I would inadvertently end up cycling off of the deck and plunge into the water!

So, I was provided with the much safer option of riding a tricycle – but you better believe that just about every person I rode passed found the sight of a grown woman on a trike pretty fricking pathetic!

Had a sex dream in a hostel dorm

I should preface this story by saying that I very occasionally have been known to talk in my sleep.

After a long day of travel, I found myself in an 8 bed hostel dorm in Fiji and quickly put myself to bed – I needed the rest!

I ended up waking several hours later, and it was one of those weird wake ups, where you know that you’ve been dreaming, but you aren’t completely aware of it yet.

After a few seconds I realised where I was and salt bolt upright in my bed, only to find 7 pairs of eyes staring directly at me.

A voice then piped up from one of the top bunks “we didn’t wake you ’cause we thought it’d be rude not to let you finish”.

I have never been more mortified, and I have never been more excited to leave a hostel in my entire life.

Peed in a bag

On one day during my recent travels through Myanmar, I found myself on a rather long bus ride (mostly thanks to some stupidly congested traffic) with a bladder that was becoming more and more full with every passing second.

You know that scene in Star Wars: A New Hope where Luke, Leia, Han and Chewie get stuck in the trash compacter?

Well that’s what my bladder felt like!

After a few hours, the pain just got too much and I did something I am certainly not proud of.

I made my way to the back of the minibus, put a plastic bag between my legs and emptied my bladder before panicking and throwing the newly full bag out the window.

I had peed in a bag, done something I truly hate (littering, not peeing in a moving vehicle) and though my bladder was thanking me for it, I certainly felt like I lost a lot of dignity on that day – but something tells me that it won’t be the last awkward bladder story that I have to tell!

Thank you for reading! I hope you enjoyed reading about some of my (mis)adventures from this year and I’d love for you to join the conversation!

If you have a cringe worthy travel story from 2017, leave it in the comments and join in on the fun!

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

71 thoughts on “My Most Embarrassing Travel Moments of 2017

  1. Yesterday’s Kioka Jackson

    On Wed, Dec 13, 2017 at 7:38 AM TRAVELLING THE WORLD SOLO wrote:

    > wwellend posted: “There are a lot of ways to summarise a year in travel. > You could do it by sharing your favourite photographs, by recounting your > best (or worst) memories, or even do it country by country. These are all > great options, but I gotta be honest, the most fun ” >

  2. I can certainly relate to the knee injury! On my last full day in Beijing I tripped, fell hard and bashed my already quite bad knee. Somehow I did not break anything. I just tell people that flat, dry, straight surfaces are unsafe.

      1. If you ever get to Vegas, I want to buy you lunch! ❤️ I’m meeting a Canadian couple I’ve been following for a long time now, April fourth here in Vegas. They run the Travel Tales Of Life website.

      2. Cool! I have no plans to leave Las Vegas anytime soon, just resigned my lease too. Safe travels! ❤️😎

  3. Hahah I love this! I can definitely understand your anxiety in Iran – listening to people talk while trying to get intimate would make it awkward anyway. Maybe you’ll cross paths with him again 😉

    I wrote a somewhat similar blog post too this year. I think it is so important to reflect back on embarrassing moments!

    This year in particular, I hiked 11 miles down a mountain in New Mexico, and at the very end I slipped and fell right into a cactus. Undoubtedly the most New Mexican thing that could have happened to me.

  4. Thanks for those candid memories. Have a nice holiday season, and I hope the new year will be a good one for you. I am building up my knowledge and confidence to do a solo trip in the near year and a half.

  5. hey Ellen, that was a lot of fun to read, you make me appear so inadequate sometimes ! I love the fact that you were more concerned about the littering than the act of emptying your bladder in such a situation ! How is your Knee now by the way – I note that your Dad needs a new one but at our age that is not so uncommon, truly hope yours has repaired. Gotta love yah !!

    1. Mine gets a little twing-ey sometimes, but I think it has healed okay for the most part. Dad is recovering from his knee op well too.

  6. Your fears were well founded in Iran. You can get around it by arranging a temporary marriage, which I think can be as short as 48 hours! I read another blog from a guy who did this while travelling there with his girlfriend, to avoid risk of arrest.

    1. See I actually don’t know about that… I stayed in rooms with men more often than not, I think they tend to turn the other way with foreigners.

  7. Oh man, the sex dream one! That’s definitely more embarrassing than being caught in the actual act. I also used to talk in my sleep and my biggest fear is that I would say something sex-dream-related.

  8. The sex dream had me in stitches. I once dreamt a spider had landed on me and I screamed out loud at 2am in the morning, in an 8-bed dorm. What had actually happened was a towel falling off the top bunk onto my foot. I just stayed quiet and pretended I hadn’t made a peep. My saucy embarrassing travel moments I’ll keep to myself, haha.

    1. Oh man I would have screamed too! Although I recently woke up in a dorm with a ginger cat fast asleep on my back… so who knows if I’d even notice?

  9. Thanks for the smiles… you do lead an interesting and fun-filled life. You have given me some humorous and reflective word pictures to imagine. Have a wonderful, safe and enjoyable Christmas and New Year–where ever you may be.

  10. OMG the “Slipped on ice and been forced to crawl across a road” brought back a vivid memory of the time I ran across the road to catch my bus after uni. It was super rainy and my boots had these very slippery soles… I fell right in front of the bus, with about 300 hundreds students watching… A guy who was running for the same bus stopped in his tracks and just stood there laughing at me. As did everyone in the bus. I was mortified, but I thought “oh, at least nobody I know saw me.” I was wrong.
    Thanks for this article, it’s nice to know I’m not the only one who’s hopelessly clumsy 🙂

  11. I won’t go into too much detail.

    A small mini bus, diarrhea and a very unexpected bowel movement. I was being dropped off shortly anyway, but most other people were spending the entire day travelling on the bus.

    Walking off the bus, I kept my gaze straight ahead and never looked back.

  12. I was rolling after a couple of your outtakes. I am seriously disappointed that there are no photos or of you on all fours crawling across the ice road.

    I do recall reading about your Greenland adventures and the dogsled accident. Hope your knee is better these days.

    You are always my favorite read, Ellen. Thanks for the great funnies. And I hope it’s OK to wish you a really wonderful Christmas, or if you don’t celebrate that a wonderful Holiday season.

    Your stories have helped me get through this year of our American insanity. You inspire me to do more and be brave in my writing and photography. Thanks so much for a wonderful year of your adventures. Just please post a photo of the ice road. 😁

    1. Tim, you always write me the loveliest comments, but this one might just be my favourite!

      I am so sorry that it’s taken me an age to respond, a very belated Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and Happy Easter to you!

      As for the picture of me crawling across the road… yeah… I am very glad that no such image exists!

      Thank you so much for reading, I love knowing that I have such wonderful and loyal readers such as yourself coming to travel with me every time I post 🙂

      1. Hey don’t worry about the time. We all have regular lives. Sometimes I feel like I let down my followers if I go too long between posts. But sometimes we just get busy with work and life.

        I have really grown to love our WordPress community even though I am still new to this blogging stuff. But the support is amazing, and what I love is that pretty much everyone is doing this from their heart. We are a community of thinkers and artists vin all forms. We all are brave souls who pour ourselves into our posts.

        It is so cool that we are becoming friends even though we live half a world away. Again, I am so looking forward to getting caught up on your travel adventures. You have shown me so many places that I would never have seen except through your eyes and words. So, the thanks are from me for allowing me to share in your fantastic adventures. Happy and safe travels. 🙂

  13. LOL! I went on a glacier hike this summer and gave up attempting to walk down the slope like everyone else, I just sat and slid down on my bum instead but then got scared that I wouldn’t be able to stop! Thanks for sharing!

  14. Definitely lots of embarrassing/ awkward moments but they do make life interesting. I have had a few similar moments during my travels, although not so many in a year. I tore my ACL/broke my tibia two years ago, squat toilets were not my friend at the time so I know the pain. I also find since breaking my leg falling is hilarious, every moment is in slowmo… to protect my leg!

  15. Hah and I thought my article on biggest travel errors was bad. Yours takes some beating. Sex dream story is hilarious. What a year! Are you hoping to be able to write a similar article at the end of 2018 too?

  16. Oh my gosh! I would also be mortified (and also so satisfied at the same time) to pee in a bag on a bus! Happy you can look back at these moments with humor, it’s the only way to move on!

  17. OMG!!! Thank you for sharing, these were some truly epic moments. I know I’m not really traveling until I’ve done something to make an ass of myself. And thanks for clarifying the Iran situation. He always seemed so cute, I wondered what/if anything had happened there 🙂

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