Are you one of those people who always seem to find themselves in awkward predicaments and you’re always saying “This only ever happens to me”?
I am totally one of those people.
When I was 19 I went overseas for the first time. Not only was it my first ever trip outside of New Zealand but I was travelling alone. I had worked two jobs through my last years of high school in anticipation of my big adventure to the United States to do Camp America, which was a program offered to become a camp counselor over the summer in exchange for a chunk of spending money.
It was a running joke before I left that I would end up arriving without my luggage. ‘I bet it gets lost!’, I would laugh ‘That would totally happen to me!’.
And of course, what happened? I landed in LA and my luggage didn’t.
And that was just the start of what has become the curse of travelling with Haidee. Or the good luck, it depends which way you choose to look at it! I seem to have some weird connections to some of the biggest events in recent history for a little old Kiwi girl like myself.
NEW YORK CITY, 2001
Here I am in early September 2001. I can’t remember the exact date this photo was taken but it was about 10 days before 9/11.
It was quite the experience being so close to it all, I remember calling my mum to tell her what was happening. My American friends were hysterical, we could hear the jets flying overhead and we knew it was big and actually saw live on TV the second plane hit. It was about 5am in New Zealand at the time as I recall, and my parents told me to ring back in an hour after I tried to call and tell them what was happening. They certainly didn’t get the enormity and thought I meant that a plane accident had taken place, not what actually transpired. I believe about 10 minutes after I had called they started getting other phone calls from family members who had woken to the news, so by the time I rang back my mum was freaking out.
I attended a candlelight vigil that night with people who had loved ones who were missing. It was a very moving experience, one I will never forget. Some of them had parents, siblings, uncles, aunts and friends who worked in the towers that they couldn’t reach. Or who were first responders and inside when they came down. They got up and spoke about it at the vigil and it was just surreal.
Flying home from JFK a week later was very eery. For such a huge airport it was dead quiet. No one was flying except a few people like me as they were too scared. I had delayed my flight once already and if I hadn’t then my flight would have likely been in the midst of it all so someone was watching out for me on that trip.
I happened to also do my European trip in 2005. Incidentally I had stayed in a hotel very close to where one of the buses blew up during the London Bombings. Exactly one week after I had checked out.
While flatting I bought my bed off a guy who was going overseas. A few days later he was one of the victims of the Bali Bombing (thankfully a surviving one).
OTHER TRAVEL MISHAPS OF NOTE:
- While doing Camp America I worked as an Arts and Crafts instructor and while unrolling some brown paper from one of those big rolls I came face to face with a massive bloody spider and screamed my ass off. The South African guy working with me rolled his eyes at me being such a girl until he saw what it was. Only one of these:
- I was chased by squirrels. Squirrels are scary! Especially the black ones. I told my workmates about this experience and they laughed at me and said I had imagined it but seriously, they were getting ready to ambush me. I was walking through the camp woods at night by myself (it was a shortcut from my cabin to the main hall) and their beady little eyes started moving towards me until I was surrounded. I was terrified and ran back the opposite way taking the long way around. Let that be a lesson to you.
- The wolf encounter mentioned in the other weeks Food For Thought Friday.
Then came the fun and games of the after camp travel!
- I was approached outside my hostel in New York City to work as a call girl. Just for the record, I turned them down!
- While trying to flag down a cab by myself in NYC and having zero luck, a limousine pulled over and offered me a ride and told me I could just pay what I liked. I’m talking black stretch limousine with leather interior and a fridge and TV in the back. How do I know this? Because I got in! In hindsight, probably not my smartest move but I survived to tell the tale so the driver wasn’t a human traffiker or serial killer as far as I can tell!
- I joined a tour group and we got ourselves in so many weird predicaments like a tornado warning siren going off at our campground and then a flood (resulting in an impromtu trip to an ice-cream parlour cos ya know, that’s a safe place and all).
- One night at our campground about 10 emergency vehicles turned up. We still don’t know why.
- In Cape Cod we were sitting on the edge of the coastline at our campground having a chat, stood up and moved away and BOOM! Something exploded in the ground and left a gaping hole where we had been sitting. I could seriously not make this shit up. What?!
Though I am still alive to tell the tale, flying and I are never a smooth experience.
- Auckland to LA: I arrive, my luggage doesn’t.
- LA to Auckland: Auckland was closed due to fog so diverted to a military base where we sat for 6 hours on the tarmac with no food or water as it had been dumped prior to landing. When my mum called to find out where my flight was they told her ‘Sorry ma’m, I can’t find that flight, we’re not sure where it is but hopefully we find it soon’. Great customer service!
- London to Singapore: We sat on the tarmac for 2 hours due to a severe thunderstorm before the pilot came on the loudpeaker to announce we would be taking off because ‘Apparently it is too hard to unload everyone’ so we were instructed to keep our window shades down at all times and brace for a bumpy ride. And bumpy it was! Lovely!
- Singapore to Auckland: I get pulled aside for having knives in my hand luggage. Yes, you read that right. Oops! I had bought Swiss Army knives in Switzerland and had the super bright idea to carry them in my hand luggage so I wouldn’t lose them! I got through Healthrow with them though which is worrying in itself! A week later with the London Bombings I am sure security would have been cracked up a notch! One would hope so anyway.
So who wants to come travelling with me next?!
Have you had any crazy travel experiences? Where were you when you found out about the events taking place on 9/11?
Linking with Jess for IBOT today.
33 thoughts on “My Crazy Travel Misadventures”
Wow! That’s quite a list of misadventure! When I was 18, I went to the Gold Coast on Schoolies- except my aunt, who worked for the airline, had booked me on a flight to the Sunshine coast- not the Gold coast. I’d never been to Queensland before and although I mentioned it, no one seemed to think anything of it. Turns out, there’s quite a difference between the two!
Amy @ HandbagMafia recently posted…A Crime in Pictures
So did you end up in the wrong place?! Would love to hear how that story ended!
Oh wow! I think there’s a book in all this!
JodiGibson (@JFGibsonWriter) recently posted…Why I’m practicing purposeful interaction
Haha, there probably could be! My Nana rang a radio station and told them about my stories and they wanted to interview me! Friends have often said I am lucky I am just a small ol Kiwi girl because otherwise the CIA might take an interest in my movements.
Of all those stories, the one where the pilot (clearly not happy with the decision made above him) said it was too hard to off load everyone. I think I’d burst into terrified tears…GOD!!
Lydia C. Lee recently posted…First of the Month Fiction – July
Oh, he was very unhappy Lydia! You could hear it in his tone of voice. He was actually saying he wasn’t sure he agreed with it but the powers that be had said we were to fly so he had to follow orders! How is that for confidence building?!
I am so never going to travel with you….jinxy jinx lady! But also because I have weird things happen to me when I travel too. Probably not as bad as yours, but still some shitty things happen. My favourite was the exploding ground. That is just crazy man!
Kelly recently posted…I HAVE A BACKSEAT DRIVER
Are you sure Kelly? We could have fun together! The cows could chase me and you could tame them? Would love to hear some of your stories, please do share!
Okay…….I forgot my passport when getting on a cruise ship to your wonderous land – N.Z…….so they didn’t allow me to get on the ship. I waved my Mum off (who was crying lots). I actually did have a passport on me, but apparently it was my expired one. This obviously was my fault, but I blamed everyone else but me, of course. I had to fly back to another state, get my passport, then fly to NZ to get on the ship while they docked. It was a very shit experience.
Also had numerous times where my luggage hasn’t showed after getting off a flight. One time was when I was going camping in country Victoria. So camping can be harsh enough…..I now didn’t have any toiletries or clothes to change into, for 3 days.
Had flights cancelled because of volcano ash spreading from a place a billion miles away. Taken other peoples luggage from carousels. Nearly died in a light plane crash (well I thought I was dying), because of bad weather….alarms were going off and everything.
I could go on, but I won’t. xo
Kelly recently posted…EXCUSES, EXCUSES
Oh my gosh, that sounds horrid! The flying back for a passport and the near death experience! Agh! What happened? I love plane crash stories. Though clearly you didn’t actually crash. I have a weird fascination with Air Crash Investigation, despite the fact I already have a fear of flying.
I have a massive fear of flying too, so it was probably worse in my head. It was really bad rain and wind, and the plane was going everywhere. The pilots didn’t talk to us the whole time, but you could see they were stressed. I had a bruise on the back of my calf (that took up my whole leg), from clenching onto the seat too tight. I get sick even thinking about it!
Kelly recently posted…EXCUSES, EXCUSES
Dear haidee, if you’re coming to adelaide any time, please let me know so I can ensure it coincides with me holidaying elsewhere 😉 😉 love, Liv xx
Liv recently posted…Surprise…It’s a baby!
But wouldn’t you rather travel with me than endure another outing to Bunnings with three children and balloons Liz? It is probably safer!
That’s crazy! What incredible stories.
P.S Do you mean 2001 for the 9/11 one? You’ve put 2011 =)
Yes, I totally mean 2001. Haha. I am having the blondest day today! Thanks, have rectified it. Doh!
What GREAT read. I don’t know if I could recall all my weird mishaps. My memory isn’t what it used to be. I remember where I was for 9/11 too. But not as close as you by any stretch. WHOA! I can’t imagine that airport so empty as you described. When I was there it was BUSY!!!
I too went on an adventure alone at 19 to Europe. Scary. Many stories of that.
Limos are the way to go in a big city if you can get one. Flat rate instead of watching the ride cost go up in a cab. So painful.
I’d love to sit and have wine with you and hear some more details of these tales. It just makes you more interesting, dangerous and alluring. haha
Peachy Keen Mumma – Jess recently posted…10 Reasons I’m Totally Into Older Mums
I need stories so I don’t feel alone! Please share 🙂
Yes, dead quiet. No lines to check in or anything, it was so weird.
I’d love to have a wine! How about we travel somewhere together and drink loads? Hehe.
Gosh, some of those are pretty full-on and terrifying… but I love the Attack Of the Crazed Squirrels story. It is true that the biggest adventures in our lives always seem to happen when we’re travelling, but you definitely take it to the next level!
Zoe Meunier recently posted…11 ways Wentworth is just like life with small children
The squirrels were crazed, I swear! No one ever believes me on that count except others at the camp who experienced the same thing. I think maybe they got too tame and brave from being used to seeing people all the time.
Don’t take this the wrong way but I am never travelling with you! In fact next time I am travelling I might give you a call and make sure you are staying home. :/
Malinda @mybrownpaperpackages recently posted…Is busy a good thing?
Haha Malinda, are you sure I can’t convince you? I have survived to tell the tales after all! I could say I am really the luckiest girl in the world!
I remember watching 9/11 happen on the tv. I would’ve totally freaked if I was over there and had to fly home though, no way I would’ve wanted to get on a plane any time soon.
Toni @ Finding Myself Young recently posted…Mummy Must Have Review | Attipas kids shoes
It was probably the safest time to travel ever as they were so on alert. That’s what I told myself anyway!
HA! This reminds me of a post I did earlier this year – about how I always go cruising days after disaster!!! Luckily no such problem with this last trip 🙂 (Here’s the post if you want to read it: http://www.middleagedmama.com.au/cruising-days-after-disaster/)
Janet aka Middle Aged Mama recently posted…Europe Trip 2015: How the Kids Coped Without Us
I read and commented on it at the time Janet, it was one of the things that inspired me to write this post 🙂
Hi Haidee, all funny in hindsight, given you are still alive. Have you ever thought about pitching a tent in you lounge room and holidaying at home? x
Lisa Heidke recently posted…It’s really here! The Callahan Split
Haha, well I must say that in recent years we have holidayed at home simply because I am not brave enough to have a holiday with two boys under 4! I’ll have to share the misadventures of my husband next I think, he has had some insane life experiences too!
This is a book in itself… I have a girlfriend like this and I love hearing her stories.. Always makes me smile
Natalie @ our parallel connection recently posted…Shopping with your daughter – in the same shop.
My husband is like this too, except he has never left the country so all his crazy experiences have happened in NZ. I’ll share those another day but include naked axe weilding old men, fires and near death experiences with flying pipes!
That is some list of dramas Haidee – it is a wonder you are still with us. That Cape Cod explosion sounds like a very close call. We were in New York immediately before the 10th anniversary of 9/11 (hubby competed in the World Firefighters games which was staged around the anniversary). It was very surreal. We’ve had some ‘interesting’ travel experiences too – travelling to China to adopt our daughter was fun when my husband snapped his achilles tendon two weeks before and went on crutches, and there was that time….
Kathy recently posted…Get a new perspective – fast!
It definitely sounds like you have had some life experiences to share too Kathy. Adopting from China is one all of it’s own! I looked into international adoption when I was going through our infertility and thought it may not happen for us and it is a very hard road. You must feel so blessed to have gone down it and come home with your daughter (despite the snapped archilles – ouch!)
I love reading about your antics! Chased by a squirrel – that is gold!
Emma @ Life, kids and a glass of red recently posted…Is it just an XY chromosome thing?
Wow, it sounds like it was never a dull moment! The only travel mishap I’ve had was having my bank account cleaned out while on holidays a few years ago. Thankfully I was with my parents so I wasn’t stranded but it was pretty demoralising to have to ask my parents for drinks etc while on holidays as an adult.
Tegan recently posted…Pristiq kicked my arse