Since my December 2018 European travel bloopers were so well-received, I thought, Why not compile a list of top bloopers from some of my previous trips?
So, I did.
I think we all can relate to things not going as planned in life – and especially in travel because it puts us out of our comfort zones and daily routines. While I’m grateful I haven’t experienced any truly MAJOR mishaps, I gotta admit that I wasn’t exactly cool, calm, and collected during each of these blooper-ish moments.
Whether you can relate or need a good laugh, read on.
BARCELONA, SPAIN // May 2017: The difficult door
The entire time I spent in Barcelona, I struggled to open the exterior door of my Airbnb’s apartment building. At first, I seriously thought something was wrong with my key – or with me for not knowing how to turn it in the lock! The first time I tried to get in on my own, I literally spent five minutes wiggling, jiggling, twisting, and turning before I threw up my hands and shot an S.O.S. email to my Airbnb host. Not knowing how long it would take him to respond, I kept trying for what felt like forevahhhhh, until I finally managed to open that dang door. And then I felt silly for bothering my host and coming across as an incompetent female, or American, or whatever. BUT, I felt slightly redeemed once I determined that it truly wasn’t me. The door was stubborn and required a precise amount of force with the key turned in the lock just so. By the end of my trip, I finally almost had it down to a science. Almost.
SOUTHERN ITALY // November 2017: The detour dilemma
While staying in Minori on the Amalfi Coast, I took a day trip to Pietrapertosa for a zipline adventure (detailed here). The drive was three hours one way, and on my return trip, I encountered an unexpected exit closure on the highway. The detour had me going in circles, and what should have been a three-hour trip back wound up taking at least four.
Finally, I zoomed in on Google Maps and found my own detour… one that took me down alllll these dirt and narrow paved roads that I still suspect were not for public driving. But, they eventually led me to a paved, public roadway that connected with the highway I needed. And, in the process, I caught a brilliant country sunset over the mountains – which I absolutely pulled over for!
The delay also meant driving that crazy-curvy Amalfi Coastal road in the dark. It’s a challenge in daylight, so nighttime proved to be an even greater adventure. Whew!
MINORI, ITALY // November 2017: The forgotten lunch sack
Noooooooooooo. The moment I settled into my rental car, bound for Naples, I realized that I’d left my favorite camo lunch bag inside the Airbnb. AND, the bag contained my lunch and snacks for the road; AND, I’d already slid the keys under the gate leading into the property. I’d also already locked the chain on my parking space, and my car was idling on the narrow road – so narrow that no other vehicles could pass.
Thinking I could mayyyybe reach under the gate to retrieve the keys, I bolted from the car, sprinted up the steps, and was soon shoulder deep under that gate door. Unfortunately, the keys were still several inches from my fingertips. While searching for a stick or something I could use to extend my reach, another car came along, and I was forced to drive down the winding road till I reached a spot where I could get out of the way and turn around. Yes, turn around – because I certainly hadn’t given up. Unfortunately, I also had to hurry because I had a train to catch in Naples!
Reaching the Airbnb at the top of the hill, I drove past, hoping to find a spot where I could park off the street. No such luck. Instead, I turned around and decided to leave my car in the street again – hoping to somehow retrieve the keys before another car came on the scene. But wait. Just as I stopped in front of the Airbnb, I noticed a man and woman unlocking the gate. They had come to clean it! Thank. You. Jesus.
Popping out of the car, I called to them, explaining the lunch sack situation. Right then, another car did come up behind mine, unable to pass. Such bad timing. But, before I had a chance to react, the man rushed down the steps to chat with the driver while the woman let me inside to rescue my bag – still setting on the counter where I left it. After gushing a series of thank yous to the man, woman, and waiting driver, I was back in my car a minute later, driving down that winding, narrow road with my lunch sack riding shotgun. And I made my train.
MUIR BEACH, SAN FRANCISCO // January 2018: The rogue wave
I already devoted an entire blog post to this hilariously unexpected situation that affected both me and my sister, Jenessa. Click here to read my post Never Turn Your Back on the Ocean. It’s quite possibly the best travel blooper of them all!
PARIS, FRANCE // December 2018: The language gaff
Guys, this wasn’t my first time in Paris, and I know that the French word for ‘yes’ is ‘oui.’ I also know that the French appreciate foreigners at least attempting to speak French – even though many of them speak English. So, I made sure to use my very limited French (ie. hello (bonjour), goodbye (au revoir), thank you (merci), and yes) whenever possible. BUT. For some reason on this trip, instead of saying oui, I kept saying ‘yes’ in Spanish. Si. So many times. NO idea why. Though no one seemed phased, I’m certain they all thought I was thoroughly confused or unusually dense – this American, speaking meager Spanish with a horrible accent in the heart of Paris. So very NOT tres chic.
US CUSTOMS, JFK Airport // December 2018: The forbidden fruit
I bought several extra apples in Paris, thinking I might eat them on the train back to Brussels and the plane back to the U.S. And, I did eat maybe two, but still had two left that I hadn’t eaten by the time I reached Customs in Atlanta. Now, I know that customs is picky about produce, so I figured if I didn’t eat them all on the plane, I’d just throw them in the trash before the plane landed. It’s just that I forgot.
I forgot all about the apples until I was standing in Customs, answering the electronic entry questionnaire. When I got to the question about food, I groaned inwardly and marked YES to produce. Naturally, the border agent wanted to know what type of produce, so I told her and said I’d be glad to throw them away. Unfortunately, it was not that simple, as I quickly learned. Because I hadn’t tossed the apples beforehand, they needed to be thrown into a “special trash can,” as the agent put it. She was kind. She completely understood. But, she had to follow protocol.
After waiting in Customs purgatory for about 20 minutes – watching an agent dig through a series of suitcases – my delinquent apples were finally logged into a computer and properly disposed of (in a very regular-looking trash can). I was free to go. The rest of the security process was thankfully uneventful, so I still had plenty of time to spare before my flight to Tampa.
Throw your leftovers away on the plane, people. Just do it.
Alrighty then. That’s my roundup of travel bloopers from the past two years. The ones that popped into my mind, anyway. No doubt, there were more. There will be more. So, I’m sure this won’t be the last of the travel blooper posts.
This’ll have to tide you over for now. 🙂