This year has been amazing. in 2014, I went to 10 (ten) countries and September hasn’t yet ended and I’ve travelled to nine (9) countries already!
Yes, nine (9) countries!
Travelling to a foreign country is always exciting and recently, I read a post from a young American blogger called Amanda, in which she shared travel stories that weren’t so nice. She called her piece: Bloggers and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Travel Day.
I also read a very engaging post from another American blogger called KemKem. She told us about what can happen to people who aren’t properly prepared. You could end up scrubbing toilets for tuppence! Read it here: Quit your job, sell your stuff and be a digital nomad? NO. Not Yet!
Now believe it or not, my blog isn’t even two (2) years old and even though it’s a young, dynamic blog (Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!), I have been travelling far and wide BEFORE the blog itself existed.
Oh yes sirree!
I have been to 30 countries in Europe, 10 countries in Asia, 6 countries in Africa, 2 countries in North America, 1 country in South America, 1 country in the Middle East, 5 dependent islands, That makes a grand total of 55 countries.
I have had some exciting times.
I have had some intriguing times.
And some of those times were rather more adventurous than I expected.
Or even wanted!
So here’s a few to whet your appetite for the week. Here we go…
Remember that time when I arrived in Delhi (India) and my executive deluxe room (just €17.00) had been given to somebody else!
I had heard rumours of the chaos and disorganisation of Asian bookings so I had actually searched out the room myself on-line (Ha! Ha!) and had asked STA (Student Travel Agency) in Berlin to book it on my behalf. I paid them here and called the hotel in Delhi.
Everything was fine.
A week to go, I called the hotel. The booking had been received.
24 hours prior, I faxed the hotel whilst I had a 24 hour stop-over in Istanbul. All was perfectly OK.
The Indian hotel even sent a driver to pick me up at the airport as my flight arrived at 02.00 in the wee hours, but when I finally got to the Reception desk at 03:00, the Hotel Receptionist didn’t know who the hell I was!
My room was nowhere to be seen and my already paid-for-and-confirmed-booking was nowhere to be found!
His solution. I ought to go to another hotel “down the road!”
I was so scared.
I was in India.
I absolutely refused to move from his side and stood in front of him.
I showed him the receipt, the hotel confirmation, the copy of the bill and the fax, but he just shrugged his shoulders and carried on watching Indian TV.
And then I began to cry.
Ad then I don’t know whether he was embarrassed, or just wanted to take pity on me but he asked me to wait.
For two (2) hours!
And then a man came out with his belongings and a blanket wrapped around his waist. An old woman went into a room and washed and cleaned it.
That was my room.
He never did explain what happened, and I never asked. I was just happy to be safe and sound.
And then I locked the door and went to sleep for a few hours before being awoken by the shrilling sounds of a poppadom man on the first (1st) daunting day in India.
Remember that time when I got mugged by a bunch of children in Tunisia!
These were the days before mobile phones.
I had decided to go on a last-minute holiday to Hammamet for just €99.00. Now one of the beauties of going on a “last-minute” holiday was that you didn’t really know where you were going and you had to leave everything to chance and cross your fingers LOL! It was January, low season, and our hotel was quiet.
Hence €99.00 for a week. Including the flight, and a half-board 4-star hotel!
I didn’t want to spend all my time around my hotel so I decided to go to the local market.
I’ve always enjoyed talking to local people, taking photographs and generally poking my nose here and there.
I happened to stop at a shop which sold leather purses and handbags. I bought two (2) and continued to wander aimlessly around.
Suddenly, a bunch of young children came running towards me.
I had been day-dreaming so didn’t see them coming and ended up right in the middle of at least 20 kids.
I held my hands up to hold my balance and that was when I realised that a little hand had slipped their fingers into my pockets, and taken my purse.
My purse which had money in it and my keys.
I have the tones and look of a teacher. I tried to gather them all up and decipher who had taken my purse.
I asked them to open their hands, but they just giggled, opened their hands and ran circles around me.
How do I get back to my hotel?
I don’t have any money.
What should I do?
I thought a moment and remembered the man who I had shopped at. Luckily, I remembered where he was as I had spent at few hours there haggling, and drinking tea.
The fellow didn’t speak any English and I don’t speak any Arabic or French (only school French which didn’t really help…!) but somehow, someone was able to explain what had happened.
This man who had never previously met me before that day, kindly offered to lend me some money so that I could get back to my hotel.
The hotel had to break open my suitcase as the keys were in my purse AND I had to pay for a new room key, but whatever!
The next day, I went back to the market and I returned the loan and tried to give the man a tip but he wouldn’t take it.
I never forgot him.
Oh, and when I travel. I leave my suitcase keys in the hotel safe and leave my house keys.
Remember that time when I went to the Isle of Skye in Scotland and we ended up sleeping in the office!
I’ve been to Scotland many times. I like Scotland.
Now because I’m married, have a child, and a job as a corporate inter-cultural life coach, educational English language trainer and teacher in Berlin, as well as this wonderful lifestyle, travel, expat blog, at some point I have to start planning for travel.
I have to get smart.
Now I’ve said it before but if you’re over 25 years old with jobs, families, responsibilities, and crossroads in front of you, you need to do what I do.
I live life to the full, I work hard at my office and on my blog, and I get creative.
I first went to the Isle of Skye in 2007 and at that time only a little over 2,000 people lived on the Island, and the Island had just one hostel.
That one hostel had just one double room.
Which I had booked.
I reserved and booked it exactly one year ahead as we wanted to go to the Isle of Skye at peak time.
We had been travelling around Scotland and had already been to Glasgow, Edinburgh, Perth, Aberdeen, and Inverness and the Isle of Skye was to be a highlight.
We arrived in the early evening after crossing through the Cuillin mountains so imagine my surprise, when we checked in and our booking wasn’t there.
Our booking WAS there but someone had crossed it out with a pencil!
No need to panic. The guy manning the desk was just a boy. We’ll go to the local pub and come back later.
We came back a few hours later and indeed, our reservation WAS correct but the room was no longer available!
The manager apologised appropriately and promised to find us another room which he would personally pay for.
Well, he called as many establishments as he called.
He pretty much called the world, being that the Island is quite tiny, but no can do.
It’s August and High Season you see.
Not a spare room to be had anywhere.
Oh, did I tell you that I was travelling with my son. British law states that children cannot share sleeping space with adults who are non-family members hence, the private room!
In the end, the hostel made up the office and put in camping beds, and that was how we spent our first night sleeping in the manager’s office!
Are these the only stories I have?
I have loads more but I’ll leave them for another day because in the next few weeks, I’ll be on the road again. This time there’ll (hopefully) be no room for disasters.
In November, I’ll be going to Bristol & Bath.
I’m going to be the guest of Destination Bristol and I’ll be staying in a stylish rooftop rocket at the Brooks Guest House in Bristol. I’m going to be opening my intellect at the Bristol Old Vic. You know how much I love drama and theatre. Get a hanky and a glass of wine ready!
I’ll be chomping my way through an English fare of rabbit or lamb at The Cowshed and spending an afternoon shopping and daintily sipping and chewing Afternoon Tea at the Avon Gorge Hotel. Yum! Yum! I also have plans to go on a ship that changed the world and a historical walk through the town.
Bristol is going to be so much fun!
I’ll let you know what I’ll be doing in Bath once things are cut and dried but I’ll most likely be exploring the history behind the city’s spa culture, the 2,000 year old Roman Baths, peeking into Georgian England, nibbling on an original “Sally Lunn” bun and losing myself in the fashionable society of Jane Austen!
In October, I’ll be going to Poland.
I won’t say anything more as I’m going to write a huge post about it next week. If you want more information, check out my post from last week LOL!
I’ll be writing all about my up-coming adventures in the next few weeks. Stay tuned!
This article isn’t sponsored and all opinions and the delicious Polish dumplings that I am sure to enjoy, are my very own!
I have so much to share with you.
In the next few weeks, I’ll be at the following events:
Until 26.09.15 only, the Wintergarten Varieté will be presenting The SOAP Opera show or Show SEIFEN OPER. Go see it before it’s too late!
From 28.09.15 – 07.10.15 the Bar Jeder Vernunft will be presenting, for one (1) week only, a festival of top British entertainment – Britain’s Best! Music and Comedy.
I’ll be there. Will you?
If you’re going to Warsaw or Bristol or Bath, let me know!
September is going to be delicious!
Watch this space!
Have you ever had a travel disaster? Spill the beans!
See you in Berlin.
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