Commonplace Thoughts of a Residual Welshman: Top Ten Difficult Moments When Traveling

What is the worst thing that can happen to you when you are traveling?  As I am traveling a lot these days, I decided to make a Lettermanesque list of the top ten bad things that can happen to you when you’re traveling. You can decide for yourself if I am right.

10.  You packed too much.  Yes, that’s right, even for the seasoned traveler, there is at tendency to overpack.  I am in Romania as I write this, and when my wife saw how little I was taking she said, “No way. That’s not enough.” But, for the first time in my married life, she was wrong.  I did pack enough, barely. Okay, so she was pretty close to right.

9. You can discover that you used someone else’s toothbrush by accident. Now some of you are thinking this should be number one. But it is not. Why? This rarely happens, but I have had it happen.  And it is gross, but not as bad as number 8.

8. You lose your passport, and you didn’t bother to make a xerox or photograph of it. Hassle city in either case.  Sorry!

7. Some son-of-a-bugger cuts in line while you’re patiently waiting to get into a museum, or board a plane, or even just check out of the grocery store.  Yep, that’s a pisser. There’s no point in complaining. They will pretend to know no English.

6. Your luggage gets lost. Really lost. Like it’s five to eight days lost, and you’re now in another city, and it’s still lost. Good news/bad news. You just bought a new wardrobe—that’s the good news.  Bad news: you skipped the $12 trip insurance that covered lost luggage.  Crud.

5. Your glasses break. Yep, that happened to me on this trip. So you go to get new ones. But, because you’re in Wales, they don’t allow you to get them without a “valid” (=within one year) prescription.  But your exam was a year and 2 weeks ago.  “Sorry, not ‘valid’.”  Ugh!  So you call your ophthalmologist and convince him to change the date. He does so, but it will now cost you a really expensive gift that you will have to bring all the way from Wales for him. Still, things could be worse.  Try number 4.

4. Strike.  Yes, strike. The Europeans (especially the Italians?) seem to love to have strikes. And somehow they time them for when you need to travel. So the busses and trains both shut down.  Seriously? You kiddin’ me?

3. Your kid falls off a skateboard and knocks out her front teeth. Yep, that happened to me when I was in Africa. With my wife. My poor eldest daughter had to handle everything. There’s a special place in Heaven for her. There definitely is.

2. You wind up in a TB ward because you broke a few ribs falling when you got out of the shower.  In Ukraine.  You just can’t make this stuff up.  So, when you get home you have to be tested for TB.  Yikes!

1. You simply have no toilet paper at a very, very inopportune moment. You’re already in a men’s or women’s room that is hygienically unacceptable—no toilet seat; yep, none. And you really need to be in that bathroom because you were apparently not used to the water or the food or something… well you can do the math. And only after you’ve taken care of your emergency—for it was an emergency—do you realize that the dispenser has nothing to dispense. So you use your teeth or a nail clipper or a match or something to rend your underwear into pieces to use as “substitute toilet paper” and then you go commando the rest of the day.  You can see why this one is at the top of the list.  I am glad to say that it has only happened to me once.

Thanks for reading. Sorry to close with the grossest one, but it is number 1 for a reason. And you can see why I did not put any pictures in the blog. No need. The images dance off the page.

Bon voyage.  Gute Reisen! Happy travels! 

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