On ABC Saturday Breakfast we like to keep things inspiring and exciting but sometimes to do that we have to remember those moments that were less than perfect.
There’s certainly been a lot of excitement about being able to travel again. It might be time to reunite with loved ones, use that voucher for travel that was cancelled because of the pandemic or maybe it’s the first family trip overseas?
There’s a lot to be excited about but on Hidden Treasures we thought we’d look at some of the experiences that have become great stories but at the time might have caused a bit of anxiety or discomfort. Have you been stuck in an airport sleeping on a plastic chair because of delayed flights? Have you been bitten by something? Have you had non-stop rain or got bogged with a rising tide on the beach?
Think about it! What story are you more interested in? The glistening toilet in a six-star resort suite or a bucket on a barge, one night on the border between Malaysia and Thailand.
I love any good story and I think some of the best stories in the world are survival stories. Surviving storm tossed seas, stumbling over endless dunes in the Sahara, being attacked and left for dead by a bear!
But there are also those survival stories, those horrible tales that are told when we’re home safe and sound from our travels.
Having to sleep on a plastic chair in a busy airport with one eye open to guard your luggage. Having to sleep on a plastic chair in a busy airport while they try and find your luggage.
To help us along I’ve come up with four categories:
Travelling with my daughter and being detained in South Africa due to bureaucracy around child slavery laws.
Being stuck in an airport in the middle of the night with a toddler.
Attending the Indian festival of Deepavali in a far away land and feeling even further away after being hit in the head by a street lit firework that was aimed at my head.
Being attacked by a flesh-eating spider in Borneo and forgetting my bedroom was split level.
Leeches! Just like the scene in Memphis Belle when they’re panicking over whose blood is all over the cockpit, my scenario was in a dinghy, deep in the jungles of Perak in Northern Malaysia. We were wondering whose blood was sloshing around the bottom of the boat. It was all of us!
Hotels in Rome are less hit and miss these days but I definitely got the miss on my first visit. The pillow slip had been made in Ancient Roman times and barely held the mouldy pieces of foam where I was expected to rest my head. Nothing worse than a bad bed.
Houseboats. For me, a category on their own. I’ve stayed on a barge in the jungle with hygiene the Dark Ages would have been proud of and with a toileting task that required me to move my movements from the toilet on one side of the boat to the other. With a soup ladle. I wasn’t eating anything that came out of that kitchen.
I’ve also stayed on what could only be described as a non airconditioned donger with floats, with two sets of my greatest friends who by the end of the trip were close to being my greatest enemies. Tempers flared as temperatures rose. Lost items overboard. Bird sized mosquitoes.
Traditional Longhouse in Borneo. Not so bad as a cultural experience but when you’ve had a few Tiger beers and you’re at the end of the longhouse and getting up for a wee in the middle of the night means walking on creaking bamboo slats that wakes everyone up it’s embarrassing and means you can’t get up again.
Motels by the side of highways. If it’s not roadtrains going past it’s the the Peters Ice Cream truck parked outside with the genny on the truck running to stop the drumsticks from melting. All night long …DRDRDRDRDRRDR.
Worst travel experiences are Hidden Treasures because as long as you’ve survived, you’ve got a great story and maybe a photo as well. Worst travel moments are hidden treasures because they’re character building. God! I sound like my mother!