The idea that travel is an adventure is one of the oldest clichès in the book. But, it’s a clichè because it’s true. And, on adventures, things go wrong. Often.
I’ve made so many mistakes while on the road that it would be impossible for me to recount them all. I’ve worn the wrong footwear on hikes and ended up with blisters as big as my heel. I’ve been pickpocketed not once, but twice. I’ve taken a metro in the wrong direction a dozen times. The mistakes never end.
But that’s also what I love about travel: the constant sense of exploration, of trial and error, of sketching out new terrain on your mental map.
Below, I’ve collected as many of the mistakes as I can remember that I’ve made while traveling. There are a lot. Perhaps you’ll learn from my mistakes and save yourself some aggravation.
1. I forgot to print out my boarding pass before getting on a budget airline. I had to pay $34 to print out my boarding pass at airport check-in.
2. In Bali, I made the mistake of wearing flip-flops while driving a scooter bike. When my hand slipped on the throttle with my foot on the ground, it dragged and I ended up with a nasty cut.
3. On my last night in Tokyo, I decided it was a good idea to spend the night out drinking at an izakaya and singing karaoke. I woke up in a stupor, barely made my 8 a.m. flight, and was nauseous for the entire 13-hour flight to New York.
4. I was warned not to take Mexico City’s metro during rush hour before arriving. When I got off my plane around 9:30 a.m. I knew I was pushing it, but decided to ride it anyways. The train was more packed than a zombie-apocalypse evacuation and I got my phone pick-pocketed.
5. It did not occur to me how warm the Dead Sea in Israel gets during the summer. When I visited in July, the water was as toasty as a hot tub. It was not enjoyable. Next time, I’ll come in the winter.