Hey folks! I know that some of you might feel that the majority of my blog posts seem cheery, positive and uplifting though I also mention “misadventures”.
The thing is that the bulk of my travels have been 100% exciting where nothing major went wrong.
But let’s switch gears a bit. Throughout this post I will graphically recall 5 misadventures I’ve experienced that still haunt me to this day, just a heads up, I swear a bit because its warranted lol.
Adventures are not only adventures when everything goes as planned, sometimes the misadventures make it an adventure too.
To make this post a bit more engaging, I’ll also state what I would’ve done had I been able to time travel back to that same unfortunate situation.
A weird Italian guy followed me…
Maybe a month into my study abroad program, I briefly dashed inside a cafe to greet a friend/ make a new friend and when I started out the door, a random Italian male who I did not know began following me several blocks until I made it to the place I needed to be at.
Some of you maybe asking “how did you know he was following you?” Well, he was walking aimlessly, literally the same way I was heading but I looked like I knew where I was going lol. It doesn’t take much to determine when someone is tailing you if you’re as observant as me. They are literally following your exact steps; the least experience stalkers/ creeps will literally run if you run lol, it’s so unnatural, like a clown.
So, I kept walking and sped up my pace because it was already dark out. Once I got to the meet up point, I saw one of my male friends and told him what I had observed and pointed the guy out to him, even there, he (the follower) looked soo out of place, had poor posture, no agency lol.
My friend approached him and and told him to back off. And just like that, the guy turned around and walked back the way he came from without argument or contestation smh. Remain vigilant folks and be ready for anything.
What I would have done differently? I would’ve walked into a store or two to try to lose the guy. Or tell the police.
A week and a half into my stay in Benin via CouchSurfing with a second Benin host, a young millennial guy who was a musician… during the mid morning hours of him cooking me breakfast, a neighborhood “friend” of his went inside of my bag, (it was literally feets away from me in the dinning room while we were in the kitchen) and stole $50 or more from me which was a hell of a lot of money in Benin Francs (they no longer use this currency it’s now the CFA Francs). The culprit was a neighbor of his who was maybe 7 or 8 years old.
I didn’t realize that my money had been stolen until hours later, while I was at a market attempting to buy some beautiful kente fabric now I was low on cash. Pro tip, whenever I travel I hide the bulk of my cash in various places at the place that I’m staying and in various compartments of my luggage, where only I would know to look.
I also count my money daily just cause and so that I know what I have remaining for the rest of my trips. So here is the scenario, I’m holding 2 batches of locally produced kente in my hands, I’m the only foreigner in this quaint Benin market and opened my bag only to see a 1/3 of what I had counted earlier in the day
My stomach was in knots, I was even puzzled and second guessed myself lol.
This little crook really had me second guessing my own money, PS- I also NEVER lose MONEY! I NEVER FUCKING LOSE MONEY, LOL! I ONLY FIND MONEY!
I wind up leaving one of the kente fabric and only purchased what I could with the money I had on me. When the host and I were walking out of the store and started back to his beautiful home, I informed him that some of my money was stolen. Long story short, the host tried to find the kid, he couldn’t find him, he went to various places and many people said that the kid was there earlier spending a lot of money on soda, arcade games, etc.
He had been splurging my fucking cash!
Later that night, the host went to the thief’s home and told his parents what happened. His parents both worked as street merchants, so they sold various vegetables daily on street corners or at outdoors markets to pay their bills and to pay for their children’s education. The mother seemed embarrassed and apologized to me for her sons poor behavior, she stated that he should not have done that and she promised to repay me before I left Benin in a few days.
Two and a half days later, the thief’s father came to the host’s home searching for me and asked for me. He was eager to practice speaking his English, lol, this guy’s teeth were soo white
He apologized on the behalf of his son and paid me the money his son had stolen from me. That was that, I didn’t see the kid for the rest of my stay with that host.
What I would have done differently? I would have kept my bag with me while my host was cooking my breakfast. I usually always kept my bag with me when I know valuables are with me, but the way that sly kid snuck into the kitchen area was unknown to me. This is also something I’ve noticed in some African cultures where especially African males, have this lax attitude about their personal security. I’ve met many African males even outside of the continent who never lock their home’s doors— people would constantly walk in and out of their places like it’s a restaurant lol. I dislike this 100%. My door is always locked lol. I don’t have time to play with people.
Poverty makes some people do stupid stuff lol. Smh. While Couchsurfing in Haiti, on my first day, the host’s little brother (maybe 20 years old) went into my bag and stole my credit card (“Cc”). He and his even dumber friend attempted to purchase several Haitian songs on iTunes while I was out exploring with the host. Again, similarly to the Benin’s thief misadventure, I usually would keep my Cc and such on me while traveling especially while I’m in poorer nations but I literally overlooked the fact that that one particular bag had my Cc in it.
It wasn’t until days later
while I was routinely checking my credit statement that I saw that there were several unsuccessful attempted charges that were still processing from iTunes on my account.
I attempted to contact my Cc provider to tell them that the charges were fraudulent but because I was outside of the US I had to wait on hold for such a long time on the international phone number line.
After several failed attempts at reaching a representative before my minutes would run out (Haiti didn’t offer unlimited calls then, so you had to recharge/ charge up/ refill by adding more money to your existing SIM card # by finding a street merchant you would pay) I told myself that I would resolve the matter once I returned to the USA.
I then went on to tell the host what his brother and his friend had done. At first the host was shocked but later reflected and he stated that he believed me because his brother would constantly steal some of his items as well, etc. I wanted to beat his brother up, I still do, and if I ever see him somewhere in Haiti I WILL knock him out.
This misadventure does have a happy ending for me at least, my Cc provider removed all those fraudulent charges and sent me a new Cc once I returned to the US.
What would I have done differently? I would have moved the Cc to my other bag to avoid giving his brother a chance to search through my personal belongings. I would have analyzed the level of desperation/ poverty that my hosts or their family members would have a little more than I did.
This misadventure was strange from the beginning to the end lol. While in Bangkok, I reached out to a British CouchSurfer I had hosted several years ago because he was now living in Chiangmai, Thailand with his Thai girlfriend… To get from Bangkok to Chiangmai I took the sleeper train… I had no issues heading there. The issue started when I was attempting to return to Bangkok from Chiangmai using the same sleeper train. I’m not sure what the issue was with this particular Thai ticket staff
He did not want to give me a ticket, though my ticket had already been paid for round trip (they give you the tickets hours before the ride, the day of said trip); this guy was rude, only spoke Thai (lol, I don’t speak that language at all). After minutes of looking at him confused, showing him my ticket receipt another female staff intervened and gave me my ticket. Lol, I never really full processed that scenario until just now, (while I was writing this post), it was soo brief yet soo stressful! Ugh, I can’t with some people sometime. Like dude, just do your work and control your emotions for everyone’s sake.
The final subtle misadventure was when I was leaving Beijing to travel to Kigali, Rwanda. I was one of the first people who was at the airport as soon as they open at 8am but I was one of the last 2 people to board the airplane. All of this was due to my bags being too heavy, the airplane staffs were working super slow, the staff had to constantly verify international visa documents (i.e. entry to Rwanda was during the recent spike of Covid-19 cases and the new Rwandan Government vaccine regulations for entry to Rwanda for everyone) and many of their staffs were under trained/ had been using outdated devices.
I wrote more about this situation (here), I had lost countless hours of my life from that ordeal, i was soo anxious and stressed because several people were denied entry to board the plane because they lacked documentation’s/ visa/ etc
I paid soo much money in luggage fees, I also threw away soo much stuff to make my luggage lighter but fortunately I still boarded the plane and reached my final destination for the long overdue vacation to east/central African region.
What would I have done differently? I would have left more stuff at my apartment/ would’ve threw more things away the night before.
And there you have it folks, have you experienced something similar? Comment, like and share.