If you take the things you see on the internet as real life, you’d think that pretty much everyone is living the absolute perfect life with no troubles, no upsets and always having the best time. In reality this is far, far from the truth in most, if not all cases.
Especially when it comes to travel, I think it’s super important to be transparent and make it clear that although my Instagram may look like a collection of beautiful landscapes, pretty buildings and fun times, whilst these are some of the real and amazing experiences captured on camera – there are so many instances of the opposite nature which aren’t captured, because lets be honest, when I’m lay in bed crying, my first thought isn’t ‘I want to remember this moment, take a picture of me!’.
So this leads me to my honest update of things that haven’t gone so well in my last 7 months of travelling Central America.
Surprisingly, this one didn’t overly bother me at the time and still doesn’t particularly phase me. The most annoying fact was that I lost my phone number, and let me tell you trying to access accounts without your number is not an easy feat.
On a beach, out of hours, with 2 friends and a bottle of rum was the recipe for an amazing night. Singing, dancing under the stars with not a care in the world will forever remain to be one of my travel highlights.
I’m an extremely cautious person and not the most trusting of people I don’t know, and this has unfortunately reaffirmed these feelings. When you’re on a huge beach and a random lone person asks if they can hang their hammock right behind you, (when there are about 1,000 other spots that they could hang it) its a little bit suspicious right?
The beginning of this encounter didn’t sit right with me, so generally I kept my distance and continued to just enjoy my night. Unfortunately these kinds of people are opportunists and will put in 4 hours of work to be friendly, watch you closely, let your guard slip and take advantage in those 2 minutes you take your eye off the ball.
More than anything, I’m grateful that he took my phone when he had the chance and things didn’t get ugly. You never know what desperation will cause a person to do, and I can only imagine putting in 4 hours ‘work’ to leave with nothing wasn’t particularly an option for this guy.
I’m usually an extremely risk adverse person and will avoid doing things which could potentially result in injury. A prime example of this being jumping off a 15m platform into a lake.
I know people do this kind of thing all the time and are absolutely fine, but jumping into deep water with absolutely no experience of jumping off anything other than the side of the pool didn’t seem like a good idea to me. And honestly, kind of proved myself right with this one. As fun and exhilarating as it was so say f*#k it and launch myself off said 15m platform, it completely killed me off for about 32 hours afterwards.
My ears were filled with water post jump and once I’d cleared them I thought all was fine and I was now just a bad ass who jumped off a massive platform. Boy was I wrong, I did not feel so bad ass when I was balling my eyes out in pain just a few hours later.
Mid Volcano Hike Panic Attack
I knew hiking up Volcan Acatenango was going to be a difficult feat, especially for someone who isn’t the most fond of walking in the first place. For me, around the half way mark, panic set in. I was finding it so hard and knew the next half wasn’t going to get any easier, and all I wanted to do was give up. But giving up would mean what? Sitting on my own until people came back down the next morning, or walking back down all that way on my own?
Really, the only other option was to carry on and that terrified me just as much. So naturally I had a nice little panic attack (always fun), composed myself, popped my headphones in, and carried on. I definitely didn’t plan on crying so much on the side of a volcano, but I can’t thank the tour guides enough for being so supportive – I genuinely wouldn’t have been able to do it without them.
Apparently phones and humidity don’t work so well together and my phone decided that it’s charging port wouldn’t function in such weather. It spent a week in a bag of rice whilst I enjoyed life with no phone, but that helped for all of 5 minutes. So the temporary solution ended up being purchasing a wireless charger – just one of many unexpected costs – but the only sure fire fix was to not be in a humid climate. And then all of this became redundant anyway when it got stolen and I had to get a new one. I don’t know if phones bought in Costa Rica don’t face this issue because they’re made different (?) but so far so good!
Technically this wasn’t so much a missed flight, but more an incorrect flight, but this one killed my soul. What originally cost £60 to fly – a great deal – ended up costing over £300. Between my friend and I, we managed to book the flight in the wrong month without realising until we arrived at the airport ready to leave. With non-refundable accommodation booked, it meant we either took the loss on accommodation and paid for a longer transport option, or took a bit of a bigger loss and bought the last 2 seats on the only other flight option that day. Either way it was going to be an expensive mess up and I definitely had to take a while to mourn the loss of such a big amount of money.
But a reminder – money comes and goes, but memories stay forever.
Second Degree Burns
Apparently regular taxis aren’t used so much in some areas of Colombia and the most effective way to get around is my moto taxi. Now motorbikes aren’t my favourite things, and jumping on the back of a random one to get from A-B really isn’t my idea of fun. But needs must and it was only a 5 minute journey.
The journey itself was fine, I kind of just closed my eyes and hoped for the best (longest 5 minutes ever by the way) but getting off the bike at the other end was apparently the most difficult part. I wanted to get off so fast my logic went out the window and I tried to get off from the wrong side, meaning I burnt my leg on the exhaust.
A pretty common injury, but DAMN did that hurt for the next week, and when I accidentally popped the blister getting off a bunkbed… lets just say it made a mess. Gross.
In short, bugs think I’m delicious. Mosquitos, no-see-ums, sand-flies, wasps (how you can be attractive to these I don’t know, but it feels this way for sure) and I’m convinced at one point a spider. I’ve had some serious coverings of bug bites in 7 months and I’ve got plentiful scars to show for it.
Being open about these things aren’t to shine a bad light on travel or Central America, as all of these things could happen literally anywhere in the world. But to be open and honest that travel really isn’t all sunshine and beaches, and that you have to expect that somewhere along the line, things won’t go to plan and in some way you’ll lose out or want to cry (or quite possibly both at the same time) but it’s all part of the fun of travelling, part of the adventure.