Travel Stories with CaroMay 10, 2019
Dalat, Vietnam for the solo travellerJune 17, 2019
The about paragraph for on Kay's website states “Recipe for an awkward traveller: Add 1 cup twenty-something female. Heat a teaspoon of puns and dumb memes on medium low-heat. Stir in a couple plane tickets, train rides, and a road trip or two. Let simmer for an uncomfortable amount of time. Pair with two slices of always getting lost and mixing up itinerary times. Use a dash of salt to taste”
Now if that isn’t a quirky as hell way to introduce yourself, I don’t know what is.
Here is a great interview from “The Awkward Traveller” The great thing about Kay and her website, is that you can see the funkiness and fun from a million miles away. Everything from her choice of blog post titles to fonts on feature images. You just know you are bound to have a good time reading these stories.
But before we carry on about her website I am just busting to ask her several questions….
You were kicked out of a hotel in Paris for being “an evil white woman” - What happened?
AHAHAHA. Ah yes, so I have a post on my blog with all the details, but let me summarize real quick. My friends and I were spending the weekend in Paris for one of their birthdays. At the last minute, an extra friend had decided to join and we called the hotel to make sure it was okay - and they said it was fine. At midnight, the concierge forced us out of our room, saying that we were trying to scam the hotel because we brought an extra person.
We tried explaining the situation, but alas, we were kicked out. I distinctly remember the concierge yelling that he could see the evil in our eyes and we were evil white women. I had to look in a mirror just to double check what he was seeing. I don’t remember the hotel, because one of my other friends had booked it, but I believe it was a small boutique hotel, maybe only a handful of rooms. There were four of us total, and we were more bummed than freaking out. Luckily, one of us had a friend in Paris who helped us find a last minute hotel that wasn’t too expensive and it ended up being REALLY COOL. So, now we just laugh about it. Hahaha.
You can read Kays story here
You say you nearly died in Hawaii when going skydiving - OMG! What happened? How close to death are we talking? Would you go skydiving again?
In hindsight, I probably wasn’t very close to ACTUALLY dying. But it sure felt like it. I actually have a post about this experience too! BUT, long story short : I ate way too much Dole Whip. That was the first mistake. Literally, like 10 minutes later, I was boarding the plane to skydive. I discovered very quickly that I get extreme motion sickness. I was having trouble getting my goggles on in the plane because I was so nauseous. The ride was choppy due to cloud cover which made everything WORSE and the plane had to loop around multiple times waiting for the clouds to pass. When it was finally time to jump, I was like “THANK GOD GET ME OUTTT” - but then I discovered falling was worse.
I couldn’t breathe and my eye mask kept trying to fly off so my tandem partner had to loop his hands around to secure my mask on my face. Then my hair tie broke, and sent my hair EVERYWHERE and he couldn’t see and our arms got tangled since he was literally holding onto my face. He was trying to grab the parachute, but somehow my bra strap snapped and I was hanging REAL LOOSE then. When he finally got the parachute out, we did a couple turns and the nausea came back. I had to staple my hand to my mouth so vomit wouldn’t spew out thousands of feet in the air. I was a limp ragdoll by the time we touched down haha.
I felt really bad because my tandem partner felt bad that I was horribly uncomfortable the entire time hahah. I napped in the parking lot for like 2 hours after.
You can read this hilarious story here
If that isn’t bad enough, you then nearly died again snorkelling in Mexico - Okay, so you clearly don’t have too much luck…. Please tell us about the snorkelling incident.
I sense a pattern for most of my travel stories...So, disclaimer, I’m not too great of a swimmer, but I THINK I AM. So when I had the opportunity to go open sea snorkelling out in a reef in Mexico, I was like, "UM DUH, LET'S DO IT". And technically, it wasn’t snorkelling. It was called ‘snuba,’ kind of like a combo of snorkelling and scuba diving. Basically, you’re connected to an air tank, but instead of having it attached to you, it floated on a little life raft on the surface.
I guess I expected them to teach me how to use the device.
They showed us how to put it on, and then we hopped on a boat. The boat ride was about twenty minutes out to the middle of nowhere, then the Captain was just like “okay! Go :)”
I looked at the ocean. Then back at him.
He was still just “ 🙂 ” at me, so I slowly inched my way into the water. Apparently, the whole snuba thing was self-explanatory to the rest of the group and they were able to just dive down into the deep blue ocean. I - on the other hand - could not figure out how to breath in the mouthpiece and I kept swallowing water and getting pushed over by waves. I was so far behind that I couldn’t even see the rest of the group. Eventually, the guide swam back over to me and removed my weighted belt so I just kind of bobbed along the surface with my floatie tank. It was humiliating.
Just when we thought things couldn’t get worst, you say you were crushed by elevators in Japan… you are obviously living to tell the story so we would love to hear it?
Yeah, okay, I don’t know why, but Japan is OBSESSED with efficiency. Seriously, you take 0.23 seconds too long to get into an elevator, and the darn thing tries to leave without you! That’s exactly what happened. I had just woken up and heading down to start my day at an early 10am, and the elevator door literally sandwiched me because I took too long to get into the elevator. Traumatic. But I learned my lesson.
Now that we have heard all of these life stories, how do you think they have changed you as a person and a traveller?
Well, they made me update my will. Haha. Really though, traveling definitely makes you more comfortable with failing. I know that might sound weird, but really, travel is really freaking imperfect. And it seems like once one thing goes bad, it just snowballs and demolishes a lot of other plans. Once, I missed a flight by twenty minutes on my birthday. There were no other flights for two hours. That caused me to miss my rental car pickup, and since it was a super cheap budget rental, there were no refunds AND they were out of any other cars. That made me miss my tour that I had booked. I got stuck in traffic and missed my dinner reservations. I had to eat at some random burger place. Then I got food poisoning.
It was a mess.
But also, it happens.
Travel made you adapt to that kind of stuff, and it’s applicable outside of travel. Travel has also made me a better communicator and has helped me push myself outside of my comfort zone.
If you could pick one major thing that you live your life by, what would it be?
You’re gonna get in debt sooner or later. Have some fun.
Now let’s make this harder. What 10 things do you live your life by - motos, things that are important to you etc
Omg, okay that’s hard. Let’s see
- Work hard, play responsibility
- Diversify your media
- Care about the world as if it were your own
- Listening is both the most important, and hardest, lesson to learn
- Recognize your own privilege and use it to uplift others
- Take care of your body - physically and mentally
- Life is like a box of chocolates - it melts in the sun. Wear sunscreen
- Never let someone else determine how you feel about yourself
- The sooner you address a problem, the sooner you will reach a conclusion
- Flint needs water
What are your bucket list destinations - Let’s say 3 countries/cities you must visit before you retire your “travel-bones” and why?
Well, considering my knees are already starting to give out, that may not be too far in the future. And mmm I guess my top places revolve around my favorite animals. So top 3 - China for pandas, Antarctica for penguins, and Kenya for cheetahs! That said, it’s really important for me to make sure I see these animals ethically and without contributing to harmful tourism practices. So no leash walking, no circus shows, no...whatever else goes on behind closed doors.
I urge everyone to google and research animal sanctuaries, reserves, and parks BEFORE they visit. And if you go somewhere and see the animals drugged or tied up with chains as people pose next to them...SAY SOMETHING. Speak out, write a TripAdvisor review, tell others not to go there. You can help change bad travel practices!
And don’t ride elephants!!
Let's talk about the Global Dreamers Foundation. I LOVE this. I have mentioned very briefly my plan for She Roam Solo charity (details here) but you, you have just gotten straight in there with something simple, possible and effective - like giving someone a passport. This is amazing. Please talk to us about where the idea came from, how it will work and your ideal hopes and goals for it.
Ah yeah! So I guess the idea came from me being a travel blogger. Like, the whole point is that I want to help people travel. And travel tips and guides help, but...can I do more?? Well...yeah! So I thought back to what really trampolined my traveling. Back in high school, my French class had a spring break trip to France. But, it was already so expensive and I didn’t even have a passport and like - when would I ever be able to afford travel anyway? But then a family friend gave me the money for my passport and told me to try.
Having a passport made me believe that I at least had a shot. I was already halfway there. And ultimately, I think not having a passport stops even the IDEA that travel is a possibility. So that’s what I am hoping to counteract.
Down the road, I’d love to tackle bigger constraints and have a study abroad scholarship and even sponsored trips for first time travelers, but for now we are focusing on passports!
Find out more about this wonderful charity initiative here
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