Everyone has enemies. Mine always surface when I travel.
It’s natural to have some reservations, some nervousness, some fears about travel. While most people have concerns about bed bugs or pickpockets, I have some unique nemeses that I try to avoid on every trip. Here are my 5 most fearsome adversaries.
There’s bad blood between my family and the rooster community. As a young girl, my father regaled me with his childhood tales of being attacked by roosters in the barnyard, assuring me that these crafty, vindictive birds would peck your eyes out if you were to trip and fall! Such charming bedside stories!
True to form, roosters stalked myguest house in Malawi, making it necessary to take a wildly twisting route to circumvent their territory. I flew down the red dirt road as the roosters chased me, clucking wildly, their bloodlust only heightening by my fear.
This wouldn't be my last encounter with the rooster community, who shadowed me relentlessly on Oahu and Maui. My future dream trip to Kauai seems a perilous fantasy, as the island is famous for its wild chicken population.
Horseback riding is not my thing. As a first time rider in Ireland, I was given the world’s most ornery horse, who’s only focus was to get back to the barn and his half-hearted caregivers as soon as possible.
I gave horseback riding another chance 10 years later, taking an introductory session at a local stable in hopes of gaining enough confidence and competence for a group ride at Bryce Canyon National Park. While I did explain my nervousness, I was nevertheless put on a large horse obsessed with going off trail in search of tasty greenery. I was repeatedly instructed to tell the horse who was boss, but I seemed to lack the knack of assertive equine communications. Needless to say, I canceled my group ride in Bryce Canyon.
I appreciate that there are people who love horseback riding and it’s a central focus for their travels. As for me, I’ll stick to my own two feet! And no offense to the surefooted and un-horse-like mules of the world, I’ll take a pass on riding you as well.
No need to explain this. If you grew up with swimming lessons in the North Atlantic Ocean, you too would hate jellyfish and would scream every time a trace piece of seaweed brushed your leg (even if it’s been 25 years since my last sting). Apparently "swimming with jellyfish" is now a thing. With the ethical 'waters' being less murky than, say swimming with dolphins, I'm told this is catching on and is quite the trend. Fools!
Boats and Buses
An embarrassment to my Maritime roots, I excel at sea sickness to such an extent that would put even the drunkest sailor to shame. Buses and most automobiles are no better. I loathe those travelers who can escape in a book during their 26 hour Bolivian bus ride – I remain the keener at the very front of every commute, staring resolutely out the window, gaining a vast appreciation for the suburbs, industrial wastelands, and highways of the world while I keep my stomach in check.
If I never find myself on a diesel burning dilapidated boat or bus again, it will be too soon.
This is as good a time as ever to apologize to the woman seated in front of me on the bus from Canterbury to Hailsham, my fellow passengers on the tiny flight between Maui and the Big Island, the owners of the house stoop beside the bus stop in Bantry, and the family with innocent children riding alongside me on the CAT ferry from Portland to Yarmouth.
My bad, folks, my bad.
The darling cuisine of the backpacking set, sushi is the one food I can’t abide by. It’s not the raw fish that I find so offensive (although that too is wrong, wrong, wrong) but instead the seaweed. It’s a weed, folks! From the sea! Growing up in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, the smell of rotting kelp was a springtime staple as the salt water ice of the Atlantic Ocean melted along the shore.
Why oh why is every guidebook and travel blog chock full of sushi recommendations? Every airport, train station, and bus depot seems to have ready-go sushi takeaway. Whenever I say “Let’s meet up when I’m in town”, I hear “And I have the best new sushi place for us to try!”
From what I hear, my dislike of sushi is only to everyone else’s benefit, as there is no shortage of people who are more than happy to eat my share!
Surely I'm not the only one with a travel nemesis that stalks me at every destination. What turns your travel dreams into nightmares?
If you enjoyed this article, you'll also like:
Nachos and Nifty Stuff: My Travel Vices
Tales from the Anti-Adventurist: Vanessa Takes to the Trees!
Travel Memories are Made When...I Find a Bookstore