Angels to the Rescue...or Not!
When most people decide to travel, things that could go wrong don't often times enter their thoughts. For worry warts like me, I always think of the worst case scenario. I'm really a 'what if' kinda girl. But sometimes things can happen on your journey that you never could have thought of happening and had no action plan for what you'd do if it were to ever happen to you. Travelling solo isn't always a bed of roses.
I know when I first announced to my mom that I wanted to travel solo and start a blog; I'm not sure if her eyes could possibly roll any further back into her head. Her immediate questions were 'Why? Why are you wasting your money when you should be buying a house? Do you realize that they kidnap women who travel alone?'...lol From her perspective, these are legit questions and I kinda get it. I don't have children of my own, but I do have a niece. If she came to me with the same announcement I'd probably have questions too. My questions would probably be to see if she's ready for that kind of endeavor rather than discouragement, but all the same I'd still have questions. But at some point in life, you gotta cut the strings and just let people live even if you wanna hug them so tight, that you'll rupture their insides and then they'll be forced to never leave you!
I'd probably say for 98% of my travels so far, has gone quite smoothly. That other 2% however uhhhmmmmm I could have did without. I remember awhile ago I was in Trinidad. This trip I was actually there with a girlfriend. I don't know anyone who lives there, but it was all good. We were staying at the Marriott for one night before we headed to Tobago the following day. We decided to go out to Ariapita Avenue for the night. The Avenue is where all the nightlife places are; restaurants, bars, clubs. So we got a trusted taxi from the hotel, paid in advance and scheduled a pick up time for him to come get us (We scheduled the pickup time in advance since we didn't have a working cell phone. My phone only worked with wifi, and I wasn't able to make calls.) We had a time bar hopping the night away.
At about 2am in the morning, we went to the meeting place for our taxi. No taxi. Waited for about 15 minutes, still no taxi! Not gonna lie, we started to get a little panicked. At about 2am onward is when people are starting to get a little tipsy or drunk and you definitely don't wanna be the touristy looking people on the street. It's times like this when you just wanna blend in with the crowd. No such luck. As much as we tried to act like locals, the locals could easily tell we were tourists. I think we waited about an hour for this taxi that still didn't show up. We had no number to call him. Actually we didn't even have a phone to call him! Thank the Lord for a wonderful angel. A DJ from one of the clubs was packing up his equipment, saw us and decided to help us out. He actually had to google the phone number for our hotel since we had no number for our taxi driver (rookie mistake) and lent us the phone to call. Crisis averted!
On another occasion, my flight was cancelled on the way home from a trip due to a snow storm in Toronto. When I checked with the airline staff, they said the flight was cancelled due to air congestion (flights were being rerouted due to the storm.) Since that isn't their fault, they couldn't offer me a hotel or food voucher! I was beyond livid. Who just leaves their customers hanging like that? So you know that gate agent heard a piece of my mind. Quite frankly I don't even think he cared. He had a 'it's about to be my break, so can we wrap this up' type attitude. He was kind enough to offer me a discount code for some of their preferred hotels (when I looked it up, they were all over $100 US!) There was really no point in arguing. I went downstairs to collect my suitcase. To make my night even more awesome, they couldn't locate my luggage!! Hey, you know how experts say to pack a change of underwear and clothes in your hand luggage in case things like this happen? Hey well, I didn't! It was in the luggage complaints office that I saw these 3 black men. They were definitely American and they were all tatted up. Kinda looked like the average rappers nowadays. Turns out the airline cancelled their flight as well and their luggage couldn't be located either. We sat for more than an hour waiting for this airline to figure this out. One of the men overheard me panicking on the phone with my mom about not getting a voucher, and me having no idea what I'm gonna do. When I got off the phone he mentioned that his crew got vouchers for their cancelled flight. Please, rub extra salt in my wound why don't you. When I told him how I've been treated by the airline, all three of them were like "Don't worry Ma, we got you." I'm not sure what that meant but OK! Turns out, since there were 3 of them, the airline gave them 2 vouchers. We all jumped into the hotel shuttle bus. When we arrived at the hotel, they checked into both rooms while I hid around the corner. The 3 of them ended up bunking in one room, and they gave me their second room so I'd have a place to stay.... Awwwwwwwwwww. I was so touched. These angels came at the right time. That experience validated something that I've always known. Don't judge a book by its cover. Turns out these guys were rappers, and fit the typical rapper stereotype. Many people would probably brush them off as thugs without getting to know them. And it would have been their loss, cause they turned out to be really sweet guys for coming through in the clutch for me.
But what happens when there are no angels in sight to rescue you? While I was in Costa Rica, I decided to do a booze cruise by myself. It was actually so much fun. It rained for the majority of the day, but who cares? I was already on a boat getting wet. I met some really amazing people on board.
When we got back to land, a few of us decided to meet up later for dinner. I had the furthest distance to go to get to my hotel. Plus my hotel shuttle bus only ran once every 30 minutes, so I had to book it if I wanted to shower and meet up with everyone at the set time. I had about 7 minutes to get to my bus stop. I probably had about a 1 km distance to get there. By this time it was dark outside and there weren't that many people on the road. Even though I was wearing flip flops, I had to do a speed walk. Like Olympic sports speed walking. Now remember, its been raining all day. Half way through my journey, I think God decided it was my time to go. I took one step, and I felt my right leg slide forward on the damp concrete. Simultaneously, my left leg flew in the air behind me, and my left knee banged on the concrete and all my body weight landed on it. Pretty much, I landed flat on my back in the splits!!! Jesus take the wheel! At first I thought I was dead. I'm being very serious! I have never experienced pain like that before. My first initial thought was to cry, and have someone help to scrape me up off the mud soaked ground. No such luck. I happened to fall right behind some bushes, so I actually went unnoticed. I decided to hold my tears in, as no one cared! I was bloody, dirty from landing in mud, and I could barely walk.
I looked like the saddest sight. Bloody and limping to my bus stop. Mud in my hair, and all over my clothes. Not one person offered help. Needless to say I missed my bus, and by the time I got back to my hotel my knee had started to swell. Unfortunately I had to cancel my dinner plans and stay in for the night.
So all this was to make my point. Some thing's you can control. Like always taking your taxi drivers phone number when they're scheduled to pick you up. Or always travel with a phone that works. But sometimes life happens and you gotta figure out how to roll with the punches. But hey, it's all part of the beautiful journey.
A few things....
· 5 months later and my knee is still jacked up. I should probably get it checked out and have an x-ray done
· I was not drunk! It was raining and I was attempting to speed walk in flip flops. The numerous rum punches that I consumed had nothing to do with the fall
· If you're thinking about travelling, try to join some travelling groups. I put out a bat signal to one of my travel groups when my flight got cancelled and I had nowhere to go, and I got offers for hotel deals and offers to sleep on couches (I wouldn't but it was nice that people were kind enough to offer)
· One thing my fall taught me was how flexible I am. I can do the splits! I've updated my Tinder account with this new found skill...lol Hey boys!!!