“Wow you really want to go there, isn’t it dangerous?”, “You go to some strange places, you’re brave…” “Don’t go there, you’ll catch a disease!” These are just some of the comments I’ve received in the past when I’ve told friends and family certain places I’m travelling to. I have never let it put me off seeing the world though, as it’s always been worth any hassle I’ve faced! Here a few of my own sticky situations that I have wiggled my way out of…
Stranded at the Peruvian Border for Days
Back in 2011 I embarked on a four month backpacking trip across South America, visiting six countries. Whilst in pretty Puno, a city perched on the banks of Lake Titicaca, the border into Bolivia was closed due to protests and there was no sign of it being open any time soon. We stuck it out though, settling under blankets in our freezing hostel and hoping for news that the border would open so that we could cross the lake to Bolivia at the other side. Sadly, this didn’t happen.
Why wait around any longer? We never planned to go to Northern Chile but waiting and hoping wasn’t doing us any good, so we changed our itinerary and dipped into Chile for a week, exploring the Atacama Desert. We then went up to Bolivia from South America’s thinnest country, avoiding the impassable Peru/Bolivia border and carried on with our route. Problem solved!
Disappearing Paths in Portugal
A year ago I challenged myself to something I never thought I could do and cycled nearly 300km through northern Portugal with my boyfriend. I cycled as a kid (think stabilizers on a pink, flowery bike) but then barely got on one again until last year. I’m always up for pushing myself though, and this part of Portugal seemed too beautiful to pass up the chance on seeing. Halfway through the trip, we were cycling to Ponte de Lima using a GPS device, when suddenly the path disappeared and there was a strong, flowing stream cutting us off from the land on the other side, with no other way across in sight!
Wade through, of course! With mountain bikes in tow, we set across the river, taking our shoes and socks off and carrying the bikes. Midway through the stream, one of my trainers fell into the water and started flowing down at lightning speed! Luckily, I had a knight in shining armour with me who splashed his way down to get it with his trainers on. So three out of four of our shoes were soaked to the core by the time we made it across, but we were brave and did it!
No room at the Inn at Huacachina
I never thought that I would end up at a place which literally had no room at the inn – every single hotel and hostel fully was booked – but I did over Easter weekend at Huacachina in Peru when I arrived late with two of my friends and nowhere to stay. We were tired, it was pitch black and after taking hours to get to this beautiful oasis in the Peruvian desert, panic started to slowly seep in.
Take any offer you can get! Okay, not any offer, but the kind locals rushed to our aid and we ended up almost spoilt for choice! We were outside an office which sold sandboarding and jeep tours through the desert, and a kind lady who works at the reception offered for us to stay at her place. I would have gone but then the owner of the business stepped in and offered for us to sleep on the floor of his office instead! So we did (well, I can’t say we actually slept), and awoke to a bunch of Canadians who were peering over, trying to stifle their laughter whilst taking photos of us in our unfortunate position! We made it through the night though, and that is the main thing.
Travelling will leave you with life-long memories, whether good or bad, but when you get home and look back at the challenges you faced, at least you can say that you did it, went out there and experienced a new part of the world.