Without bad luck, I’d have no luck at all…

I love travelling.

I love poring over travel guides and city maps, planning trips and excursions. I get a kick out of packing, and I don't even mind airports or long-haul flights, providing I'm in business class. I love the thrill of walking the streets in new cities, gazing over different oceans at new horizons. 

Sadly, though, travel does not love me back. 

I'd even go so far as to say travel is my abusive mistress. Basically, when travel wants to give someone a good kicking to, I'm the go-to girl.

I got the first inkling of our unhealthy relationship on my first trip to Canada, when I was 19. I'd taken a Greyhound bus from Banff to New York City, and got left behind on the US border at 4am. It turns out, everyone else on the bus was North American and skipped through customs in 30 seconds. I was the only European on board and spent a fun-filled 20 minutes answering questions about my plans, and trying to explain to the US customs officer that, no, I didn't know his friend David from Liverpool. 

At 20, I was back in Canada, working for Greenpeace, when I was attacked by a swarm of bees. Of course, this being Greenpeace, nobody had any painkillers so I lay on the floor, crying softly, while my colleagues earnestly debated natural remedies and Enya played in the background. 

When I was 21, we took a bus from Austria to Belgium, only for the bus to be impounded during an overnight stop. We found a replacement train but failed to read the small print and got on the wrong end of  the train. Approximately two hours after we were due to have arrived in Brussels, we realised we had in fact been travelling in completely the opposite direction, and were now somewhere in the region of Northern Italy. 

We hastily got off the train and bedded down in the train station to wait for a train heading North. Except it turns out sleeping in train stations is illegal, and we were arrested. The trip went downhill from there. 

Over the next decade, if there was a travel disaster on the horizon, I found it. I lost passports in Paris and was robbed at knife-point in Amsterdam. I even lost the name of my hotel in Barcelona and had to crash with some travelling rugby players – proving there's an upside to any situation if you look hard enough. 

When I took a watersports holiday, I fell out of my kayak and ended up with hypothermia. I was run over by a bus in the US, and I'm not even going to mention that orienteering trip in the Dordogne, except to say the search team really was absolutely lovely about the whole business, and the map honestly was quite smudged after I fell off my bike into that river. 

I share these stories with you now, readers, because we're shortly going to be heading off on a short holiday. So, you know, prepare yourselves.

And cross your fingers that Flea has better travel karma than me, and we all make it back in one piece.


Sally is a full-time blogger and founder of the Tots100, Trips100, Foodies100 and HIBS100 communities, along with the MAD Blog Awards. She spends a bit too much time on the Internet. She’s also a very happy Mum to Flea, the world’s coolest ten year old.

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  1. 14th July 2010 / 12:48 am

    I’m amazed you still travel at all!

  2. Jess
    14th July 2010 / 1:47 am

    Oooo blimey. Good luck an’ all. Either Flea will be some kind of talisman or I’m good for at least some of the bail!

  3. 14th July 2010 / 9:40 am

    OMG. I think I would of stopped travelling after the robbery at knife-point!
    Fingers crossed for this trip 🙂

  4. 14th July 2010 / 11:56 am

    But what adventures!!!! Crossing fingers for an incident free holiday for you both but full of wonderful memories!

  5. diane
    14th July 2010 / 1:21 pm

    Here’s hoping Flea is your lucky charm! PLEASE be careful out there, Sally.

  6. Rin
    14th July 2010 / 1:24 pm

    Lol!!! You know, I think you’ve got a book on yours hands…

  7. Vonnie
    14th July 2010 / 3:29 pm

    Good lord! And good luck!

  8. Nikki
    14th July 2010 / 10:16 pm

    Can we ask where are you off to Sally? Anywhere exciting (well, obviously your trips are always “exciting”)? Do let us know!

  9. 15th July 2010 / 2:52 pm

    Oh dear Sally. At first I read this and thought well, everybody has a nightmare travel story! By the time I’d finished your post, I realised that you’ve had your fair share and then some! Poor thing! Good luck with your trip. Sending you good travel karma!

  10. 16th July 2010 / 10:10 am

    What can I say? I love the unpredictability of it all.

  11. 16th July 2010 / 10:10 am

    Arf. She’s way too cute to be arrested – I shall deploy her as my defence.

  12. 16th July 2010 / 10:11 am

    Adventures indeed, and I can laugh about them with hindsight

  13. 16th July 2010 / 10:13 am

    I just need to visit New Zealand and I’ve got a disaster story from every continent.

  14. 16th July 2010 / 10:13 am

    Pointlessly, I’m being vague about dates and locations so nobody comes and burgles the house!

  15. S.
    20th July 2010 / 11:13 pm

    The Accident-Prone Tourist!