How I kept my cool when everything went wrong while travelling
Travelling is the best thing in the world. But all travellers know it’s not all humpty dumpty all the time. My first week in Vietnam was horrible. Here is what happened and how I got back on track.
I was travelling on my own in the North of Vietnam and on the second day I decided to go into town for some sightseeing. It wasn’t the first time I was in Asia so I didn’t hesitate to get on the back of a moped of a guy who agreed to show me around.
After he showed me a temple and a park he took me to a quiet street with no tourists or even locals around. He said he wanted more money and wasn’t asking it friendly. His eyes were spitting fire and his hand was in his pocket. I suspected he had a knife but was not totally sure. But I wasn’t going to find out, so I had no choice and managed to give him just some money and not my wallet.
A day or two after the robbery I booked a room on an island. I booked a private room, but the hotel owner wanted to put me in a room with a random Vietnamese guy. Of course I refused. (Safety issues). The hotel owner wouldn’t listen and got mad at me. Suddenly I found myself in a huge argument with this guy. I was tired and just wanted a bed, I tried my best to stay polite, but when he took a newspaper and put it on front of his face, pretending to read it and thereby ignoring me, I lost it and started crying. It was hopeless. Thankfully another guest overheard the argument and suggested to share a room. Being from the same country it was easier to trust him instead of the hotel owner. It wasn’t the best one, but it was a solution.
Stuck in a storm
The next day we were stuck on the island we were staying on because of a severe weather warning. We had to wait for 6 hours in the street with no information at all. When it was almost dark we eventually got on a boat. The boat dropped all the people from a tour on the main land where their bus was waiting. I was not on the tour, but nobody seemed to care. I ended up walking kilometres with my backpack through a storm, looking for the nearest town. Because of the weather warning there were no taxi’s, cars or mopeds around. Every restaurant or café I passed was closed. I was soaking wet when I finally arrived in town and got into my shitty hostel room. The very next day my phone got stolen from my table while I was having diner. It was right next to my hand, and the next moment it was gone.
All the love has gone
I think you will understand that my love for Vietnam had reached sub-zero at this point. I didn’t make any friends yet and it seems the whole of Vietnam had turned against me. I went to the police station, but didn’t get any help at all. I took a night bus south, but nobody told me I had to sleep in a three persons bed along with a Polish love couple, next to the toilet. I took my scarf, put it around my head, ignored the couple and listened to music. The exhaustion combined with the music got me in some kind of travel trance. A polish foot kicked my leg and the smell of urine got into my nose again. I decided then and there that it was enough. I needed to turn this stroke of bad luck around.
What did I do?
I booked a private room in a hotel that cost me more than I would normally spend on a bed. I stayed in my room the whole day, reading, chilling, listening to music, doodling, dancing, sorting clothes, making puppets out of socks and sleeping. Outside it was poring down so there was no reason to go out. I slept like a baby that night.
The next day I woke up with the sun in my face. It was nice and early. I took some money and rented a bike. With music in my ears I was cycling through the beautiful city of Hoi An. I cycled out of the city through the rural country and passed the beach. When I got back after a couple of hours my head was clear and from that point on, my trip was awesome.
How to to keep your cool
Don’t let bad luck get to you. If you are traveling there is a big change that you have some bad luck. From bedbugs to a spider biting you in the toe.
- Remember you are not the only traveller in the world, there are many around you who end up in similar situations.
- Find friends. It’s good to laugh about all the shitty stuff that happened to you. Other travellers will understand your pain and maybe have experienced the same thing.
- Listen to music.
- Get some sleep; bad luck seems more terrible if you are tired.
- Get some exercise. Go for a walk, swim or a bike ride. When you exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins, which trigger a positive feeling in the body, similar to that of morphine.
- Start believing in Karma. What happens to a person happens because they caused it with their actions. Imagine the guy taking your bag falling of his bike. It may be evil thinking this, but it definitely helps.
Did you experience any bad luck during your trip? What happened and how did your keep your cool? Share it in the comments.