This post is part of a L’appel Du Vide feature, Misadventure Mondays. In each segment, I’ll ask one of my favorite travel bloggers to share one of their Travel Misadventures. This Monday, Suzy from Suzy Guese shares her tales of traveling woe .
Tell me a little about yourself:
My name is Suzy Guese, redheaded traveler extraordinaire. While born and raised in Denver, Colorado, I always find myself away from home, usually gorging on a pizza in Italy, freezing in Eastern Europe or in search of the “world’s largest” items across the United States. I just got back from said frozen trip in Eastern Europe and I’m off to Arizona this weekend for baseball spring training. Anytime I can combine my love of travel and baseball, it is bound to be a winning combination.
Describe your travel style:
I think I have struggled for so long in describing my travel style. I wrote a post, “The Homebody Traveler” that ended up being a confession of my travel style. I’m not a nomad or someone who enjoys saying I have no home. I tend to travel in spurts, usually spending a month or so in one place, getting to know it as much as I can. I love everything about travel, but there is something to be said for one’s own mattress and a nice helping of family in between all of the adventures.
What’s been your best/worst travel misadventure? Tell me about where you were, who you were with, and what happened.
There are probably been far too many misadventures in my travels. From packing mishaps to missed trains, I keep learning you can never plan on travel to go smoothly or how you expect. My best misadventure was probably hopping into the back of a three-wheeled cart driven by a Sicilian man. While you shouldn’t ride with strangers I suppose, this man offered to help a group of friends and I find our meeting point for a day of snorkeling, all with complete language barriers. We looked like something out of 1950s movie about Americans in Italy, riding in the back of a non-vehicle to god only knows where. I just kept hearing my parents saying, “Never ride with strangers” and here I was doing just that in Sicily no less.
The worst travel misadventure I would have to say happened just a few weeks ago. I encountered some of the worst hospitality in my life. If the Wicked Witch of the West lives anywhere, I suspect it is in an apartment in Rovinj, Croatia. I scheduled my arrival time to the town with my accommodations, sat out in the cold for an hour waiting for the door to open while calling the owner repeatedly, only to no answer. She finally called back and offered no apology for making me wait over an hour. Her remark when I said I was worried I would have to find other accommodations due to her lack of answer, “Oh it wasn’t that bad!”. When I objected to her lack of hospitality, things got ugly to say the least. I ended up eating about $40 and going to a hotel just 50 feet away.
What were the negative or positive outcomes of your misadventure?
In terms of the Sicilian ride, we made it to our snorkel adventure. We tried to pay the man for his kindness as I’m sure six twenty-year-old Americans took a dent in his gas tank on that three wheeled cart. He wouldn’t take a cent. He was just a kind old man, helping some clueless students in need. We didn’t speak the same language and yet we did. Kindness is universal and you only find that out by traveling.
As for the Wicked Witch of Rovinj, Croatia, a big negative outcome was the sour taste in my mouth left long after the experience. After I politely confronted her about her error in leaving me literally out in the cold and not apologizing in the process, she turned the tables. It reached a point where I thought I would be thrown out, thrown out of a place I paid for and received terrible hospitality. I ended up going to bed without dinner and shaken up by the whole situation. I started to have negative feelings toward the town, even though it wasn’t Rovinj’s fault.
What did you learn from this misadventure that you can share with other travelers?
With my best misadventure with the Sicilian cart-driving man, I learned that trusting in strangers when you travel is a great gamble. It either works or it doesn’t. He could have taken us far from where we needed to go, but he didn’t. I discovered there are saints of travel you meet along the way, aiding not just the experience and getting you on your way but helping you appreciate universal kindness, one that doesn’t come with a handout afterward or potential disappearance into a field.
My worst misadventure with that apartment owner in Rovinj taught me a great deal about myself. I was proud of myself for standing up for the travelers of the world. So often we are mistreated when we pay for a service and we move on without saying a word. No one should stand for it and I didn’t. A bucket full of tears later was really the only negative outcome. Once I realized it wasn’t worth staying at a place where I wasn’t welcome, of course I was confronted with some of the best hospitality I have ever had at the new hotel down the road. I guess when one bad experience ends, a good one begins.
What’s the one other lesson you’ve learned on your trip that you wish you had known before you left?
Never blame the place for which you have a bad misadventure. It is easier said than done but so important in order to keep up the beauty of travel.
Thanks Suzy for sharing!
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