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, Ash from “The Most Alive” shares his travel misadventure.
Tell me a little about yourself and your current trip?
I grew up in Sydney Australia. Previously, I have spent a few years in the Army and have also worked in construction- I’ve even had a crack at that university stuff… Right now I’m a digital nomad and have based myself in Chiang Mai, Thailand while I work on an entrepreneurial project of mine. In the next few months I will be travelling to the USA and Canada via Berlin!
Describe your travel style?
I did my first big solo trip in 2009 and that is where I fell in love with backpacking without any real set rules or agenda. I did it again at the end of last year and the love was still as strong as it was he first time.
What’s been your best/worst travel misadventure?
I love that it’s these ‘misadventures’ that you seem to be able to recall the most from travelling. One that sticks out for me was when I was travelling through Lebanon. I have a weird interest/obsession with Middle-East history and politics that often leaves my friends back home walking away and rolling their eyes whenever I start to rant on either of those topics. I decided I wanted to see the Crusader castle in Southern Lebanon called Beaufort – famous from the Crusades but also the South Lebanon War as it was help by Israeli Forces until their withdrawal in 2000. Two American guys from my hostel decided they would join so we left early in the morning from Beirut to the Southern city of Sidon. From Sidon we found a driver to take us to the sight and agreed on $US15. I asked the guy who organised it if he had written the price on a piece of paper as I found the Arabs get their “teen’s” and “ty’s” confused when speaking in English. He assured me it was “fifteen”. I shrugged my shoulders and got in the mini-van. Sure enough, upon return, the driver was expecting a fifty…
What were the negative or positive outcomes of your misadventure?
Just as I was about to try and negotiate a mutual compromise (its all about saving face in the Middle East), one of the American guys, who I had only met the day before, screamed “F*ck you! No way!” My heart sank… They got in an argument that went around in circles. I sat on a nearby stonewall and got talking with a random Lebanese guy, probably about history or politics. The dispute moved around the corner which, when I got round a few moments later, resulted in a mob of about 50 Lebanese men circling these two guys and having them in strangle holds. I saw the driver off to the side and gave him 50 dollars and we both had a small chuckle before putting our game faces back on. It was all over as quick as it started. We then had to find a mini-bus going back to Beirut in the same bus terminal… awkward…
What did you learn from this misadventure that you can share with other travelers?
The more I’ve travelled the more I have gotten in touch with my instinctive intuition. Its there to protect you – use it! I knew we should have checked the price on a piece of paper before we left but I chose to ignore that inner alarm that went off…
What’s the one other lesson you’ve learned on your trip that you wish you had known before you left?
Probably how incredibly hospitable the people of the Middle East are towards the people visiting their countries. I truly felt like a guest wherever I went and this situation was really the only significant ‘negative’ situation I had against a giant list of positives.