Last year was a dream-come-true in terms of travel, but with so much awesome, a few bad experiences were bound to creep in. For the sake of full disclosure, here they are, in chronological order.
Florida jet-lag and junk food binge.
It took me nearly a week to stop waking up at 1 am and get on a normal sleep schedule in Florida — essentially my entire time there. I got to watch some beautiful sunrises, but then was crashing before the sunset, and missed out on a lot of fun evening activities in the party-town that is Fort Lauderdale. On top of that, I over-indulged in my favorite American nostalgia foods: cheesy poofs, Bud Light, anything deep-fried, marshmallow peeps, etc, instead of eating quality local fare, or just eating moderately healthier, period. As a result I felt sluggish and generally unwell for a lot of the vacation. Definitely due to bad judgement on my part.
It’s true that days of unexpected rain in Novy Svet gave me a chance to write and generally chill out. But I was staying in what was, essentially, a shack, and didn’t have warm clothes or rain-appropriate footwear with me, so when I wasn’t camped out at my favorite seaside cafe, I was a pretty miserable soul. Even after the sun came back out I had to cancel several major trips (Mount Ai Petri, Livadia Palace) and activities (hikes and horseback riding) because the roads were too dangerous from the deluge. And I couldn’t swim in the sea because of the run-off that took a few days to clear.
Anti-Russian hostility in the Baltics.
I’ve written about the experience at length here, but in short, one of the best and most surprising vacations of the year was tainted with lectures and Russia-bashing nearly every time I told someone where I was from. And even when I didn’t. After bearing this for the first day and a half I changed my point of origin to New York, and everything became hunky-dory. Mostly.
Feeling the burnout in Belgrade.
Most of last year’s travels were packed into the second half of the year, and coincided with the most intense months of my entire professional life. I’m talking 18-hour days, weekends, and a phone that never stopped ringing or beeping. By the time I landed in Belgrade, for the vacation that I took so that I could do some WORK in peace, the stress and exhaustion started to catch up with me. Instead of exploring the old city center with my German, I tried to climb ruins of a fortress wall, fell, got caught in thorny bushes, fell again and nearly broke my brand-new camera, ripped my scarf and got wet and muddy getting out — while the poor German looked on totally bewildered. Then I broke down sobbing and collapsed into his arms. We decided to abandon the Belgrade plans and I passed out in the car for the entire two-hour ride to Croatia, where we were staying.
Panic at London’s Winter Wonderland.
I was my first European Christmas Market and it was all a bit too much. I think I had the misfortune of going there on the first day that it opened, and the crowds, the lights, the noise, the rides, the smells were all so overwhelming that I wanted to curl up in a ball in the middle of the street. But I was with a group, so I gritted my teeth, gripped my mulled wine, and tried to avoid being rammed from all sides by screeching children — and, in the immortal words of John Goodman as Glen Allen Walken, to “breathe regular.”
39 thoughts on “5 LOWEST TRAVEL MOMENTS OF 2014”
You should come to a German Christmas market next year – with me 😉
Ha, poor Nice German – a sobbing woman in his arms… bet he was cursing the Estonian waitress at that point!
Glad to see Riga also made it onto your list of low points 😉
Aren’t you proud of yourself?
Please tell me that German Christmas markets are a bit more sane – otherwise you will have to body-block me against the waves of people. I want a market all to myself – can we arrange that? I’m sure you know people. You know ALL the people 🙂
I know everyone 🙂 But I quite enjoy body-blocking 😉 In Berlin, there are 60-80 Christmas markets so it’s much more spread out! We’ll find somewhere civilised for you, I promise – and if not, I’ll just start taking people out 😉
That seems like an insane number for a single city. Are the Germans really that into them? Or is it mostly the tourists?
The Germans love them too! And there are a lot of tourists of course!
Oh dear, you did have a few lows! Good job there way more highs. I had a pretty I dramatic year. But I did fall and sprain my ankle in Paris when I was on my own. I had to retire to my room for a few hours with a couple of bags of frozen peas! And dodging a drunken Parisian who wanted to make babies (quite impossible at my age!) was hard with a limp! Though I’m getting good at buying bandages in different languages I really should remember to take some with me in future!
Oh man, a sprained ankle sounds pretty serious! I actually got kind of beaten up by the terrain in Crimea, but that was my own fault, in pursuit of adventure, so that one actually made it into my travel highs 🙂 Now, when will we hear more about the baby-making Parisian? THAT sounds like a fascinating story!
I am having trouble with the London Market bit but I guess I, too, would have had trouble with the crowds. The photos are still lovely.
There will be a full post on it – panic attack aside, the photos did turn out pretty good 🙂
Oh dear! Hopefully soon enough you’ll be laughing about all of this 😉 I can definitely laugh about mine now. From bomb threats (okay that wasn’t funny to bomb strikes)
I am not sure about laughing, but I have definitely resolved to eat better. And oh my, your situation sounds a lot more perilous! Hope you and everyone was ok…
Eating healthy and moderately on holiday. PLEASE!!! Who’s ever accomplished that?! I turn into a total pig every time. Coz, you know, I might possibly be missing out on something! Like fitting into my clothes by the end of it all…
You know, I would have much rather spent those calories and a few extra bucks on great local restaurants and fresh seafood and fruit, instead of stuffing my mouth with MARSHMALLOW PEEPS and then having a mix of indigestion and sugar crash. I think I reached the point in my life where if I really eat like crap (and I am not just talking fat/calories, but real JUNK food), I then feel like crap. And I would rather not waste my vacation on that feeling.
Same here. I feel like crap, and my innards seize up. Sorry, TMI 😉
TMI is what we do here 🙂
The best I ever felt on that vaca was when I ordered a salad on my second to last day. So that’s the plan now: more salads, more water, more lean proteins.
Your Christmas market experience sounds like mine in Bucharest. SO MANY PEOPLE! You’d think they’ve never had a sausage and mulled wine their entire life! The one in Sibiu (that I wrote about) was so much better! My lowest travel moment last year was almost breaking up over a stupid fucking argument in Paris. Yep, I didn’t really feel the love in the City of Love…
Oh MAN, breaking up when traveling is THE WORST (my 2011 would-be engagement trip to London ended in a total breakup, in fact). I’m glad it worked out for you though 🙂 Paris is overrated 😉 Have you posted about Paris, actually? ***scurrying off to search the archives***
I think I had a couple of posts. 😉
Honestly, your Florida trip was way fun for me because we were in the same time zone.
I’m sorry about the anti Russian stuff 😦
How did you not know about my love of Peeps? I got addicted on my very first American Easter, when I was 13 or 14, and then would get them every year. I could eat the whole 12-pack in one sitting, and usually did…
I think it’s because that’s my absolute least favorite candy, so I have a mental block I’m anything related to them. Except blowing them up in the microwave…
That sounds… messy.
You should try it! They grow to like 50x the size and then melt!
Excluding travel on her majesties business, just…this one. 🙂
Sounds fancy 😉 And omg that trip sounds horrendous! Makes me grab on to the safety of my blankie at home 🙂
It can be so hard to admit that you just need a break when you’re travelling – sometimes you just need to spend the evening watching DVDs or chilling out and realise it’s not the end of the world. Hope your time in Croatia improved!
Everything stayed intense through the end of the year but then I crashed for the 12 days of government-mandated break. I ate, slept, and binge-watched American cop shows all day long. For nearly 2 weeks. it was bliss!
Ohh my Anna, sorry about all of it… it must be a pain in the a** this thing with the anti Russian stuff. I cannot imagine how it feels, I never had a problem like this.
I hope 2015 will be better in this aspect 😀
Eh, I think we will be “the bad guys” for quite a while, but on the flip side I’m staying put for a bit 🙂
too bad 😦
I have amazing Russian friends 😀
I’m glad :)))
I’m a Londoner and I have been to the winter wonderland several times but I have to admit, the crowds are totally overwhelming – it’s usually more bearable earlier on in the day, weekdays and before the school holidays start but still, I often warn people about this. I found the mainland European Christmas markets in Germany and Austria were a lot more manageable crowd-wise etc. Sorry to read about these tough times over the year. Hope it’s all a bit smoother in 2015!
Phew, that’s good to hear from the local. Yes, it was either Friday or Saturday evening and the first weekend of the year – I really lucked out, ahem. It seemed like the entire city of London descended onto Hyde Park. Sheer madness!
I know how upset you were by the Russian bashing. So unacceptable. ‘Hopefully, you’ll have a good year. I know you will. 🙂
As for me, I went to Poland at Easter and there was no-one there. I mean, really. No. One! All the shops and stores were completely and utterly shut. No sailing, fishing, and waffles!! My husband got sick in Thailand, and we missed an expensive flight in Indonesia. Also, there’s no snow right now either!!!!!
The empty Poland bit sounds so strange. I would enjoy there not being tourists but not everything being closed! I actually have been told that Crimea is like that in the off-off season; like, aside from some things around Yalta you cant really do or see anything if it’s not May-October.
The flight thing really IS major. Here’s to making all your flights and other departures in 2015!
aw man. this post. but seriously. SO many amazing travel memories!! so glad i was a part of it!
Me too! You and the pork penis TM are memories for a lifetime 🙂