When I get embarrassed, my eyes widen and my heart begins to pound, that sinking feeling of “oh crap, what have I done?” clouding my brain. My hands get clammy and I get slight goose bumps. I stutter when I speak. I feel the extremes of angry, sad, irritated, amused, mortified and confused all at the same time.
And then what do I do? I laugh. Hysterically and uncontrollably.
I think my emotional response mechanisms get a little confused and bring laughter because they don’t know any better. Or maybe I just begin to realize that these things happen and that we should all learn to enjoy our own embarrassment once in a while.
During frequent or long-term travel, your trips start to mirror your normal life – embarrassing moments and all – and the following stories are no exception.
1) An Inconvenient Allergy Attack
When I was heading home after my very first solo trip in England, I had the wild fortune (or in this case, misfortune) of sitting next to a British male model. I didn’t actually know he was a model when I first saw him, but he had strong cheekbones and intense eyes. To be polite, I said hello and we casually got to striking up a conversation.
Everything was really great until I realized I’d been taking medication for an allergic reaction I’d had the day before and it was starting to make me sleepy. Oh, but this conversation was just getting good! Rats. I began slightly dozing off between sentences, fighting with all my might to keep my eyes open and engage with this beautiful man.
Finally, I think he noticed that I was really struggling, remarking that I “looked tired.” I stammered that I was taking Benadryl for an allergy and that I was dying to sleep. He chuckled again while taking something out of his bag and, in that break of speech, I promptly fell asleep.
2) Forgetting Something?
I was on my way to the airport and everything was perfect – it was a long weekend at school and I was about to pay a much-needed visit to my family. My awesome boyfriend offered to drive me to the airport, and I’d meticulously packed as lightly as possible.
Except, when we were 40 minutes into our drive to the airport, I realized my driver’s license was missing. Not too big of a problem, except I couldn’t get on the plane without it. The funniest part? I’d done this before. Twice.
I eventually made it onto a flight home, after missing the first one while retrieving my ID, and now this is the laughing stock of the many friends who have put up with this exact same situation in the past.
3) Smells Like…
My aunt was so sweet. She told me that it would be delicious. She told me to brave the smell in favor of the irreplaceable, amazing taste. I’d heard it all before – durian is the fruit that tastes like heaven but smells like hell.
So, of course, I decided I needed to see for myself what this mysterious tropical fruit actually tastes like. I took a bite. I gagged. It tasted like something in between rotten eggs and sulfur mixed with sugarcane. It was disgusting.
But, instead of turning more down, like a good child I continued to eat what was offered to me. Every last hideous bite. I think my aunt finally got the picture when I couldn’t hold back my visible gagging and eventually went elsewhere to spit it all out.
4) The Wheel-less Suitcase
What was I thinking when I took a wheeled suitcase to Guatemala with me? To be fair, I was headed afterward to a wedding so the suitcase was really meant for that occasion, and not so much for the rural, cobblestoned and dirt paths in Guatemala. Nonetheless, my wheel didn’t fail to completely fall off of the suitcase while there.
So, when we moved from place, I had to drag my threadbare suitcase around while looking like a cross between a complete fool and an idiot tourist. Great.
Let me tell you, lugging a suitcase without a wheel around definitely taught me the value of a non-wheeled backpack. Now that’s all I ever use.
5) Lurking in the Shadows
Nothing is more innocent than taking a shower. That’s why I felt extremely betrayed by mother nature when I took a post-beach shower at my grandmother’s house in the Philippines when a pesky friend decided to join me. He looked like this:
He had been hiding in the curtains for some time and decided to scare me just as I was reaching for my shampoo bottle. He was about the size of my palm. Screaming, hysteria, and sprinting out of the bathroom ensued. And, of course, I ran into my grandma’s garden helper on the way out. He entered the bathroom, picked up the spider with his bare hands, and tossed it out the window.
Luckily for me, I was still wearing my swimsuit from the beach.