Dear Mum, I have a confession or two. Sometimes when I travel or I relay an anecdote from an adventure somewhere, I may leave out a few choice details. But, especially for Mother’s Day, I thought it was time to share/scare you with a couple of revelations:
I have travelled without insurance. Not a lot (I’m usually pretty good with this), but there’s definitely been once or twice where it’s slipped my mind or didn’t quite make it into the budget. If it helps, I’ve worked out that I’ve spent thousands on travel insurance, but I’ve never actually got anything back with a claim, so I saved myself some dosh.
I have travelled without having the recommended vaccinations. Sometimes, without even looking up what the recommended vaccinations for a place were. The Philippines and Malaysia to name just a couple of places…woops!
In the Philippines, I stayed in a village of ex-headhunters when one of our party got sick. In the evening, the village elders asked us to stand up and sing our national anthem with our hands on our hearts. We thought we were done for. Pleased with the performance, they broke into an empty house for us to sleep in and passed around a joint.
In the same trip, we became good friends with our guides and invited them over for dinner. They cooked chicken. As in a live chicken that we picked up on the way home. We named it Henrietta Marie.
Also in the same trip, we rode on the roofs of jeepneys with nothing but a firm grip on the railing we sat on to keep us from being thrown into the rice paddies as we veered around hairpin bends!
I really enjoy jumping off tall things into water. Cliffs, diving boards, the roofs of boats… you name it, I’ve jumped off it.
I tripped and nipped the end of my big toe in Thailand and went to a dodgy doctor’s clinic. They sliced off the tip and did such a bad job that I had to get it looked at in a hospital on Koh Samui.
After getting my toe dressed, I was advised to keep it away from water. Instead, I took part in a massive water fight in the street as part of Songkran festival.
Also in Thailand, I went to the Full Moon party and drank buckets of alcohol until I felt very, very sick. Literally – they sell the drinks in buckets. I bought my bucket from a guy supposedly named ‘Uncle Jamie’ and he was missing a few fingers.
I blacked out on my 22nd birthday dressed as a wolf in Wan Chai. I still have no memory of that night after leaving my flat and getting on the MTR.
In Turkey, we got a lift from town back to our hotel from the local bar staff, who I’m pretty sure had also been drinking.
I burnt my leg on a scooter in Bali and was told to keep it away from water. Instead, I went white water rafting.
According to legend, I once slapped a guy in the face in a club in Rome because he grabbed my arse. Although I have no recollection of this happening, friends of mine tell me it was epic.
I have rode on the back of scooters and motorbikes without a helmet, or without really knowing who the driver is.
I cycled around Siem Reap at 4am down unlit streets without any idea where I was going.
Many a time, I have walked home by myself late at night in the dark in a whole load of countries and cities that I don’t know very well.
I have chased scorpions, spiders, cockroaches, lizards and strange animals I can’t even name out of my bedroom. I have also hopped around a few snakes.
I’ve nearly been struck by lightning! It hit the top of the building I was doing yoga outside of in the hills between France and Italy.
Aaaand there may even be a few little travel stories that I couldn’t quite bring myself to put on this list! Happy Mother’s Day, Mum! Everything turned out fine in the end, didn’t it? Hope this list didn’t make you worry too much!