Things Travelers Never Tell You: When Travel Bites

I heard someone splash into the pool outside. Laughter, 90’s music, and the smell of pot drifted in through the windowpane. I could hear the giggles of twenty-something girls as they flirted with the single studs in sunglasses. Friends bonded over beers and talk of their daily adventures. The humidity and light rain made my loose curls stick to my forehead. This was Cairns.

It was dark in the room but I liked it that way. Direct sunlight was unfitting of my mood. I shifted the ice pack on my ankle, trying to balance my leg on the ladder of the bunk bed. I looked at my phone hoping a text would magically appear.

I stared at it, willing a connection to someone, anyone, who could tell me things were going to be okay. I put it down and covered my face with a pillow, trying to stifle what had been obvious to me for the past few hours: Sometimes solo travel SUCKS.

Not even a week into my trip and I managed to pull a muscle or pinch a nerve in my foot while walking (yes, I am just that talented). I had pushed through it, unwilling to let a little soreness stop me from exploring Australia but I was now paying for it in spades. Unable to walk around or put weight on the foot, I was bedridden in Northern Australia. This was all sorts of crappy for many reasons…

  1. I was spending money I didn’t have on things I didn’t think I’d need (extra aspirin, shuttle rides, massages, taxi cabs, ankle braces, etc.)
  2. I had a limited amount of time in Cairns. I had only one specific reason for being in this city (to go diving in the Great Barrier Reef). I was deathly afraid of having come all this way to have to scrap my mission due to injury or poor timing.
  3. I was a solo traveler in a backpacker’s world. There were no ice machines, no first-aid, and no-one to help me get around. If I needed ice for my foot I braved the pain and hoofed it to the store around the block. That was all there was to it.
  4. I really didn’t know what I did to myself. Was this a temporary injury or would I be on crutches for the next six weeks? And how was I going to front the money for such an expense if it was necessary?
  5. Because I was trying to ‘rest’ and I had nothing good to say, I wasn’t saying anything at all. I gave up on socializing when I got to Cairns; I couldn’t keep it together long enough. I felt very alone.

The thought rolled around in my head, crashing into my ears like a wave over and over… I was alone.

My chest started to tighten again. I felt the back of my throat catch and the tears building in the corners of my eyes. I couldn’t decide which hurt more, my foot or my heart.

I sucked in a bumpy breath, absorbing the feeling of failure. What kind of traveler got so down while on an adventure? I was a short boat ride away from one of the most beautiful natural wonders of the world and I hated it. I missed the familiar. So much for being a seasoned nomadic traveler.

To make the situation more stressful, my bank had given me nothing but problems since arriving in Australia. Even after going in and talking to the manager, informing them of my travels and destinations, my card was getting denied. I was calling the fraud company multiple times a day, trying to explain to them that I was in fact the one trying to use my card. They told me it was my bank’s problem and that according to their system my card should be active. My bank kept telling me it was the fraud company’s problem and that they were not the ones denying the card. No-one could fix it and no-one seemed to care enough to help me find a solution. So I continued to pay astronomical rates to cry to the representatives of each company and not be able to make purchases.

I had resolved just to pull money out of an ATM and go from there, but eventually my bank started denying me access to my money even with a pin number. And of course, it was a weekend and my bank was closed. Now I was stuck Down Under, injured with no money, and no idea when I’d have access to my funds again. Just the thought of it made me burst into tears again. This was not what I had signed up for.

What was worse was that I was mentally beating myself up. I was so angry with myself for feeling so homesick and being emotionally unstable. I took great pride in my easy-going and adventurous spirit. This was not the kind of person I wanted to be but I didn’t know how to pull myself out.

The thoughts continued to rear and crash into the forefront of my mind: I am injured. I am scared. I am stressed. I am alone.

I wondered if other travelers felt this way. Why was it that the other travel bloggers I knew never talked about their travel lows? Did they just not have these problems? Did they not want to think about it? Or did they also think it was just them?

All of the other girls in my bunk were on their journeys with friends. Would I be feeling this way if I was traveling with someone? Would this be different if I was staying in an actual hotel? I’d quickly learned the backpacker world is not kind to handicapped adventurers.

I shifted the bag of ice to the other side of my foot. Even though I rationally know this would one day just be a bad dream, I couldn’t seem to convince my emotions fully. I also knew in the scheme of things, my problems were not that bad. But I felt extremely vulnerable and was scared to death it was coming off that way. If this was the Serengeti I’d be the sick little antelope that was eaten first. I wanted to survive but I didn’t know if I knew how.

I pulled out a pen and a pad of paper. The only thing I could think of was to write… To devise a plan and try and help future backpackers in this situation.

So I started brainstorming… How was I going to get past this? What was I learning that would allow me to start enjoying this adventure again?

Things Travelers Never Tell You: Overcoming the Not-So-Fun Adventures

1. Stop fighting your challenges. Ride the horse in the direction it’s going. This is often the hardest but most crucial act. You have to accept your situation. You don’t have to like it, but you can’t spend time trying to fight against the reality. That will only waste energy and time. It is what it is, regardless of how much it sucks. You can feel sorry for yourself and cry and pout and whatever you need to do to get past the anger and sadness. But after you’re done doing that, know that there are things occurring in the universe that you may not be privy to. Trust that this is right and that you’ll get through it. Float on.

2. Forgive yourself for being frustrated, sad, upset, and angry. Being kind to yourself is crucial in these moments but not an easy feat. The tendency instead is to tell ourselves to buck up and stuff away our feelings. But this is only a temporary (and potentially dangerous) solution. We need to be able to experience these feelings of disappointment and fear in order to move past them.

And give yourself credit where credit is due. The low points of travel can be very disheartening and make you feel unbelievably vulnerable. You’re allowed to feel how you feel. So accept your feelings and allow yourself to experience them. Then you can pick up and move forward.

3. Remember life doesn’t stop just because you’re traveling. There seems to be this misnomer that life is supposed to go swimmingly while abroad. When it doesn’t, travelers take it personally. But that’s the funny thing about life: it continues regardless of where you are. And in all seriousness, your situation while traveling may not be comfortable but at least it’s different. You’re having a new adventure and you’re obviously supposed to be learning something from this. All you can do is try to remember that you are not a victim. You’re a player in the game so play it smart.

4. Recognize that you have an opportunity to really test and evaluate your strengths and weaknesses in this moment. I love travel so much because it forces reflection in the mirror of truth almost every step of the way. It makes you be very honest with yourself and others about where you are mentally. Sometimes this can be a harsh pill to swallow but it can also be beautiful. We tend to gloss over these apparent truths in our daily environment because we have so many distractions to create noise and don’t need to face these realities to move forward. But travel is a test of determination, acceptance, and self discovery. Take this opportunity to figure out where you are and how you can grow.

5. Know that while you are traveling and facing these challenges alone, you can’t overcome them alone. As a solo female traveler, I do not like having to depend on others for anything. But in challenging situations, my choices are limited. Finding allies, friends, and people to support you through your journey is crucial. Having a support system back home is great, but that 8,000 mile gap can feel pretty wide. There’s something psychologically satisfying about having someone to talk to in person who can literally give you a shoulder to cry on.

Be honest and open to those you meet about what you’re struggling with and what you need help with. It’s amazing how generous, kind, and compassionate people can be. The reality is that even if they’ve never been in your shoes, everyone understands feelings of loneliness and helplessness… especially travelers. So just hang on and speak up. Help is on the way.

I clicked the lid back on my pen and looked at what I wrote. Help is on the way. I sighed.

The ice was melting. I was hungry.

I wrapped my ankle, bracing for the next moment. I took a deep breath and stepped out into the easy-going atmosphere of Cairns, trying to push past my homesickness and fear. All I could do was hope tomorrow would be better.

I stopped halfway through the door frame, realizing there was one thing I’d forgotten. Always always always smile.

I draped a precarious smile over my face, trying to let the muscle memory take over. After a few seconds it settled comfortably and I was feeling better. With that I continued on my way, one hobbled step at a time.


103 thoughts on “Things Travelers Never Tell You: When Travel Bites

  1. Pingback: Solo travel & Illness: Not a match made in heaven #WeGoSolo | Family on Bikes

      • It’s been a pretty bold mix of ups and downs since arrived in Asia two years ago. Lots of those amazing overwhelming highs that people DO write about. But also food poisoning, theft, floods, getting lost, bank problems, heartbreak, isolation, fury, panic and vulnerability. No pinched nerves or pulled muscles, though! Anyway, that’s the part of travel that really makes you grow, right? You can read about it here if you’re interested:

        Take care / have a blast!

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  3. I broke my foot while in Buenos Aires–and did my whole Patagonian adventure alternating between a sneaker (horrible idea) and my brace (better idea). It only sucked when I let it suck, and just like you said I had to just get over it!!! Best of luck, from someone who has been there! Have a great time, and I’ll say a little prayer for ya!

    • Oh. My. God. That sounds like a crazy time! I’m so glad that you were able to embrace the moment and move passed it! And thank you for your well-wishes. I hope that your trip was memorable in other ways (besides the injury) and that you have many more safe and healthy trips to come!

      All the best~

  4. Girl, well said. Solo travel is filled with those “oh shit” moments and its nice to know that everyone has been in that place at some point. From one solo traveller to another, we got this!

  5. 1. Everything happens for a reason. 2. The universe has a way of working things out. 3. Things will get better! These pearls of wisdom from my friend’s mother-in-law have helped me through quite a few lonely days abroad.
    Heartbreak, financial concerns, loneliness, fear, boredom, visa/residency issues, housing mixups, misunderstandings. . . when you’re in a foreign place, without someone who really, truly understands you by your side, all of these problems are magnified.
    My time in Montenegro started out great, took a deeeeep (albeit short) dip into sucking badly, and now has swooped up again to several more days in paradise.
    Have fun and be careful out there!

  6. Solo travelling can be hard. I have done it many times, but more in day trip versions from friends/family’s houses all over the world. But I really enjoyed those experiences and learnt a lot. But now that I am used to travelling with my husband, it is hard to imagine doing that again. And that scares me to have given up that independence.

    Although your accident is a bit of an extreme, but a lot of people do have low points in their trips. We got a traffic violation ticket as well as a parking ticket on the same day in Spain, since we did not know the area well. And the police refused to not issue those tickets although we explained we are tourists and did not know we were breaking any law.

    Then you must have heard the myriad stories of “Delhi Belly” that every foreigner travelling to South Asia goes through. Believe me that is not pleasant. But at the end of the day one only talks about the good times, since those are what one wants to remember.

    • Hey there,

      Thank you so much for taking the time to send me this comment! I often think about what it would be like to travel with a significant other. And while I look forward to one day being able to have that kind of companionship, I know this is the right thing for now. And I think all of the great ventures in life require risk. So while you may have given up some of your travel independence, I don’t think that directly reflects on your independence as a person. Plus, to make that kind of commitment is a brave act in itself. =)

      Thanks so much for sharing your tales. It sounds like you had some very unique and memorable experiences yourself! It’s always nice to know that the you’re not alone in the mishaps of travel.

      Hope you’ll stay in touch! All the best!

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  8. Wow, Hilary – this post brought me to tears! You’re a testament to the strength of women, travelers, and optimists (and those struggling to be) everywhere. It’s so unbelievably brave of you to share this with everyone; I’m envious of your ability to do that – I have such a hard time admitting these kinds of feelings to even my closest friends! Your list of things travelers never tell you is exactly what I needed to hear right now! I’m preparing to start my own solo journey and am trying to sell everything I own that I don’t need – so I can both raise some money for traveling and not have to worry about storing it all – but it isn’t going as quickly as I had planned in my head and I’m moving out of my apartment this weekend so naturally I’ve been beating myself up and stressing over it. But you’re right, it’s all going according to the plan of the Universe and I need to let go and “float on.” Thank you so much for reminding me of that! Having read your most recent post before this, I know that things have perked up for you and I’m so happy for that – you deserve all the good things that come to you. Just remember, even when things don’t go according to your plan doesn’t mean it’s not going according to the plan 🙂

    • Hello love!

      First of all, thank you so so much for taking the time to send me this comment. Even though I’m over that proverbial hump of my journey, it makes my heart soar to know that this could help you. I feel like that’s why we go through any challenge; so we can guide someone else through a similar obstacle down the road.

      Don’t stress! You are SO much braver and together than you think! And you are such a powerhouse! I am so excited for you and am here for you in every way. E-mail me or message me on my FB page if you are in need of ANYTHING. Seriously… I’ll be your cheerleader. Just know you’re going to be just fine. =)

      Lots of love and encouragement to you! Please stay in touch. And don’t worry… be happy. Next week you start an exciting new chapter of your life!

  9. Thank you for this. When I had a meltdown in a much cushier scenario in Barcelona, the feelings of guilt and failure were overwhelming. I subsequently reached conclusions about that experience that are in line with what you’re talking about here. I know this post would have been a tremendous solace had I happened upon it at the time.

    • Hi Allison!

      You’re very welcome! I’m sorry the post didn’t reach you at an earlier time, but I am so happy to hear that you were able to overcome your challenges and come out on the other side in one piece!

      How long ago was your Barcelona trip? Are you ready for your next adventure? Hope all is well with you!

      Happy adventuring!

  10. Hilary,
    Sorry to hear your trip hit some rough spots! It’s no fun sitting on the sidelines when you want to be out exploring! I know this is not much of a consolation, but you learnt something about yourself and now you can prepare for things like this in the future. I hope you continue to travel and explore the world. One thing I have learned, to always travel with some cash and never rely on a credit or debt card!

    Also, you have mentioned working odd jobs to earn money, have you thought about writing a book??

    Take it easy!


    • Hey Mike!

      Thank you so much for taking the time to comment! I really appreciate your support and encouragement. It’s especially helpful during these tough times when your support system can feel so far away.

      It’s funny that you bring up the book thing. You’re one of many that has suggested that to me. I would LOVE to write a book someday! I’m not quite sure where to start, but I feel like I have a lot to share. Fingers crossed! =)

      • Hilary,

        There is a book by Brenda Euland titled, If you want to write, that I found very helpful. After reading it, I decided to write a book and… drum roll please.. I hope to have it out July-August.

        As far as what to write about… what you are talking about in your blog posts are very interesting. I do not know how many people are responding to your posts, but that could be a place to start. You know, tips and advice learned the hard way. How to have a back up plan when life does not go your way.. etc… blend in your stories.. along with your humor..

        I am self publishing through Createspace, which is owned by Amazon. As soon as my book is ready, it will be on Amazon-US, Europe, Kindle and independent book sellers can purchase it too!

        And if you write a book and start earning money… maybe you will not have to take… scary jobs to earn money!

        Take it easy!


        • Hi Mike,

          WOW that is so wonderful! Congratulations! I am so happy to hear that this worked out for you. I will check it out. I appreciate the recommendation!

          Let me know when the book hits the stands. Can’t wait to check it out. Thank you again for all of your encouragement. =)

  11. Yes SMILE! If there is one thing that helped me in my solo travels a LOT, it is smiling. And it’s free. I also force myself to socialize when feeling teh Blues. Hey you could make your injured foot the topic of convo. Or the butt of jokes 😉

    • Haha, I love free things! And yes, joking and communicating are also big ones!

      What was one of your most memorable solo travel experiences? What did you find that you learned by traveling on your own?

      • Oh gosh… lemme see, liking my own company? When you are pretty much left to your own devices even at your worst, you’ll be surprised how much you can do really. Oh and as far as stories go, I’ve been robbed to the point of losing all my money and passport, sleeping under a tree, being so sick, blah, blah. I would do it over and over again.
        Hope your ankle is getting better now. I am jealous you are diving in GBR.

        • Haha, it is amazing how much you are capable of. Sounds like you’ve had some crazy experiences! Glad you made it through.

          Post on GBR to come shortly!! And thank you for the well wishes!

  12. Just think about all you can still do with your one good leg, your two good arms and your great smile! (Seriously, though, so sorry about your injury. Totally sucks. Sounds like your bank is even WORSE than your foot.)

    • You’re absolutely right! Instead of focusing on the negative, I should be looking at the positive. Thank you so much for the reminder. Sometimes it’s easy to get lost in the moment of despair. I am so grateful that you commented. =)

      And yeah… there’s going to be a lot of changes when I get back stateside. But that’s part of life. I’m learning as quickly as I can!!!

  13. Oh Hilary, I’m so sorry about your injury! You may be physically alone but I’ve been thinking about you for weeks now and wondering how you have been. I’m glad you are honoring your feelings. It’s all we can do sometimes is just let them happen and not wish them (or pretend them) away. Always here if-ever you need.

    • Reading this made my heart swell. I’m so grateful to have friends like you spread throughout the world supporting me and sending me love. Really, I am very thankful for you.

      Thank you for reminding me to be kind to myself and to honor the feelings. Sending you lots of love! Would love to hear how you are doing!

  14. Travel mishaps and how you handle yourself in those situations may be some of the best adventures of travel. Your not alone. Over the years I have almost died from dengue fever in Costa Rica, was robed at gun point of my only surf board in Brazil, had a stomach parasite in NZ that had me incapacitated for over a week, Nuked my knee in Torquay, AU the second day of a two week surf trip and the list goes on… Point is we make the best of such situations, that which does not kill us makes us stronger and sometimes get more out of the trip as a result.

    Good Blog, but did you ever get to dive the barrier reef?

    • Holy crap. It sounds like you’ve been through the ringer! I guess it’s true what they say, you’re never given more than you can handle, right? Sounds like you have some stories!!

      And thank you. I’m glad you enjoyed it. Post on the GBR to come shortly =).

  15. excellent article… the ideas have come from a deep sense of realization… i liked the idea number one. it is meaningless to fight challenges while u r on a journey…. i mean what is the point of being stubborn on situation like this! just feel yourself free, let the wind take yourself to the direction it is blowing.

    • I’m so glad you agree! Always the hardest thing for me is to relinquish control, but I’m finding the quicker I let go of my false sense of control, the quicker things turn around!

      And I’m so happy to hear that you enjoyed the article! Do you have a favorite ‘ride the wave’ kind of moment from your adventures?

  16. So glad you are finally embracing the real you! I always seem to smile & internalize what you write. You are a great writer, I feel like I am right there with you, smelling the smells, hearing the sounds, & soaking up the atmosphere. You have a strong will & great attitude to recognize that the situation happens to you but, how you react is your own doing. Hope all gets better for you!

    • First off, thank you so much for writing this comment! I desperately needed this positive reinforcement and was thrilled to read your kind words. Really, thank you. =)

      I’m so glad to hear you can relate to my writing and that you enjoy it! I work really hard at compiling my blogs so that I’m being as ‘real’ as possible. It always bothers me when travel writers make everything out to be perfect, because the truth is, no-one’s perfect and no situation is either. And I want to share my experiences with real people so that they can enjoy the real adventure. If that makes any sense… haha. Sorry for the tangent.

      Things have absolutely been getting better day by day. I find the more I reach out, the more help and love I receive. And I’m so grateful to have friends like you to support me! Hope you are well!

  17. Hilary, you and I are kindred spirits. I’m so sorry to hear about your injury, but you don’t know how much your ability to take every situation and write about it inspires me. I have had the good fortune not to have been incapacitated when travelling, but I know exactly what you mean about the loneliness and stress of travelling, especially alone.

    In fact, even though my move to Paris has gone fairly smoothly, there are always those feelings of panic or anxiety when you’re so far away from home, like last night when I locked myself out of the apartment right after my host family left for a 5-hour dinner party, ended up staying with the neighbors across the way until 1:15 AM, and then found out that they don’t exactly get along with my host family, all in French…

    But I’ve been really lucky to have a couple of American friends that I even knew from before moving here to hang out with, and they have made a world of difference for my morale. The internet has been great for keeping a sense of connectedness to home, but I’m already feeling the honeymoon phase wear off as I go through that uncomfortable stage of culture readjustment (happily, as I travel more and more, it doesn’t last as long, especially coming back to a culture I know).

    Anyway, I hope you get well soon and don’t miss the Great Barrier Reef! Even if things don’t pan out, I’ve a feeling you’ll get an unexpected adventure nonetheless. Whenever my carefully laid plans began to crumble during my previous travels, I adopted a new motto: at least I have a story to tell, now.

    I know it’s not that same as having a shoulder to cry on, but despite the fact that we are literally on opposite sides of the planet, take heart in the knowledge that a fellow traveller is right there with you and sending you lots of encouragement.

    Wishing you all the best and a speedy recovery from France!

    • My dear Ed,

      We certainly are kindred spirits! Thank you so much for taking the time to write this. Really. I have been overwhelmed with the response from my friends and readers worldwide and have been able to draw so much motivation and support from these comments.

      I’m sorry to hear that the honeymoon period is waning, but I also can completely relate to that. Seriously, we could spend days just discussing that topic alone.

      I hope you can find the adventure in each moment, as I’m looking to do. Like you said, you will have stories to tell!

      I hope you are well. Please stay in touch! Sending you lots of love.

  18. I’ve learned that as I learn to embrace my lows, I’ve learned to really embrace my highs and you start to really see those things that make it worth it.

    Smiling regardless of how you’re actually feeling totally helps lift the mood a little- love your positive outlook despite the less than desirable circumstances!


    • Hey miss Erica,

      Thanks so much for commenting! I’m definitely learning the same things and finding that this is a natural part of nomadic life. And I embrace it all because I love this lifestyle so much! I know all will be well, even though it’s hard to see that in the moment sometimes =).

      Thank you for the hugs. Sending you lots of love back!

  19. Ah the memories – while I have always traveled abroad for business to date and had a greater safety net of many resources, you have captured the emotions well.

    In January of 2008 I landed in Chennai, India, for the first time and had never felt so alone in my life. The work I was sent to do seemed impossible. The problems outnumbered any possible upside, and I had my American preconceptions of false superiority to deal with as well. The hotel where I stayed was moldy (I’m a VERY sensitive person when it comes to smells) and I had to find an English-speaking doctor I could trust to deal with a nasty nasal infection and I was scared to even brush my teeth in fear of getting other infections, which came as well.

    And the bank issues – all too familiar. I belong to a small credit union with a 1-800 # and US Customer Service hours, so that was a lot of fun to try and navigate on a weekend. I finally had to call a friend in the US in the middle of the night who conferenced me into the 800 # as I hadn’t figured out how to call Internationally yet.

    But then I dug in, figured 1.4 billion people live in India, a lot of them must love it, and dropped my Americanisms and fell in love with the place. My humility endeared me to the right people at work who turned advocate and helped me get the resources to turn things around in record time.

    Congratulations, you are living the dream of many cube dwellers. I’ve only been to Sydney, but would love to see the rest of the country. You have a great online support group of dreamers who are currently using 5% of their gray matter stuck in a 4×4 manufactured dream killing factory – Carpe Deim! SEIZE THE DAY! Unplug from the computer and go live the Indiana Jones dream for the rest of us.

    • Wow. This comment stunned me. I am in awe of you and what you have experienced. I’m also deeply moved by your stories and encouraging words. Really, thank you so much for writing this.

      It’s funny, because being so far away your problems seem so magnified. And even though I’m sorry you had to experience it, I’m really grateful to hear I’m not the only one who has experience credit union bank drama. =)

      Off to live the dream. Thank you for reminding me that even in my worst moments, I’m still better off. I do hope you’ll keep in touch!

  20. In my experience shit will happen no matter what. I’ve not yet traveled alone, I’m a pretty social animal, but I can’t even count the times that I or a member of my party has been sick or injured, had stupid bank problems, or had to miss out on something.
    Particularly memorable is the time we had a little too much wine in Rome and my friend Jill’s ulcers flared up the next day. She had to stay in bed in the hostel we’d dubbed “the prison” instead of visiting the Vatican, an outing she in particular had been looking forward to.
    The nice thing about group travel is a lot of the time you have sympathetic people who will help you out and offer advice, but sometimes tempers and emotions will run high whether in a group or solo. Your advice here also applies equally to both situations!

    • Haha, “the prison.” I love that! Yep, certainly felt that way for me too!

      And you’re totally right! Traveling with a group vs. traveling solo has both pros and cons. I’m so glad you were able to find multiple uses for my advice! I’m all about that! Another reason why you’re super rad in my book. =)

      It sounds like you’ve had some crazy experiences yourself! What did you find helped get you through?

  21. Heey I’m sorry to hear that! I would of definitely helped you. But also that’s brave of you, I can never travel by myself. I would definitely use and meet up with someone! But I give you props and if you’re ever in my country, I will help you!

    • Hey miss Brittany!

      No worries; all is working out. Thanks so much for the link love. I’m finding daily that I’m meeting people so wonderful to spend time with. And thanks so much for your support and welcome! I hope to take you up on that one day!

  22. Hi Hilary! So sorry about your ankle. Sure hope you’re up and about soon! I have a suggestion for your list…..turn that situation over and look at it from a different angle. You obviously have an adventuresome spirit, so make it an adventure. Do everything with the same awe, wonder, expectation and delight that you would/will upon snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef. When my kids were little, and I had to take them with me to run errands (how booooooring) I told them we were going on an adventure. Attitude is everything!

    • Hey Claire!

      Thank you so much for the comment! You’re absolutely right! Everyday is an adventure, and even in the sucky moments, there are ways to find the fun and excitement. =)

      I’m so glad that you wrote this. It was the kick in the pants I needed to get back on the adventure train. Thank you!

  23. Did you see what you did? You took a very dark and lonely moment of truth, dug deep, and reached out to others by helping them deal with the same situation before it happens. Instead of drowning in self pity and dispair, you found a wave of self reliance and rode it into the shore of seld confidence. Of all the posts you have made, this one clearly demonstrates your ability and your right to declare yourself to be a nomad traveler.

    When ever you doubt yourself and your life, re-read this post and see how strong you really are.

  24. Trials and tribulations of life! So sorry to hear of your current injury – hope it recovers quickly. Great tips for the solo traveller – they are really also tips for life. Chin up, love that you put a smile on your face – I am sure a silver lining moment will soon be here! You will be exploring the wonders of the reef before you know it!

    • Thank you so much, lovely Anita, for your support and kind words! I’m feeling better day by day. =) Looking forward to getting out on that water soon!

      Whereabouts in the world are you? Sending lots of love to you!

    • Thank you! I’m glad you liked the post! And yes, it’s getting better, day by day.

      Have you ever had a travel blunder where you managed to learn a lot about yourself or the destination?

      • yup. in Ecuador airport when we were not allowed to board our flight because the visa issued by Colombia govt in Canada had a typo. cost us an extra day, $680 out of pocket, and emergency calls to consulate office.

          • i had to call the consulate emergency line who said they cant interfere with another country’s immigration policy. great. anyhow they got in touch with the colombian Embassy. i was instructed to rush to their office to get a new visa stamped. had to make it within 1 hour before closing time. so rushed over and got back to airport just to find our flights had departed. so had to buy a new ticket at higher price to fly to bogota in time to catch our flight back to miami. slept overnite at airport. good thing was our plane seats were first class all the way to miami! we got only a few hours in bogota but luckily managed to get back home with $600 non planned expense and our nerves still in place.

  25. Reading through your commentors well wishes, encouragement and empathetic remarks I see they have a good feel for your situation. I don’t think I have much that I could add…except more of the same. So sorry though, can’t help but feel partially responsible for your troubles since this side of nomadic life is one I desperately needed to hear. I know you’ll find the silver lining and let us all in on the lessons worth keeping. (a thought – if you can find some arnica montana – topical and or homeopathic! It’s inexpensive $7 in states and I’ve had success with it for strains, sprains, bruising, aches from overuse or injury. Not for long term use though.)
    I’m sending good vibrations your way =)

    • Hey there,

      Thanks so much for commenting! I greatly appreciate your good vibrations!

      And please don’t feel bad! I’m actually really happy to hear that this blog was able to help you through your situation. I absolutely believe that everything happens to you for a reason and if me going through this can help you, then I’m happy to help! Please let me know if there’s anything else I can help with!

      Sending happy thoughts your way!

  26. beautiful post and so frank!
    I felt like this when I was travelling in the UK alone. not the best of feeling but it definitely helps you grow and develop if you decide to just take it as it is and ponder over it later is what they call personal growth, i guess:)
    going through these ‘weak’ moments means you’re just human, and keeping your positivity always switched on is important.
    so good luck and keep on going! thanks for your thoughts, ..these 5 points are facts each traveller encounters when travelling alone.

    great, great post!:)

    • Thank you so much for taking the time to comment! I work really hard to try and ‘keep it real’ for my followers, especially since I feel like there aren’t many other bloggers out there doing that. The truth will help us grow and learn. Only by hiding it do we hurt ourselves.

      And thank you for reminding me that it’s okay to be human. That’s definitely something I struggle with a lot… accepting my imperfect moments. =)

      I hope you’ll come back and read more and share some more of your wisdom with me! Please stay in touch, and safe travels!

  27. Cheer up, you’d be feeling down even if you were with your friends – you would’ve felt bad for holding them back or something of that sort. The thing about traveling is, it’s all for the love of new experiences. This one isn’t such a great one – but just imagine being able to laugh at it at a dinner party in a year’s time. The best stories are the ones where trials are encountered. Hope you’re back on your feet soon!

    • What I love so much about this comment is that I seriously pictured you smacking me upside the head before giving me this speech. But it was all well received, even the imaginary slap upside the head. And thank you. It was a much needed reminder to get back on the adventure train! Yet another reason why you are so special to me. =)

    • Denny,

      I don’t know what it was about your comment, but I literally burst into tears when I read it. You have a way of making even to the point comments sound so heartfelt. A comment that feels like a hug is what it is. You are one magical and amazing woman. And I could never thank you enough for writing this to me.

      Sending lots of love your way!

  28. The same thing happened to me in England years ago…one month living on beans on toast from Tesco because I couldn’t get to my bank account. Going back I slept in the milan train station, woke up to some old italians trying to feed me a sandwich in my sleep on the train, and I had to beg for port tax when going back through Italy to Greece. That trip ended up being one of my favorite stories of all time! It does suck now, and it will be a great story later! Also, keep your eyes open, often the answer is jumping up and down waving to the right while you’re looking left! Once i was totally lost hiking in the mountains in Germany, all by myself, 20 k from civilization and I had lost my water bottle a few hours before. I was well into panic mode when I noticed the buzzing in the trees was a group of loggers in the distance. they stocked me up with water bottles and set me off on the right way. Point is, I had heard that sound for at least 30 minutes but was so busy panicking I almost didn’t notice! Great tips, keep on smiling, and see what else you can do in Cains with a gimp ankle!

    • Holy. Crap. This sounds like a movie or something. Seriously, what a book you will write one day!! I’m so glad you are able to find the hilarity in it now. I’ve definitely been trying to do it in the moment, but it’s always easier to laugh at yourself once you’ve seen the resolve. =)

      Thank you so much for your support, love, and uplifting stories! I am so grateful to have seasoned travelers such as yourself in my life. Really, it makes the world brighter =). How are things going for you lately?

      • not bad! the weather is finally clearing up so I can continue my hike through France. The next stretch will take me through Champagne into Limosin, making it the classiest moment of my entire life 🙂 I’ve also got a short trip to Jordan planned for fall.
        Glad things are going better for you! I’m looking forward to your next posts! And trust me. The suckier the experience, the funnier the stories you’ll be able to tell! If you get a chance, have a look at my hiking blog. My journey through the Forest of Tears and Sadness and Frogs is a particular favorite 🙂

        • Oh I will definitely have to check those out! Sounds hilarious!

          And it sounds like you’re going to have some amazing (and super classy) upcoming adventures! Can’t wait to hear all about it!

  29. I think everything happens for a reason. Maybe there’s a reason why the universe is trying to slow you down on this trip. Stop, relax, & just take it all in.

    • I’ve definitely learned to slow myself down and appreciate the moment, even if it’s not at my speed! It’s been a tough lesson but I think I’m finally getting the hang of it =). Thank you so much for your support!

  30. Hang in there Hilary! I’ll be thinking about you and hopefully sending some good vibes. When you get back to Vegas, take some yoga classes with Billy! Take care and keep SMILING!!

    • Hi Brenda!

      Thank you so much for your support! Yoga with Billy is definitely a must! I am so grateful to have your support on this venture. I think of you and your family often! Sending you lots of love.

  31. I promise you it will make for a great story later on! Welcome to the world of lonesome traveling! I know how you feel! There are times when you wonder if you could just keep traveling, or disappearing and if anyone would even notice! Keep you head up! Remember, there will be a day when you wish you could go right back to the moment you are in amongst all its craziness! It’s all apart of your travel stories 🙂

    • Haha, oh absolutely! I try to always appreciate the moment! I try to remind myself that I could be back in the day-to-day grind, knowing exactly what every moment has for me and that even in these scary unknown times, I’m much better off!

      Did you find that there was something in particular that helped you through these rough patches?

      I hope you are out making some amazing stories of your own! Let’s swap some soon =).

  32. An excellent distillation of some of my feelings when my solo traveling has gone a bit wonky. I empathize! You’re already more than halfway out of the funk, just by writing it all out.

    • Thank you so much, Coleen! It did feel really good to write it out and see it on paper (or a computer screen, rather ;).

      I hope that you were able to find the beauty in the moment during your times of distress. Travel can be such a wonderful thing, even in the awful times!

  33. This was really heartening to read, as I’ve been experiencing some of what you talk about myself, traveling solo and female on a lovely Thai island. I hope things improve for you, and am pretty sure they will! It’s hard to not think something’s wrong with you when you feel lousy while independent and free in a gorgeous, unfamiliar place, and your thoughts and honesty here are refreshing.

    • Hey there!

      Thank you so much for taking the time to comment! I am so happy to hear you were able to pull something out of the blog. I am sorry to hear that you have been experiencing some of the same insecurities and feelings, but I hope that you now know that you are not alone in those and that you have a friend in me whenever you need one!

      All the best to you in your travels. I hope you’ll stay in touch!

  34. Everyone who reads your story will be pulling for you, Hillary! You strike me as someone who will harness all the positive energy coming your way and heal quickly both physically and mentally. I hope it goes well for you and that you find a bright side to this bleak travel moment!



    • Hi Elisa,

      Thank you so much for your support! I definitely have been working on harnessing my positive energy and trying to find the best in the moment. Everyday is an adventure!

      Thank you again so much for your continual support. It truly means so much to me, especially in times like these!

  35. I love your honesty and your writing to turn your not-so-fun time around! You’re amazing!!!

    I totally feel your pain and started tearing up a bit — I’ve been there — I was waterfall jumping in Costa Rica a few years ago and crushed a vertebrae, broke my wrist, etc. And my travel companions left me alone in a sketchy hotel for 24 hours while they continued on surfing. Of course, we didn’t know how bad my injuries were at the time. Traveling alone can be very lonely but… as you prove, also very rewarding and inspiring.

    I’m glad you’re feeling better, and hope you’re running around and enjoying the sights again in no time!!

    Thanks for writing, -Christine

    • Hi Christine!

      Thank you so much for taking the time to write me this comment. I am so sorry to hear that you had to go through such a tough time, but it is comforting to know that these experiences are non-discriminatory haha.

      Thank you so much for the encouragement. Feeling better by the day =)

  36. Hi Nomad,
    I’m sorry to hear that the trip abroad is going way south. I do understand not being able to tackle the GBR, because I missed my opportunity d/t not having enough days to recover before flying out. I do hope that you can salvage something from this trip and find a slight ray of hope.

    • Hey there!

      Wow, thanks for taking the time to comment. I’m saddened to hear that your experience did not turn out as planned, but I do find comfort in knowing that if you can manage to find the silver lining, so can I!

      Thanks so much for being so supportive! I hope things are well in your parts.

  37. As Hailey said, I really admire your honesty about your experiences 🙂 It is good to see you are pushing through with and open mind and not playing the victim.

    I find it admirable that you are putting yourself out there in the middle of so many unknowns and writing honestly about them. You will learn so much 🙂

    • Hey Jason!

      Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. I really appreciate your support and encouragement. This was a rough road, but I just have to keep going, you know? Not sticking it out seems unfathomable. So why not learn all that I can and do what I can to help others? =)

      How are you? I think of you and Felicia often! Sending you the best!

  38. Wow Hil I applaud you for being so honest about your experience! A lot of times in the blogging world people cover up the pain of reality to put on a good face, I’m really proud of your post.

  39. The fact that you are able to travel along as much as you do shows just how independent and strong you are. It’s normal to have those feelings of being alone (I feel like that all that time and I am home!), but it’s up to you on how you deal with it. It’s ok to have a little self-pity party – everyone does it. At least you don’t let it control you to the point where you just give up and let the rest of the trip go to waste. Things may look rough now, but I know it will get better. Also, don’t think you’re the only one who looks for a text. I do the same too. I think we do it because sometimes, it’s nice to know if someone, anyone, is thinking of you. You take care of yourself missy! If you need anyone to talk to, I am always up for emails! 🙂

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