Travelling is a risk of all sorts and I think that’s why most of us are addicted to it. It helps build character, and helps us become braver souls. It’s not, however, rainbows and butterflies and turquoise seas and ocean views. In years of travelling, I’ve developed some “rituals” because as much as I get the excitement of moving around the world, some unfortunate events have pushed me to be very, very, very cautious. (And a wee bit paranoid.)
Pre-flight champagne is A MUST. Liquid courage is a need. Because I am actually scared of flying.
But fear goes beyond that. Let’s hear the stories.
1. I almost died a few years ago. Because of one stupid teensy mosquito.
I was travelling with family in the northern region of the Philippines and it was meant to be glorious. One morning, I felt a bit funny and decided to not join them as they went to see some caves. When they got back, my mom found me in bed and noticed I had bruise marks all over my body. She immediately contacted our nurse who confirmed I had dengue fever (a mosquito-borne disease) and I was rushed to hospital. The doctor said my platelet count dropped to 9k (the normal is around 150k or something like that) and I had to have blood transfusion immediately else I’d die. A few days and 18 packets of blood later (which were flown in from the capital), I was almost back to normal.
I personally know three people who’ve died of dengue fever so I was absolutely fortunate to survive. Mosquito bites in tropical countries scare the shizzles out of me. Even my cousin D had to be in a wheelchair once when we were on holiday because her bites were so extreme her leg was swollen. DAMN THOSE MOZZIES!
It definitely feels so good to be alive!
2. Remember that hard-to-pronounce volcano?
Eyjafjallajokull broke my heart. I hadn’t been back to the Philippines for a looooong time and I was missing family. The day before I was meant to fly back, this stupid volcano decided to scatter ashes all over Europe and ground all flights. It took me another week before they cleared out air traffic. But I missed out on a few things including seeing cousins who were visiting from Sydney for a week. It was also rather traumatic because the airline essentially said I had to re-book another flight whilst they refund me my original payment – which was ridic because tickets were already twice the price.
But I guess seeing family is always worth the wait.
3. It’s too late, baby, now it’s too late.
I used to think I had bad luck with flights. Once, I was halfway to LGW when my flight was in LHR. On another occasion, I had missed a flight to Asia from the UK because the traffic was bad. Luckily, Singapore Airlines re-booked me into a flight the next day. I almost missed a flight from Italy because this guard led me back to the arrival hall when I asked him where the gate was for departure. And then there was that darned volcano.
And then there was that return flight back from that trip. I was delayed in Manila due to some engine trouble and had missed my connecting flight in Qatar. IMAGINE MY FRUSTRATION.
Luckily, Qatar Airways billeted me into a decent hotel, where I met people who made me reflect on life. There was this old Greek lady whom I’ve helped despite us not being able to speak each other’s languages. There was this bartender who thought I was an actress (LOL). There was this Irish lad who tried to take me to bed (and I seriously feared he’d stalk me back to my room). There were these Filo people with stories on why they left the country etc.
In retrospect, the experience was quite enlightening, and I got to experience Doha if just for one night!
4. If you feel you’re sinking in the cold, cold water…
I’m a water baby – I absolutely love doing things in the water. It’s an amazing world under the sea and I seriously would love to live like a mermaid exploring beautiful coral reefs and swimming with all sea creatures. I love going deeper into dark waters to be surprised by a school of fish or even just by the fact that there’s more of the world to explore down there.
But I HATE HATE HATE getting attacked by jellyfish! Once, I’ve been attacked madly on my face. The boat guide told me to spread vinegar (well, at least he didn’t have to pee on me) all over to calm it down but I just ended up as red as Chanel Pirate and as swollen like a teenage boy with acne.
The last time I was attacked megally by jellyfish, they targeted my boobs big time! My nipples were absolutely pinched and I could not for the life of me wear a bra for days (which I suppose was quite nice, really – but not when I had to go back to work). At one point, I thought one of them would fall off and I’d be known as the lady with a lone nipple. Gaaaahhh.
5. FOMO, fo’ sho
I suppose, the biggest fear I have about travelling is missing out. On the big things. On the little things. On the things that matter and the novel things that are cute enough to warrant stories and anecdotes like this.
There’s so much of the world to see and more often than not, there’s hardly ever enough time. One with wanderlust can’t really waste time being all paranoid and scared, else the glory and beauty will just pass by. In the famous words of Ian Brown: FEAR – Forget everything and remember. For everything a reason.
My advice? Drink champagne and go with it.