Beware the Dangers of Travel

One of my scariest travel incidents occurred in the London Tube.

My wife and I had opted to take the Tube instead of a car to save a little money. All was well until, during the ride, my wife fell ill and needed to visit a restroom post haste. We exited the train at the next stop and made a very quick plan – she would trek off to find a restroom and I would stay at the station with all of the luggage and wait for her to return.

I watched her hurry away into the crowd, looking increasingly pale and clammy, and I waited.

And waited, and waited … and waited.

Somewhere between 30 minutes and an hour I began to get really scared. How sick was she? Was she disoriented? Can she find her way back? Is she passed out somewhere? Has she been taken to a hospital?

How in the hell would I find her? Why did we bring all this luggage? And why didn’t I figure out a way to carry it and stay with her?

And then she magically reappeared from the crowd, bringing with her a couple of valuable lessons that would serve us well the rest of our trip: 1) There isn’t always a restroom close by in London and 2) Some of them not only require money, but exact change.

Scary and dangerous are two adjectives most travelers are eager to avoid. Still, whether through accident, complacence, ignorance or just plain bad luck many of us have found ourselves in scary and/or dangerous situations when on the road. jtur88 asks fellow travelers:

During your travels, describe the event that you found at the time to be the scariest or most frightening? Possibly a different question, what is the thing you did while traveling that was the most dangerous, even though you might not have been scared at the time, unaware of the possible danger?

My wife’s and my experience in London falls into the scary category. And reading through the replies in this discussion, it isn’t even close to winning any kind of blue ribbon for Scariest:

I was in the extended cab of a truck with someone who ended up being a drug dealer.. didn’t know that. I witnessed a murder. I thought I was a dead man. ~burgler09

Once in Hawaii a spider the size of a small monkey attached itself to my husband’s leg (I swear, it was big enough to eat meat, like a t-bone steak). ~TheCatsMeoww

I was in Mexico stuck in traffic in a cab. In front of me is a truck, these 5 guys race up to the truck, and start pulling the guy out, when he resists, one of them takes a gun out and blows the guys head off. They then run to a car and take off down a side street. Attempted kidnap gone wrong apparently. ~greywar

Flying from LA to Tokyo alone. … About half-way through the flight a Japanese gentleman starts SCREAMING, and I mean SCREAMING at the top of his lungs. … This man was about 10 rows in front of me. … They then made an announcement over the PA system a few minutes later asking if there were any doctors on board, specifically any mental health doctors. … But he was screaming, as I stated, and had started kicking and biting the people seated around him and finally the crew with the help of several passengers had restrained him and they took him off somewhere into one of the crew areas where they held him for the remainder of the flight. It scared the pants off me though, especially because we were literally over the middle of the Pacific. ~CityLover9

Those are just a few select stories from this discussion thread, which is rapidly closing in on 150 replies at the time of this writing.

But arguably the scariest AND most dangerous story goes to Listener2307 – and it also happens to be one of the funniest:

Jan 30, 1968.
In a wildly insane lapse of judgement, I had decided that if I didn’t go to Viet Nam, we might lose. The military did not recognize my mindset as a form of insanity, and obliged me by arranging for me to meet about a million Viet Cong soldiers in what became known as The ’68 Tet Offensive.

 

They tried to kill me. I had intended on killing them, but evidently Jane Fonda or someone told them I was coming and they were ready. Oh, Boy, were they ready…..

 

I have not been back to Viet Nam since.

This thread also reminded me of the following scene from Lucy and Desi’s “The Long, Long Trailer” (Full disclosure: I haven’t seen this movie – just this clip – so you should probably read some reviews before plunking down the $4.87 Amazon is asking):

The Long, Long Trailer (1953) – Mountain Road Clip from David Osage on Vimeo.

What are the scariest/most dangerous experiences you have encountered while traveling? If you are a City-Data forum member, post them in jtur88’s thread. If you aren’t, and don’t want to take the time time join City-Data, post them in the comments section below.

Read the thread in its entirety: What is the most scared you have ever been while traveling?

Image: “Club Paf in Las Vegas 04.2013” by Play Among Friends Paf. CC BY 2.0.

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