Exploring the world can be challenging at times (Please note the use of a massive understatement to avoid any drama queen effect. Now this is a first, isn’t it?) and it definitely brings the bright but also the dumb out of you. It is how it is. Sometimes you don’t have time to think twice (or to think at all), you are too tired to consider your different options or you are simply being funnily stupid (this happens more often than you are willing to admit). Your good ideas then turn into not so good ideas. Luckily your (bad) good ideas do help to break the ice with complete strangers or to defuse a tense situation within a group. Guaranteed! At least, it worked for me because God knows I came up with many (bad) good ideas over the years. Here is my top 3.
1. One of our trip mates was feeling poorly during a long bus journey in Asia and after having asked the driver to stop many times, she had no choice but to open the window. Fresh air should have helped but it didn’t. Instead, she threw up and bad luck being with us, her puke came right back to her face. The smell propagated so quickly in our tiny van, it was only a matter of seconds and I had to react at once!
My bright idea? Put some tiger balm under my nose…. Really?! I mean really?! For my defense, I had no time to think this through or I was joining the “puker” club. I can somehow change my godchild’s diaper (not my favorite godmother’s duty) but I cannot handle the smell of puke, go figure. Yes, it obviously (so obvious that I should not have done it in the first place but hey this is called a bad good idea for a reason…) hurt like a mother f*** so no, I won’t do it again.
2. When we backpack the world, one of our main concerns is to keep our passport at close range at all times, right? I usually wear a belly purse to safely carry my passport together with some cash and a credit card. But to be fair, it is not very comfortable, especially on a hike in a hotter country…
My bright idea? While hiking Machu picchu, I decided to ‘hide’ my passport in my shorts’ pocket. What was not to love about this great idea? Easy to access and no risk to lose it = perfect plan. On day 3, the weather decided to play against us and it literally rained for 6 hours…. No poncho could have kept us dry… Since my passport was not in a waterproof bag in my backpack as it should be, you can imagine the state of it. When I arrived at our camp, I discovered a rained on passport… On the plus side, it looked freshly washed. My passport still bears the scars of this wet day so I sure know now the importance to travel with my passport at close DRY range. Consider this lesson learned!
3. What’s the most important with postcards? On top of writing them? Sending them! When I was in Laos in 2012, I had 20 of them, stamped and ready to be sent. But I had trouble to find a postbox (let a post office!). Running out of time in Laos, I tried everything I could to find a mailbox before crossing the Thai border. I wasn’t successful.
My bright idea? Ask the Thai driver, who picked us up once we crossed the border, to help me find a postbox. I was still hopeful that my stamps would still be valid, after all we were still pretty close to Laos. The conversation was actually a monologue. He gave me a blank stare: he had no clue what I was rambling on about. His English was limited to yes, yes. When the language barrier is clearly a problem, you need to resort to the hands language. This went pretty well, I thought. I literally showed him what I was intending to do with my postcards. Take them and one by one, throw them in an imaginary mailbox. So far, so good, I thought. Imagine my surprise when he stopped on a bridge and showed me what to do: take my postcards and one by one, throw them… in the river. Say whaaaaat? I did not take him up on his offer and I am still not sure what this was all about but I am glad that my postcards were safely sent from Bangkok, yes I decided to buy Thai stamps after all! Now THIS was a good idea!
Happy trails and remember: Carpe Diem!