Travel bloggers share their scariest moments from the road – Road Warrior Voices

11 months ago Comments Off on Travel bloggers share their scariest moments from the road – Road Warrior Voices

More often than not, traveling will provide you with enriching experiences. But the life of a road warrior isn’t always sandy beaches and tropical drinks with tiny umbrellas. Every once in a while, incidents abroad can be downright scary. We asked five travel bloggers to share their most terrifying moments from the road. Here’s what they said:

Chiang Mai

Photo: Audrey Bergner in Chiang Mai

Audrey Bergner of That Backpacker. I had been taking the overnight train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai, when the front compartments of the train jumped the tracks in the early hours of the morning. Thankfully the train had been passing through a tunnel at that very moment, so the rock walls where able to hold up the compartments and no one was seriously injured. Little information trickled down to the passengers in the first few hours following the derailment, but by sunrise they began an evacuation that involved hiking out of the tunnel using the few flashlights some travelers had been carrying. The one good thing that came out of this incident is that Thai authorities finally decided to fix the tracks on this route; believe it or not, the train derailment I experienced was not an isolated incident.

uncornered market

Photo: Audrey and Dan, looking over the border with Afghanistan with their newfound Tajik soldier friends

Audrey Scott of Uncornered MarketWhen we were traveling the Pamir Highway in Tajikistan, our guidebook indicated that there was a 3rd Century BC fort called Khakha Qala along our route. What the guidebook didn’t mention — or perhaps this happened after the guidebook was published — was that the fort was now used as a Tajik military station to guard the border with Afghanistan. So, together with the other travelers in our group we set off to explore the fort. Instead, we were met by a group of young Tajik soldiers running down the hill with AK-47 guns and yelling at us. We stopped, stayed calm and waited for one to reach us. I explained in my basic Russian that we thought this was a tourist site and didn’t know it was a military base.

He wanted to see our papers, a passport and Pamir Mountains permit, and although we had them on us I lied and explained they were in the Jeep. The reason: our driver couldn’t see us at this point and I didn’t want to hand over my passport without a witness for fear that we could be taken advantage of by the soldiers wanting money to get our passports back or some sort of harassment. The soldiers followed us back to our Jeep and we pretended to look in our bags for our documents. We then showed then with our driver right next to us in case there were problems. In the end, the soldiers agreed — or more like demanded — that we come and visit the fort. Lesson of the story: try not to give over your passport unless you have witnesses. And, double check information you read in a guidebook to be sure it’s updated.

diana edelman

Photo: Diana Edelman

Diana Edelman of d travels ’roundI was hired to work in a family-run hostel in a tourist town in Turkey. The owner was handsy, to say the least, and ended up assaulting me. I knew it wasn’t safe there, but also knew the town was very close-knit and people there knew who I was, and knew who the owner of the hostel was. I went out and found a hotel with availability and returned to the hostel, where the owner came after me. I ran up to my room and grabbed my belongings. When I went to the elevator, it was already in motion, so I snuck down the steps. As I was rounding the corner to leave, he was going up after me.

I felt very vulnerable and threatened, given that the town was so small, so when I got to the new hotel I spoke with the owner and made sure to tell him under no circumstances was his staff to divulge I was there. As soon as I could get out of town, I did.

travels of adam

Photo: Adam in Cambodia

Adam Groffman of Travels of AdamI was traveling with two British backpackers, several years younger than me. We were staying at a guesthouse along the river in Kampot, Cambodia. …One night, stumbling home from the bars in the city center, we were walking on the dirt road where it was pitch black when a herd of dogs spotted us. They were barking incessantly — all obviously strays, with saliva falling from their mouths. We were totally alone, in the middle of the night and no one nearby.

The dogs ran circles around us and there was a moment where I feared they might be rabid. There were at least 10 of them, bigger and angrier than most other dogs. My friend had the foresight to remain calm and we kept a steady pace walking straight on ahead, afraid to panic and incite them even more. It only lasted for a few minutes, but the fear stayed behind. From then on, I made a point to take taxis when in small cities staying on the outskirts.

seattle dredge

Photo: Seattle’s Travels

Seattle Dredge of Seattle’s Travels: Last year I rented a house with friends on the side of a mountain over Lake Atitlan, Guatemala, which required about 180 vertical steps up through the trees to reach it. You might think this remote location would separate us from our mischievous neighbors, but over the course of five days we ended up with people lurking in our bushes three separate times. The first encounter was followed by police sirens, as there were three young boys hiding from the cops at the bottom of the hill. The second time we heard sirens, a full grown man came running up the hill, directly past our house. The third time, something or someone was lurking around the side of the house in the darkness, creating a lot of noise, but never revealing themselves. The best things we could do were stick together in a group, allow our guard dog to patrol, and let our landlord and “grounds guardian” know what was going on. Most importantly, we stayed calm, and everything turned out alright.

Jessica Festa is the founder on the solo and offbeat travel blog, Jessie on a Journey, and the online responsible tourism and culture magazine, Epicure & Culture. She’s constantly searching for local experiences beyond the guidebook. You can follow her travels on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Travel bloggers share their scariest moments from the road – Road Warrior Voices

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