A bear chasing a camera crew in the forest.

Dealing With the Good, Bad, and Shitty Moments of Travel

In All Topics, First Time Traveler, Lifestyle, Personal, Self-Improvement by Ryan14 Comments

Travelers and travel bloggers tend to paint a pretty picture for readers and listeners or social media followers who indulge our inherent need to story tell. Or share selfies. Admit it, you’re one too.

Like a gorging water-balloon ready to burst, we ache to gush out tales of our adventures. To show people the latest most-beautiful-beach-in-the-world and sipping a fresh coconut.

But Travel is also filled with a lot of shitty moments as well.

Usually the stories we tell involve adjectives like…

Awe-inspiring. Beautiful. Stunning. Awesome. Amazing. Unbelievable. Epic. Bombdiggity.

Okay, that last one is mine. If you’re me, it usually involves words like ravishing, rad, gnarly, ravishing, and the like. Hey, I’m a fan of weird lingo if you haven’t noticed.

But places we go and experience we have are often like this, so we should describe travel as such. Can you blame us for wanting to regale people with tales of adventures from the far reaches of the world? I don’t think it’s conceited and self-boastful, it’s just as unbelievable to us even after seeing it. We just can’t wait to tell others.

And majority of the time after telling a story of an epic trip we try to encourage those listening or reading that they can do it too after they dreamily whisper, “I wish I could do that.

Because you freakin’ can travel as well.

But, and this is a big fat BUT — travel is also filled with quite a bit of shitty moments. Literally and metaphorically speaking. We need to share that other, darker, smellier, dirtier side too.

It ain’t all rose smelling pastures, warm sunshine, love-making in romantic cities, and unicorns shitting rainbows.

Nope, not all rainbow unicorn poo, but you do have the occasional drunk backpacker shitting on the floor as some of us have unfortunately witnessed. Or finding a naked dude in your hostel bed after you come back from lunch like I had.

THE SHITTY SCENARIOS //

Horrid pit sweat wafting in your nose on a crowded public bus in a foreign country.

Stolen belongings.

Hostel rooms falling apart that reek of piss.

Clothing tears in awkward places.

Stubbed toes (the worst).

Broken confidence.

Wrong-place-wrong-time moments.

Back pains from heavy packs.

Not showering for 4 days (so that’s where those smells come from eh?).

And many attempted kisses shot down from girls with accents.

Girls, get real, you have the power on that last one. For all things amazing, there is equal servings of silver platters filled with shit.

Travelers know this well. We experience it all. And it ends up being perfectly okay. Maybe not at the time as we curse the gods and swear off traveling and cry out for a beer.

Then why do we put up with all this shit if it can be so hard at times?

That, ladies and gents, is best explained with an example of a shitty moment.

A shitty moment stepping in BEAR SHIT.

Bear chasing camera crew through the woods as they run in panic.

It was on the second half of a 7km loop trail through the wind-swept highlands of the Skyline Trail in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. The four of us(Zak, Candice, Seattle, and I) were plodding along, weary with stomachs grumbling, and desperate to arrive back at the car to grab lunch.

The only sounds were our shoes sloshing through the mud on the trail and the embarrassing squeak from my chucks since they were new. Quack quack quack.

Suddenly, Zak breaks away from the group shouting, “I’ll be back! Gotta’ take a tinkle!

Well, we hoped he would be back.

On this trail years back a folk singer had been attacked by a pack of coyotes and tragically lost her life. And we were in bear country too.

After walking along a few minutes I paused to make sure he was alright and could catch up. Zak came walking back hard and fast to the group with a pissed off look chiseled onto his face.

What happened man, did you eat a frowny biscuit or something?

I step in a heaping pile of bear shit” he grumbled, and I tried to hold back my laughter. Better that being the bear shit after he eats ya right?

He went on to tell us about how it strolled over to a low pine tree off the path which was a perfect place to pee. By his foot was a large round rock, just like the ones we have seen all over the path of this trail. Or so it seemed to be a rock.

I went to put one foot up on the rock as I started to pee, and suddenly my foot was swallowed by this massive soft mound of bear shit! It was like stepping on a giant marshmallow and made a Thhhhhhhh sound as my foot sank in. My shoes – top to bottom are covered in shit now!

And I laughed. I couldn’t help myself. He stepped in a giant rock sized portion of bear shit. And that is a tad bit funny.

It’s not funny man, this sucks

Just then I had a bear-shit induced moment of travel enlightenment.

Ya know Zak, even though you stepped in a pile of shit, the fact is you stepped in a pile of BEAR SHIT while hiking through highlands in another country.

Still doesn’t help Ryan.

I guess it didn’t help at the time, but as the day progressed, many jokes were cracked by Zak about it.

Guess it wasn’t so bad huh?

That is the whole point of this article. It’s not so bad after all.


“Reminds me of my safari in Africa. Somebody forgot the corkscrew and for several days we had to live on nothing but food and water.” -W. C. Fields


Travel is filled with shitty moments where we aren’t sipping wine on a beach. In the end it’s all apart of our journey exploring the world.

We have extreme highs and we have our down-in-the-dumps lows.

Let’s get real here. Would you rather step in a pile of dog shit while leaving your boring cubicle job unhappy already. Which was produced by a sweater wearing puppy with a diamond color and resting bitch face?

Or would you rather step in an epic steaming pile shit produced by a badass grizzly bear while hiking through stunning, beautiful, awe-inspiring, epically awesome highlands somewhere in the world?

And have chuckle about it later over dinner with people from around the world? Maybe a beer or two for solace.

I know what I would choose…

To not step in shit at all. But if I had to, it would be bear shit. Preferably miles away from any bear.

What’s your shittiest travel moment?

Comments

  1. Britany

    Having my purse stolen in Bogota was pretty shitty. But people seem to really love the story! I can’t say I’d wish for it to happen if I went back in time, but at least I can say I got some traveler street cred now 🙂

    1. Author
      JustChuckinIt

      Yeah Britany, I read that! That totally sucks I’m sure, and I’m sure you wouldn’t want it to happen again. But at least you didn’t give up traveling because that happened!

  2. Toni

    Well it wasn’t a ‘shitty’ moment but I did manage to moon an entire African family with my white, Western butt when I walked away from the side of the road to go to the toilet whilst overlanding through the continent. Talk about stage fright (for both of us) haha

    1. Author
      JustChuckinIt

      Ha, Toni, I’m sorry but that is hilarious! I’m sure looking back at it you can laugh, but it was probably SUPER embarrassing.

  3. Derek

    That’s the beauty of travel misadventures…when things go wrong you often end up with the best stories! Besides, everything eventually becomes funny in hindsight, given enough time 😉

    Back when I was 18 a half dozen buddies and I spontaneously decided to go to Mexico on Christmas Day. It was all fine and good at first until my buddy Pete tried to buy some cocaine off an undercover cop. We ended up all spending the night in jail and the cops took everything of value from us — money, watches, and jewelry. Luckily one of the guys had a cpl hundred bucks hidden in his sock or our trek back to the border would have been much less fun.

    1. Author
      JustChuckinIt

      Ha, yes Derek, and I’ve had my fill of Mis-adventures as well. Wow, that is intense dude! Luckily you had that stash of cash! That happened to a friend of mine as well.

  4. Katie

    One of my favorite movie quotes goes like this: “It’s supposed to be a challenge – that’s why they call it a ‘shortcut.’ If it was easy, it would just be ‘the way.'”

    I wish I could say it’s from some obscure, intellectual indie flick, but it’s from Road Trip, and it’s brilliant. And I’m pretty sure it’s an excellent metaphor for travel – especially long term travel. More people don’t do it because it’s hard. It forces them to leave their comfort zone. But usually, when and if they do, most challenges they face are totally worth it. 🙂

    1. Author
      JustChuckinIt

      That is a brilliant quote Katie! I totally dig it! Sometimes it gets REALLY tough, but it tests us, and when we come out on top its way more satisfying!

  5. Angela

    The stories that you can laugh about later are the best! More problems to add to your list: hostel floodings, muggings, indigestion… the list could go on and on. But like you said, it’s better than stepping in dog shit leaving your cubicle job.

    1. Author
      JustChuckinIt

      Angela, you are so right. There are so many problems that could happen, especially since you are putting yourself out there even more. But that is so much better than a normal life.

  6. Claire

    I have had countless shitty things happen to me along the road and quite a lot of them literally involving shit, I think that one of my favorites was loosing my money in Vietnam, I ended up living penniless for a week and spent two of those days starving – before eating a snakes brain, that I had exchanged for my T-shirt! At the time, I was not finding this funny I was quite distraught, however looking back on that it was pretty epic!

    P.S. absolutely loving your blog. 🙂

    1. Author
      JustChuckinIt

      Yikes, that is wild! What an unfortunate experience, but your craziest survival traits came out and you found your way! Good on you.

      And I am super happy you like the blog!!!

  7. Lou

    Maybe more funny than Shitty
    Many years ago was in Halifax flying to Toronto. When I booked in, the ticket agent said the flight is ready to leave, run!, and run I did! I got to the gate and saw the door closed and I could see a flight attendant through the window, I started to bang on the door saying ‘I have to be on this flight, pleas open the door’. The flight attendant opened the door to say, ‘the flight has been delayed have a seat, and she pointed to the 200+ people who were waiting in the departures lounge, who I didn’t see when I was franticly running to catch my flight. As I slowly walked to a seat, it felt like all eyes were on me and I looked like a fool. I wanted to hide under the seat!! Funny as hell now when I look back……

    1. Author
      JustChuckinIt

      Oh yes Lou, way funny. And shitty was just a reference to the bear shit haha, but just to say that travel can be a wild ride where unexpected things happen and you just have to laugh at it. And your story is hilarious! Thanks for sharing!

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