We love travel, and we love stories. So it’s our great pleasure to share 15 of these amazing travel stories from some of you guys!
In partnership with our favourite adventure gear company Kathmandu, we asked you guys to tell us your favourite story from your travels, and boy did you deliver!
We received dozens of stories, but have narrowed it down to these 15, with great variety. From finding love on the road to just getting stuck on it, and even a good old travel sickness story thrown in for good measure, we hope you enjoy these tales.
Not only that, but 3 of these guys have won some cool prizes from Kathmandu! To those that entered, but didn’t win, thank you anyway for sending in your amazing tales. We absolutely loved reading them, and don’t forget you can always stop by a Kathmandu store or make an order online to get some of their awesome gear.
So without further ado, here are some of our readers’ favourite travel stories!
1st Prize – Sticky Situation
Somewhere between Cusco and Arequipa. I’ve been sick for the last 10 days (shittus runnius) . The bus we are on has stopped to pick up more passengers. I’m feeling nauseous. Uh oh. At least its not the back end this time. I make a move to the toilet at the rear of the bus, throwing up in my mouth as I do so. Its locked, out of order.
I turn and am confronted by one of those stocky Peruvian women with a giant stripey bag blocking the aisle. I can’t ask her to move aside without covering her in vomit. In panicked desperation I crowd surf over the heads of unsuspecting passengers and go headfirst down the stairs into the dusty street. And proceed to spew everywhere. But none of it is in the bus! I deserve a medal, but would settle for a solid poo.
- Allan Doyle
Allan has won a Bealey Men’s GORE-TEX Jacket from Kathmandu.
2nd Prize – African Encounters
Nothing holds focus like African coffee and the threat of an apex hunter.
Twisted trees stood ahead. Through the haze moved a flurry of impala. Our guide stopped, pointing excitedly. Deep past the mangled branches I saw an unmistakably thick mane. There he was: our lion. Even from this distance he looked grand. But we’d startled his breakfast, and he took off. We followed to a ridge of tall grass, where our guide found prints moving away. He’d gone.
A whooping bark sliced wildly through the air. I froze. My gaze followed the tree line and there, pumped up and strolling out on to lowest branch, stood the biggest baboon seen by man. The bundle of muscle had taken issue with someone, something. Each breath, each bark, swelled his chest. It was natural, and frighteningly powerful. But his focus was further afield.
Then it hit me, a deep and guttural blast. Our guide waved and we ran, aiming for a termite mound. I missed it, too busy setting my camera. Rounding the mound at full steam I hit the brakes and skidded to a stop. There stood the lion. We locked eyes, his dominant, mine numb. I was stuck; convinced this was a movie, unable to even take a shot.
He roared. The same thunderous eruption.
“Ahhh!” I squeaked and was standing atop the termite mound.
A whooping bark broke out behind us. We spun, and through the tall grass went the tail of a leopard, chased by six baboons. Our guide grinned; he hadn’t seen a leopard for 2 years.
- Daniel Akmens
Daniel has won a Transfer 28L Travel Pack v3 from Kathmandu.
3rd Prize – Whale Of A Time
I spent a week in Tonga swimming with humpback whales. That’s right this wasn’t a whale watching tour this was in the water snorkelling and swimming with humpback whales. The best experience of one day was watching four males showing off to prove who was the dominant one. They were breaching, and blowing bubbles and all around showing off for us. It was amazing to then get in the water with them and watch this.
I still remember this gigantic male below our boat and he was belly up so you saw the bright white of his under belly in the deep blue of the ocean. And he was fast. So fast. And then two flicks of the tale and he breached again. It was an amazing experience
- Nicole LaBarge
Nicole has won an Earth Women’s Hooded Pullover from Kathmandu.
Never Trust Google Maps
One morning in Vietnam we took off on our scooters. Google maps gave us a route to get from point A to B. The road suddenly disappeared. We sought out help from a local. We pointed in one direction, he shook his head “no” and pointed in a different one. His direction had lots of backtracking, so we went the way google said.
The trail got bad, steep ups and downs, huge rocks, lots of mud. After several falls, broken scooter parts, and some tears, the sun was about to set. Should we seek shelter? Find food? What survival skills do we know? Fear started to sink in as we were in the middle of no where.
Eventually we passed a crew of people setting off dynamite, making way for a road. Just as it got dark, we made it to the high way. We don’t trust google maps anymore.
- Ghislaine Grenier
Which Way Is The Exit?
We’d picked up our motorhome up from a refreshingly sarcastic middle-aged woman at the rental depo in Frankfurt and were driving the Romantic Road. A black Porsche passed by in an expensive blur down the Autobahn. Along the highway we noticed a big blue and white sign stating ‘Ausfahrt’. ‘That’s funny’, I remarked to Daniel at the wheel, ‘I don’t recall a town called Ausfahrt on the map’. Checking google maps, ‘Strange, can’t find it…’.
Half hour down the road there was a huge off-ramp with a sign ‘Ausfahrt’. We turned to each other. ‘Wow, this town must be huge!’ Consulting Google Maps again, nope, nothing! We pulled up that night at a lovely riverside caravan park. Seeking to end my incessant Google Mapping, Daniel asked the staff ‘Excuse me, where is Ausfahrt?’. Behind the desk a young blonde girl answered with a cute giggle, ‘it means “Exit”, in German’.
- Kelly R
Thirsty For Adventure
Two years ago, while backpacking around the world, I ended up in Bali. Thirsty for adventure, I decided to climb Mount Agung, the tallest volcano around. I found a local guide and one morning at 2 am, him, myself and other half asleep tourists, started the trek, aiming to be at the top for sunrise.
The climb was tough and after four hours of pain, sweat and thinking “Why don’t I just like the beach!!??” I reached the top, 3000m above sea level! Sunrise was breathtaking with stunning views from above the clouds.
Going down, our guide gave us a head start. At this point, a girl said to me “This looks dangerous, you go first.””No problem, just follow me.” A split second later, I was tumbling over the rocks until I smashed against a boulder.
Cut, bruised with damaged ankle and ego, it took me 8 hours to limp down to safety. The lesson? Don’t be cocky when travelling.
- Pasquale Merone
Adventure Lies In The Unexpected
Turn around or push on? When you’re responsible for your closest friends lives, let alone their trip, that question’s important.
In January 2015 we were on Iceland’s route 36 navigating by road markers in 70kph storms. A trapped van loomed out of the whiteness and that was it, we were stuck – A snow drift had covered the road and our little Subaru was wedged.
Out in the howling winds my face is peppered with ice as I try to help the car in front. With them in the way we weren’t moving anywhere. With it freed I headed back to our car to help my friend dig us out, wind slashing at everything even through our multiple layers, hands numb as we shifted snow. We eventually made it to the ever impressive Gullfoss but the true excitement had been up on the pass. That’s where adventure lies, within the unexpected.
- Rob Bradley
When I was 20, I did a road trip with my best friend in her parents brand new car. We arrived at our remote destination very late, but still hadn’t done our daily fitness challenge. So we parked the car, then clambered down some rocks to get to the beach where we did the exercise. By the time we finished there was only 1m of space between the waves and the rocks.
We got back to the locked car when my friend asked if I had the keys. I thought she was joking. She wasn’t. We had no reception and 5% phone battery between us. After frantically searching the beach and rocks, we found the keys buried under the sand under the waves. Her parents found out about this near disaster at her 21st speech when I gave her a key.
- Rebecca Ward
The day I visited Inle Lake’s Forest Monastery, I heard a little voice from the other side of the stupa: ‘Come here! Come here!’. It was Tumpe, a 76-year-old Buddhist monk who invited me and my friends in for tea, cigarettes and peanut sweets.
He didn’t speak English, but it was clear that he enjoyed the company of visitors. He had a notebook with messages and sketches from people from all over the world who, like us, found themselves sharing a cup of tea with him.
He was a real character and he loved looking at the photos and videos we’d taken on our phones, but what he liked the most was taking selfies with us!
School Dress Shenanigans
In 2015 I thought it would be a good idea to cycle from Mongolia to Turkey, so thats what I did. About two months in I was in Kazakhstan and after hearing about an awesome view of the Eurasian steppe from the top of a local mountain range I set off.
I should mention, I’m an Aussie guy in my thirties and was climbing in a school dress, as I was also raising money for charity.
On hitting the top was caught in a storm. Long story short I tried to climb out of the area while in a whiteout of snow and fell about a meter and a half onto a ledge, breaking a rib and badly bruising my leg. After 19 hours in the cold I was rescued by the amazing mountain rescue squad.
A month later I rode my bike over the Pamirs, in a school dress.
- Nick Harman Brown
Two Wheels And A Punctured Tube
One of my personal travel highlights was a one week motorbike trip around the north east of Vietnam. As I sped round a long left hand bend the handlebars began violently shaking. Holding on for dear life and gently squeezing the brakes, the bike slowed from 60km/h to 20km/h before finally giving in and falling onto the concrete. Turns out I’d ridden over a nail that had shredded my inner tube.
At this point we were 70km for the small town of Cao Bang, and around 300km from Hanoi, not the place you want to have motorbike accident. Picking up my bike with nothing more than a sore ankle and a bruised ego my friend and I backtracked to the last village we passed where a kind gentlemen fixed my puncture for 2000 VMD. Within half an hour we were back on our way.
- Richard Barnes
From Strangers To Soul Mates
My craziest travel story so far is how I ended up where I currently am. It includes falling in love, traveling with someone who at the beginning was a stranger, and living in a different country than I expected 2 months ago.
My boyfriend used to live in Florida where we had all the same mutual friends but never hung out or bonded. We ended up chatting through Facebook about a topic we both are passionate on: Cryptocurrency. After a month of talking we decided to go to Europe together… and meet up in Amsterdam and travel around.
A major destination, actually the only definite one, was a PsyTrance festival, MoDem, which instantly changed me.Guilherme and I managed to travel to 7 countries in the 2 and a half months we were there. Not knowing which country we would be in the following 24 hours has given me some of the happiest moments of my life.Our last stop was Oktoberfest where Guilherme’s mother and family met with us. We then flew to Brazil where we are now staying with his grandparents, family here is everything. Most people don’t speak English so I am going to start to learn Portuguese and hopefully stick with it though it will be a challenge.
At the beginning of June if you were to tell me in 2 weeks I would be in Europe with someone I did not really know, travel and fall in love with a Brazilian, go to Oktoberfest with his family, and follow him to live with him and his family in Brazil where I would immerse myself in a completely different culture than the USA (which I have only lived in one town my whole life, Stuart, Florida, USA) I WOULD CALL YOU CRAZY. But I like to put myself in strange situations for the growth which brings me happiness.
- Jenavieve Gerring
Flash Before My Eyes
Small walnut shaped storm clouds on the horizon. Puffing up to the atmosphere, pushing wind and lighting up the ocean surface. The storms of southern Croatia blow in hard, dump and disappear just as quickly. They may be small but are often intense. Waiting for a flight to board at Rijeka International we question whether or not we will be flying to our next destination today. But as we discuss, boarding is called.
Rain pours down onto the runway, the torrential type. Flashes from navigation lights, flashes from the sky but man is it dark.
The plane taxis out on to the runaway and after a moment speeds down into the eye of the storm. We climb higher and higher. Nervous faces all about the cabin looking for a glimpse of the storm. CRAAAACCCCKKK!!
A bolt of lightening hits the wing of the aircraft right before my eyes.
After a few minutes the captain announces to very nervous passengers “you may have noticed we were struck by lightening a few moments ago. Everything appears to be working correctly so we are going to carry on to our destination. Enjoy the flight.
- Tim Evans
An Emergency Family And A Chicken Stop
On my first night in Guatemala I was rescued by strangers Wendy and Otto at 9pm when my school contact didn’t show up at the bus stop. This random emergency family called me Katalina, hugged me until I looked less likely to pass out and took me to dinner at the local (like KFC) called Con Pollo!!
They contacted the schools emergency line and arranged to drop me off the next morning. I slept in a big bed with about 7 kids under 10 because all the kids were learning English at school so they wanted me to feel comfortable. Things could have been so very different and I’ll never forget their kindness and generosity. The world truly did me a favour that day.
- Kathleen McGrath
Old Friends, New Countries
One of my best travel stories was when I ran into two friends in Utila, Honduras. The best part of this story you ask? One friend I had met while living and working in Whistler BC. The other friend I had met while living and working in Koh Nang Yuan, Thailand. Neither of these two knew each other until they had met in Utila.
I had been walking down a street in Utila when my Whistler friend and I had recognized each other. He had noticed the t-shirt I was wearing said “Easy Divers Dive Shop, Thailand” and I told him I used to work at the dive shop. He mentioned he had just met another guy from Germany who happened to work in the same dive shop. Turned out, it was the same guy I had worked with in Thailand. We all met for drinks that night and I got to have a little reunion with some old friends.
- Alley Bates