It happened in just five seconds. I saw the half-breed dog, staring into the hostel’s kitchen. He had a bandanna around his neck, so I figured he was a local who was cared for.
Without even a second thought, I reached out to pet the bristly fur on his back. Half of a second later, his mouth was closed around my palm, one of his teeth pressing against the bone through the back of my hand.
And then it was done. He whimpered and sauntered off – obviously on edge from former abuse.
I was in shock.
“Dammit, Amanda, you’re smarter than this!” I told myself later while walking to the Pharmacy store which was, thankfully, only half a block away.
Pretty much everyone in Ubud, Bali (or at least from what I’ve encountered) speaks a little English, so it was easy in my sleep-deprived stupidity to get what I needed to wash the wound and bandage it. Never again.
Incidences like this have, unfortunately, happened more than once. Believe it or not, my FIRST day in Thailand (like my FIRST day in Bali – what is this!!?) I almost cut my finger off trying to open and devour Durian.
It’s lust at first sight, and when you’re a newbie somewhere, it can be dangerous.
For this reason and quite a few more, I was reminded today why we – all of us – MUST remember and hold onto some important travel lessons. If we fail to, it may just cost us in more ways than one.
- You are sleepy and, therefore, stupid.
- This is #1 for me, apparently. After 35+ hours of travel – most of that in an upright position which keeps adrenaline pumping through the body – you are going to be exhausted and not quite yourself. I remember getting to my place of rest for the evening and wanting to break down. “Why am I here? Why did I travel to Bali? Wha….?” I was almost tempted to turn right back around, but thankfully my body collapsed before I had an option to second-guess it. 12 hours later, I was – and now am – a LOT smarter than I was the night before. It’s sleep-induced stupidity that causes us to pet or interact with beasts we know nothing of (not all animals – some are human) or almost get ourselves run over by a motorbike. Advice: Get some rest, think and act later.
- Travel with an outlet converter. Ugh. I’m 3/4 of the way through this article, but my Mac is at 3%. Can I charge it? Oh, whoops. No, because I forgot to bring my converter. Thankfully, again, being in Ubud affords some leniency for tourists. There are a lot of foreigners here from all over the world, so there are plenty of stores which offer outlet converters. You may just have to mime a little bit. Advice: Plan ahead – outlet charger, notebook, all chargers… you get the idea.\
- Be humble, let go of stubbornness It’s day 1! I’m refreshed, ready to go, and excited to explore some of Ubud. Ask for directions you say? Never! I have the address of where I’m staying in hand, so if worse comes to worse, will just get a ride back. 1 hour later… I’m walking around, blisters on my feet, and still refusing to let a random motorbike driver give me a ride to my destination or hostel. Part of this is because I don’t know the exchange rate at the moment (too dehydrated) and don’t want to get ripped off, and the other part is because I’m stubborn as fudge. I will find my way back, I will. Advice: If you’re like me and way too stubborn to ask for directions or take a motorbike before you’re dripping sweat from the 90 degrees (+ humidity), just don’t. You’ll pay more when you’re desperate to get to your destination, and you’ll need you second shower of the day – before 10 am.
- These shoes were made for walking… As a woman, I do have an interest in shoes. But, as a traveling nomad, I only take 2-3 pair with me. You would think it would be common sense, then, to wear my walking/running shoes to explore Ubud on foot – right? Wrong. Remember #3? On top of being lost, super sweaty, and incredibly stubborn, I was wearing knit dress shoes. This is a problem. Why? 1) Ubud streets are dirty. 2) Those shoes are NOT made for walking. It’s like touring a volcano in high heels. Not meant to be done. Advice: Think twice about the kinds of shoes you’d prefer to explore new destinations in. Ask for advice. Then ask for another opinion. Weigh the votes, may the odds be ever in your favor.
- Be easy on yourself Hey. You’re in another country, you did manage to get here in one piece, and you have the entire world before you. Don’t sweat the small stuff. While these tips are essential to remember when traveling abroad because they’ll make life so much easier, you will survive. “Where there’s a will, there’s a way!” as they say. Advice: Hug yourself. Get a massage now that you’re in a second or third-world country, and journal about how fabulous your life is – in all its guts and glory.
What are some tips you would like to include so others might benefit? Please comment below! <3