Travel Mishaps: Everything that Happened

Plus size travel blogger The Owlet walking through a vineyard


Hey Owlets,


It’s fair to say that over the last few years I’ve come a long way from being a totally clueless 20-year-old. I’ve been fortunate enough to clock up a lot of miles travelled over the last few years, and during this time I’ve also learnt a lot. Having said that, it took a lot of trying my best and in all honesty a lot of stupid situations and me putting my foot in my mouth! I feel like we all need a bit of a laugh right now, so here’s some of the stupid things that have made me laugh, made me want the floor to swallow me up, or just stuck in my mind over the past few years.


“Why are you speaking Spanish?”


This one is a bit of a cheat because it was in 2016 before I’d started travelling, but I guess it illustrates the point of just how clueless I was. My parents had gone on a cruise and called me when they were sat at a cafe in Lisbon. While we were on the phone the waiter came over & Dad started speaking to him in Spanish, so I asked why when they speak Portuguese. It’s at this point that Dad reminded me that Portugal is next door to Spain and so a lot of people speak Spanish, but also that the languages have some crossover so it’s possible for a Portuguese person to get the gist of what someone is saying in Spanish. It’s understandable that I didn’t know about the language crossover having not knowingly heard someone speaking Portuguese before. What’s inexcusable, however, is not knowing that Portugal was next to Spain. Yes, I’m ashamed of me too.


Pyramid cake at Pasterleria Suica in Lisbon

 “ /\ Cake Please”


Another trip to Portugal, another opportunity to poorly navigate the language barrier. On my first trip to Portugal in 2017, my parents took me to the same cafe in they sat in when talking to me on the phone the previous year. They told me I had to order one of their cakes because they were so good (back when I still ate gluten obviously!). Until this point I’d not spoken Spanish to anyone who didn’t know that my first language was English and I was too shy to try in case I messed up, especially as our waiter spoke a little English - yes, I was one of those people who took the easy option and I’m ashamed of myself too. There was an amazing cake that looked like a piece of toblerone which I decided I had to try (it was amazing by the way!). The waiter came out to ask what we would like, and I have no idea why I hadn’t prepped Dad but as soon as the waiter appeared our minds went blank. I’d somehow forgotten both the words “triangle” and “cake” where I panicked, so Dad put his hands together to form a triangle shape and just said “cake”. Somehow the waiter knew exactly what we meant and the cake was so good that it was worth the embarrassment…. kind of. Sadly Pasteleria Suiça (“The Swiss Bakery” - the cafe where we got the amazing cake) has since closed, but it’s probably just as well because I’m not sure I would’ve been brave enough to go back in case they recognised us! Just to add insult to injury triangle in Spanish is just “triangulo” and the word for cake was almost in the name of the cafe (pastel). We live and learn, but I’m not quite sure I can live this one down.


Plus size travel blogger The Owlet on a tourist tram in Timisoara, Romania


Getting the Metro the Wrong Way


I feel like this one is almost understandable in some places - perhaps if you don’t speak the language (like in Romania) or the map is really confusing (France) - but I honestly don’t have an excuse for getting on the wrong underground train in London, and not just once but quite frequently. Honestly the moral of the story on this one is just to not get too comfortable (or too tipsy) and to always pay attention to what you’re doing. Don’t be me, it’s not worth the effort. And don’t fall asleep on the tube after a press event where you got on well with the PR and spent the whole event drinking with them. Although one time I did accidentally end up in first class on a train in France (not because of alcohol, before you ask) because I didn’t understand how the French railways worked. I’m not complaining about that one.


Arco Da Rua Augusta in Lisbon


Being Nice to the Wrong People


I know I sound horrible for saying this, and I realise that it goes against my message of always being nice to everyone you meet, but sometimes it’s just not going to do you any favours. When it comes to people trying to scam you in the street “nice Becky” turns off. I try to ignore them as much as possible and if I have to reply I just give a blunt “no thank you” and I carry on walking. I will always be polite, but there’s a difference between being polite and being nice, and sometimes being nice just isn’t going to help the situation. A lot of scammers take being nice to them as a sign of weakness or that they’ll be able to talk you into whatever they’re selling - if you’re blunt and you refuse to enter into conversation they’ll realise they’re wasting their time and find someone more naive to try to scam.


A view of the town of Agadir in Morocco

Falling for Tourist Scams


I realise I can’t put “tourist scams” into one tiny bullet point and get through everything in a paragraph, but I promise I have a more detailed post on this coming soon. The main ones to look out for are things like being pushed into taking a tour which is much more expensive than you could get elsewhere, being given something “for free” then being followed down the street until you give them money, or taking a photo of something cool happening in the street. The last one is something I see most often - those people are there specifically to take money from unsuspecting tourists and if they see you take a photo (or even watching them, in the case of my trip to Morocco) they will demand money off of you and there is nothing you’re going to be able to do to convince them that you don’t owe them. Learning not to fall for tourist scams is something that you’ll only learn about from experiencing it yourself or reading the experiences of others, but if you’re in a touristy area then just be suspicious of everyone and keep an eye on your things at all times.


I’m going to leave it at 5 mistakes I’ve made for now because otherwise I could go on for days, and this post is already a mile long! However, if you enjoy this let me know because I have lots more mistakes to laugh at or learn from that I could talk about so I’d happily write a part two. What’s one mistake you’ve made while travelling? I would love to hear it in the comments, or on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.


Love and Feathers, 
 The Owlet 💜 
You can find me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & Pinterest

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