Looking Back and Laughing: Funny Travel Stories from TLM Travel Contributors, Pt. 1

by The Texas Lifestyle Magazine Travel Team on April 28, 2020 in Travel,
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As we continue to quarantine and stay safe at home, four Texas Lifestyle Magazine contributors look back and share some of their hilarious, cringe-worthy, embarrassing travel moments. You know what they say, laughter is the best medicine!

Revealing All in the Dominican Republic

For many years I was married and lived in northern New England. A place where cold weather and gray, overcast days settle in well before Thanksgiving. One particular March we had experienced 21 days in a row without seeing the sun. On the 22nd day, we bought a trip to an all-inclusive resort in the Dominican Republic. The heavily advertised packages included a direct flight, a room overlooking the ocean, and plenty of sunshine and warm weather – a world away from the frozen tundra of Maine.

Photo courtesy Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

When we arrived at the expansive resort we discovered that the beach permitted topless sunbathing. When I travel, I always adopt the attitude of “when in Rome,” plus, I was feeling delightfully giddy from finally seeing the sun. I figured, why not? I was almost 2,000 miles from home. I removed my top and continued to do so for the four gloriously sun-filled days we were there.

When the morning came to head back to the cold, dark north, a bus met us at the resort. I noticed a passenger nod at me in recognition although I was sure we had not met. As we walked down the aisle of the bus I noticed another nod and then another as we went through security at the small airport. We were met by the chartered flight crew who explained that our small group would be the only passengers traveling back to the northeast, where temperatures were in the single digits. As we let out a collective groan, a fellow passenger winked at me and his wife slapped his arm. And that is when I realized.

I had frolicked topless for four days on the beach in front of the same people traveling back with us on the small plane. While I thought I was having a private “when in Rome” moment, I had been putting on a topless show for a group of reserved New Englanders – my fellow passengers on the flight back home. ~ Haven Lindsey

Going Nuts in Belize

I always look at press trips as an opportunity to get outside of my comfort zone. I’m not typically “into” heights or climbing things in general. So when I was in Ambergris Caye, Belize, in the fall of 2017, and I saw “coconut tree climbing” on the press trip itinerary, it gave me pause. I decided I needed to try it; as I do everything on every PR itinerary. 

That morning, we spent several hours snorkeling off a boat with the captain filling our plastic cups with his homemade rum punch recipe. (Note: Being a beer/wine girl, I do not imbibe in any type of liquor, hardly ever.)

Photo courtesy Marika Flatt, Travel Editor, Texas Lifestyle Magazine

 We returned to the resort and a staffer led us over to the coconut tree and, like a monkey, he crawled all the way up to the top with no shoes on, easy peasy. “Who wants to go next?” he asked. Bravely, I stepped up to the slanted tree. 

I climbed up and up… Then, the weight of my body swung under the tree, and I hung on for dear life. Instead of just letting go and dropping into the nice soft sand, I hung on and my arms slid all the way down the tree. Coconut tree bark is rough, people. It tore my arms up. 

I can laugh about it now, especially when I hear this Kenny Chesney/ Willie Nelson song. And, not everyone can say, “I fell out of a coconut tree!” Two truths and a lie, anyone? ~ Marika Flatt

Making the Breast of Things in Telluride

My second son was only two months old when I got the travel invite for a mushroom foraging adventure in Telluride. I gleefully accepted, knowing I have a fantastic husband who knows his way around the changing table. 

The night before the trip I packed and made sure to keep things light. I also made the monumental decision to switch the babe almost entirely to formula, which meant I would stop breastfeeding.I was impressed with my minimalist travel gear and set my bag by the door, ready to grab for the pre-dawn drive to the airport.

Emily Bond with her son in Florence. Photo Emily Bond

The next morning, I broke down, and breastfed the baby while trying to get dressed. Then, the three-year-old walked into our bedroom, shrieking about me leaving. After all that, it wasn’t until I made it through security I realized my expertly-packed bag was missing my breast pump. Which meant I had to find one between Houston, Phoenix or the 80’s sitcom Wing’s-sized airport in Colorado, if I wanted to make sure my boobs didn’t explode.

Bush Intercontinental Airport has stunning shops, a place to get a pedicure, phenomenal restaurants from local heavyweights like Chef Hugo Ortego, but they do not have breast pumps. At this point, I’m starting to wonder about the small wardrobe I’ve allotted myself – taking stock of the number of bras, breast pads and black shirts to choose from while my cups, literally, runneth over. 

In the air, when I finally hear that ding, I unclip my seatbelt, and rush for the bathroom. Having no other option, I have to hand express my excruciating painful girls into the tiny sink of the plane’s lavatory. It was like a scene from the Exorcist. I never took 4H, or spent a considerable amount of time milking a goat, and it showed.

Foraging for mushrooms in the #swissalps of America. Photo Emily Bond

At Phoenix, I discover they also don’t sell breast pumps at the airport. I find a quiet spot to FaceTime my children. The screams haven’t stopped. My beleaguered-looking husband and horrified mother-in-law hang up the phone and then I’m crying in what was no longer an empty seating area. 

The flight from Phoenix to Montrose Regional Airport in Colorado is short, only long enough to re-enact the morning’s experience in an even smaller bathroom. Once I discover the woman sitting beside me is a mother, she is forced to become my unwilling Oprah and kindly suggests I ask the concierge at the hotel to help me locate a breast pump. We make it to the Hotel Telluride, and it’s beyond gorgeous. After giving the also gorgeous and yet somehow approachable and chill girls at the check-in my name I beg them for a tip on where to get the town’s best breast pump. They didn’t laugh, at least not until I did, and quickly set to work finding me one. They direct me to Sunny’s Pharmacy on the main drag and I buy the world’s best $20 breast pump and also, apparently, the last one in the town. 

To my fellow mommies – this was the best trip I have taken in a very long time. I didn’t think I could do it for a number of reasons. But it helped remind me of not only what I want from life, but also what my life looks like now and how all these added components have only made my life a thousand times more vibrant and interesting and funny than I ever thought it could be. Take your trips. Remember your pump. ~ Emily Bond

Topping Out in Italy

When I went on my first international trip, we trekked out to Pisa from Florence in Italy. My friend tried to chicken out and not go to the top of the Leaning Tower. I told her she’d regret it if she came all the way to Pisa, Italy and didn’t go to the top.

Photo courtesy Yeo Khee on Unsplash

We finally made it, climbing a tiny ladder to the tip top—-where I lost it. I cried and clung to the handrail, terrified. A nice German man my age came over to me and in broken English asked if I was all right and then told me “take one look and then you leave.” So, I stood up, looked around at the Italian countryside, saw my friend having a great time taking pictures, smiled at the German man and made my way back to solid ground. I may be a chicken, but I’ve forced myself to high destinations ever since. (A year later was the Eiffel Tower!) ~ Kayla Elliott

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Cover photo courtesy  Felix Rostig on Unsplash
Oops Toddler photo Jelleke Vanooteghem on Unsplash

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