Tag Archives: accident

What happens when your travels don’t go to plan?

rainMuch as we all love to travel and explore the world around us, the odds are that the more we do it, the more likely we are to be exposed to the risk of something not going to plan. How many of us have had some unexpected bad luck while on holiday after planning the trip for months – lost baggage, missed planes or Delhi belly? So unfair isn’t it? After all that time spent searching for the perfect hotel, the best priced flights and planning which sights you want to see. Sadly it happens to us all, and no matter how much planning we do, sometimes it just can’t be prevented!

So what was your worst holiday memory? I know I’ve got a couple of crackers that I still can’t believe happened to me, you have to laugh about them after because some of them are just so ridiculous! Here are my worst holiday experiences:

  1. Waking up in the middle of our first night in Mauritius to find a man had broken in through the bedroom window and was stealing all my valuables while I slept. This one was really horrible and upsetting, it was awful to know he had been walking around me while I was asleep and to think of his grubby mitts on my sunglasses, camera, iPod and the rest. It was even worse because he had left me with just me A-level revision books and exam papers just before my January exams. Forced to revise on the beach, but hey, it got me my results! And we moved the next night so that made things a little better.
  2. On the same holiday, a week later, I woke up and must have been bitten by a weird bug or something but my skin had reacted and my eye had swollen up! It was gross and I could barely open one of my eyes, this was on Christmas Day when we were meeting loads of the family at the beach for a big dinner and as mentioned above, my sunglasses were nicked. Great, cheers Mr Burglar! Luckily I managed to get a replacement pair from a shop and kept my face covered. Thankfully the day got a bit better when I had lobster for Christmas dinner.
  3. When I went to Zakynthos, Greece, with my family, I was just swimming around in the sea when  I put my foot down, on a bloody sea urchin! I can’t even describe the pain to you, or how bloody difficult it was to swim back to shore and hobble up the beach. My mum staggered along trying to carry me but we kept falling over. Luckily, we were staying in apartments attached to a Greek family’s restaurant and one of the family were outside as we arrived back there. We had planned to visit the doctors but sat me down, removed any trace of the urchin and poured a liquid over my foot – I can’t remember what it was but my foot felt instantly less painful and within six hours looked almost normal! My hero.
  4. Morocco was easily the worst place I have ever been on holiday. Now I know this doesn’t apply to everyone and some people really love the country – I too love the idea of the country but the reality is somewhat different for my family, as is repeatedly the case in Muslim countries. I have found that on holidays to both Turkey and Morocco that the men just seem to have no respect for women and that both me, my sister and my mum are constantly the target for seriously unwanted attention as these men leer at us and even follow us down the street. I understand and respect their beliefs, so I was certainly not dressing inappropriately, but it just seems like my mixed race family attracts the wrong kind of attention. That many of these men can’t deal with my white English mother walking down the street with a Mauritian man and two mixed race children. I hope that in the future I can visit the country and see a different side to it, but at the moment it just makes me feel incredibly uncomfortable and unwelcome.
  5. Then there was the standard caravan holidays when I was a kid – I’ll always remember when we went away to stay in one and were stuck inside it all weekend listening to the wind and rain banging away on the outside. I could probably cope with this a bit better now, but when you’re just a kid you need to run around and tire yourself out all day. I love reading, but I even got bored of that when I had finished reading all my books halfway through the weekend! Amazingly, since then I have actually camped all over the country and have never had anything but perfect weather!

swag

Why not share your worst holiday memories by leaving me a comment below?

The tough side of being a journalist..

A few days ago, the mother of an old friend and ex-boyfriend posted this picture on his Facebook page. Another tribute paid to a fantastic young man who was still finding his way in the world, when a horrific and shocking accident struck him down in his prime. I was one of the first to hear the news when he had tripped while camping fallen on a huge knife used for cutting wood, and while in the woods, with his brother, he bled to death.

It was horrible and I’m getting a lump in my throat just thinking about it. Even now, more than half a year on, the thought still sends a wave of nausea over my body and the news hits me all over again. With family and friends scattered across the UK and Canada, it was difficult to pass the news on to others who, like myself, had grown up with him. While his body remained in Canada, his mother attending the funeral, we held a memorial service in his home town where old friends, family and school chums all came together and spoke of memories we shared of that crazy boy, before releasing purple balloons.

It was a very emotional day and really tough to see so many tear-stained faces there. His mother gave a beautiful speech about him and others spoke of their time with our dear friend. Despite losing others in years gone by, this was easily the most poignant loss, partly because this was the first time I was old enough to really register the loss, and because it was such a shock to us all.

There was another reason why – because this was the first time I had to report on a death that touched my life so much. As a journalist, I am used to dealing with death, horror stories and shocking news on a daily basis (as well as all the more feel-good stuff – it does balance out). I have been dealing with horrible accidents and death knocks almost since I first started and remember clearly reporting on the case of a three-year-old child that ran out into the road while at the town’s annual Mart (fair) and was hit by a car and died shortly after. I saw the accident happen and it was devastating to watch the family’s reaction, then a passer-by holding the little’ boy’s hand as he took his last breath. It was horrifying and I was in total shock, but the next day, I took a deep breath and headed into the office to report on the ‘story’. It was one of the hardest days at work that we have had for a long time, and I was reporting on it with a woman who has a little boy the same age.

It was definitely one of the worst stories I have ever had to write, but it was easily trumped when I had to write a tribute to a boy who used to be one of my best friends, and who was a huge part of my teen years. Having to chase up with the Canadian authorities the details of what happened to him and how the accident came about was hard. It was tough to hear them talk about him as a case rather than as my friend, but I battled through it. Being a journalist is difficult because once you release that part of your mind, you are constantly looking for the story in everything. When you are trying to comfort the family and friends of the deceased, it is tough not to listen out for the quotes and the introduction to your story. It is not heartless, just amazing training coming into play. But the last thing you want in this situation.

It became easier after the memorial service, when I saw his mother alone to put together a tribute piece to him. It was a tearful afternoon but was filled with laughter at lovely memories and it really helped me. It helped me to come to terms with the fact that my friend was really gone, but also to know that he would never just disappear as long as we all remember him. It also helped me to write a fantastic tribute that really did justice to the type of person he was, and I hope that all of his friends agreed.

This is the first time I have managed to speak about this in so much detail since it happened and I hope that I have used my friend as a way of illustrating that journalists actually do a very hard job – particularly if they live in the patch they cover and have to report on loved ones in terrible situations. Not all journalists are heartless, many, like myself, become completely involved in their area and genuinely love it. We live each moment of pride and failure for our town and form strong bonds with the people who live there. Journalism is not just a trade, or a job, it is a lifestyle and a decision to become a huge part of your local community.