It’s almost inevitable.

You travel, you challenge yourself, and you may acquire a battle wound.

No matter where you’re going, danger lurks. Mostly due to the fact that we are human, and not a machine or in a bubble.

It’s not necessarily that the destination is dangerous, it’s just a poor decision, a split-second choice that you had to make and chose the wrong one, a simple misstep, or being in a hurry and doing something silly.

13 Injuries

For me, it was a misstep. I literally was just speaking to my boyfriend about how I’ve become accustomed to looking down when I walk because I’ve been living in Thailand for so long. There’s always something in the way whether it be a hole, dog poop, glass, or a bump to trip over. As we begin walking off the War Memorial bridge in Pai, Thailand, I’m looking in my purse to make sure we grabbed all of our equipment. This split second nearly cost me my freakin leg! I fell through a hole in the bridge! Luckily, it was a small hole and only one leg fit through, otherwise I might be in a full body cast. I got up, brushed myself off, and continued walking like nothing happen. It wasn’t until later I realized how jacked my leg was. I couldn’t walk without a limp and my leg was sooo sore. I literally have a permanent dent and scar on my thigh now.

So, that’s (one of my) travel scars!

It’s OK though…

The grazes, ugly wounds, and brutally malled… We take it, we don’t let it get us down, and we keep on traveling! Here are some stories from fellow blogger friends and their unfortunate blunders while on the road.

 

Chris Backe from One Weird Globe

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Khon Kaen, Thailand: a random weeknight. I’m biking home after a quiz night and a few beers (let the record show a few beers isn’t even enough to get me buzzed). I’m rounding a corner on road I’ve biked 100 times… the next thing I know I’m over the handlebars and land on my back onto a grassy spot under a street light. Stunned, I sit up and do that classic check. Legs OK, bike looks OK, left arm OK, right arm… erg. My forearm was floppy. The shock hadn’t worn off and the pain hadn’t set in, even as I was slowly coming to realize both bones in my forearm had been broken
A couple days of hospital food, a surgery, and a couple of steel bars later, I had a scar that I’ll have the rest of my life.

 

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It was the day before I was leaving to Kentung, Myanmar when this wound was acquired. It all happened very fast, but who doesn’t leave Chiang Mai without a ‘farang tattoo’ from a scooter crash?

There was no major issues, I drove home right away but started getting a bit concerned when eventually I couldn’t see out of one eye. Luckily my brother is a doctor so I sent him selfies every few hours. His advice: it’s a facial wound so there isn’t much you can do other than let it heal naturally.

A couple weeks later I was good as new, the scar is not even visible! It was definitely a conversation starter while in Myanmar.

 

Gemma and Craig  from Two Scots Abroad

Halong Bay Vietnam

When I say Vietnam, what is the first thing that comes to mind? Halong Bay, right? It was a priority on our South East Asia itinerary since I’d spent months slavering over travel photos of the limestone islands in the sea. One of the daytime activities on the trip was to kayak through the limestone tunnels, spotting cute monkeys, and ogling at the scenery. We met a couple, the girl was laughing nervously, the guy not so much. Their kayak was sinking. Craig and another Irish lad, attempted to be heroes and to save the sinking boat to rescue them from a horrible fine. What the boys thought would be a five minute job ended up being a half an hour cardio and endurance test which involved one of them straddling two boats whilst the other tried to hug and tug the kayak (which was vertical at this point) out of the water. Eventually they won the struggle but not without scars which resembled a blunt toothed shark attack. The saddest part of the story is that all of the boys were jumping off the top of the boat but Craig didn’t have the energy to do so after his gruelling work out. He looked like a sad kid in school who wasn’t allowed to play.

 

Shara from SKJTravel
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A cautionary tale for those who would repeat my folly and choose not to give proper respect to the danger signs that abound on Maui’s shores and beaches … others have died at the Olivine Pools, I merely endured an extraordinarily painful visit to the Maui ER. In short, I was standing on a little peninsula of lava rock to watch the ocean waves crash against it. Eventually a freaky-huge wave slammed into the rock, a wall of water shot up and descended on top of me, instantly flattened me and pushed me across the lava rock like a freight train, depositing me in a cauldron of frothy sea water with no way to climb out. My companions further back on land saw me vanish before their eyes. By luck or miracle, whichever you believe in, my companions were able to haul me out.
If you are unfamiliar with what lava rock feels like, go arrange a bunch of ice picks on the ground and then have someone drag you across them. Oh, and then go to the hospital and have bits and pieces of them scrubbed out of your body with a wire brush! I spent the rest of my vacation on pain killers with a bi-nightly 2-hour ordeal to change all my bandages. However, I continued to follow our scheduled itinerary each day, regaling the public with my blood-soaked bandages. (And there are more that you can’t see underneath my clothes.) But I had more conversations with strangers than ever in my life because everyone wanted to know what happened! While the scars have lost a little of their pizzazz in the intervening 7 years, they still make a fine mosaic.

 

Sarah from Jetsetting Fools
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In 2007, my husband (then boyfriend) and I took our first trip as a couple outside of the United States for a week of R&R on St. Maarten in the Caribbean. Since Kris is somewhat of an airplane geek, we headed to the small beach at the end of the airport runway where planes take off and land directly overhead. We were bobbing in the water when we saw the first plane approach. I raced up to our towel and grabbed my camera. Trying to turn it on as I was running to a better position, I suddenly felt a piercing pain rip through my foot. Instinctively, I jumped into the air and gracelessly came back down with my entire body falling to the sand. A new wave of pain coursed through my body originating from my left leg. By now, the airplane was almost directly above me so, ignoring the pain, I awkwardly snapped the picture. Once the plane landed, I looked down to see a jagged piece of glass lodged in the side of my leg…which was the same piece of glass that slashed the bottom of my foot. My souvenir from the trip: an inch-long scar. But, at least I got the shot!

 

Megan from Forks and Footprints

My travel scar is actually a set of 3. Within a 3 month time span, I crashed a moto and had to go to the hospital, got bit by a stray dog which led me to the 4 course of rabies shots, and finally got mugged on Thanksgiving day which was also the day I signed a lease on my new apartment in Bangkok. My legs look pretty rough now, but they remind me that I can pretty much handle anything that the travel road throws my way!

 

Liz from Peanuts or Pretzels 

Liz - Peanuts or Pretzels Forehead Scar

People say that living in China is an unforgettable experience. And for me, that’s especially true since every time I look in the mirror I now see a permanent scar and dimple on my forehead.  My clumsiness has gone to epic proportions this year – culminating with me actually breaking my foot in China! While that was a memorable story, at least it didn’t leave a scar.

I had just moved into an apartment in China to begin teaching at a language school.  In a morning rush to get out the door, I was standing at the edge of the dining table putting items in my bag to go to work.  I accidentally dropped a pen on the floor and without thinking, I very quickly bent over to pick it up…and managed to slam my own head into the sharp corner of the dining table!

I hit my head SO HARD that I nearly knocked myself out.  I sliced my head open and was bleeding. After bandaging up the massively swollen area, I went to work.  For the next week, everywhere I went people said “oh what happened” (or just pointed to my head if they couldn’t speak English).

It was so embarrassing to tell them I ran my own head into a table — like a two year old.

 

Nic from The Roaming Renegades 

My story of my scars is a little different because it starts a long time ago! 13 years ago I busted my knee playing football and despite being told there was no way to fix it I just got on with my life! Sure, my knee cap would pop out of place here and there but I never let it stop me! I scaled mountains, climbed cliff faces, Kayaked down rapids, white water rafted in glacial melt waters, hung off the side of a 2000ft valley face, launched myself off 30ft high waterfalls and ran off the edge of a 4000ft peak! After years of crazy adventures across 29 countries, walking miles across cobbled old town streets, hiking trails, ancient walkways and modern boulevards my knee finally needed fixing!! I am now the proud owner of not only a brand new ligament but 3 pretty gnarly scars…I like to think of them as the result of bad ass wear and tear! Here’s to a future double hip and knee replacement (probably), but hey, nothing is going to stop me! I could have sat back and had none of these adventures because I was so scared of my knee going again (which it often did) but I would rather have these scars and those memories!

 

Norbert from Globotreks

A few years ago I visited the Mayan Ruins of Copan Ruinas in Honduras. The site has several pyramids, with several of them open to be climbed to the top – which I did. After reaching the top of one of the pyramids, I stopped to enjoy the view, but by mistake I misplaced my footing and ended falling down the stepped pyramid – almost all the way to the bottom.
It all happened so fast I thought nothing happened to me. I stood up, dusted myself off, and when I looked down my knees I saw one of them with an inch long cut, right at the patella, bleeding all over my leg. I had to clean the would with hand sanitizer and take care of my open wound with just a bunch of gauze since the nearest hospital that could stitch me up was over 7 hours away, in Guatemala. By the time I got there, it was too late to get stitches, so now I have what I call my “Mayan Sacrifice Scar.”

 

Marvin from Retirees on the Go

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Our ship was docked in Aruba and we decided to walk the beach.  Apparently, I brushed up against a poisonous plant or a wayward tiger, because when I got back to the ship I had these deep burns/scratches on my shoulder.  I’m still not sure what caused the marks but they are a couple of months old and they will always serve as my Aruban souvenir! (Too bad they don’t match my other tattoos!)

 

Jennifer from Made All the Difference

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My eye is still blurry from tears as I examine my latest injury.  I keep looking in my rental car rearview mirror.  I am hoping that the image will change.  In the past year, I was in a car accident in Iceland, fell down a flight of stairs in Equatorial Guinea, fell over avoiding a charging Gorilla in Rwanda, and swam a class 5 white water rapid in Uganda.  I walked away from each incident with nothing more than a bruise. I am still in disbelieve that while on a weekend trip in Cape Canaveral National Seashore, Florida, I sneezed while opening the rental car door.  When I sneezed, I hit my head on the edge of the car door. 

 

And last but not least, and bit of a different scar story…
(Does the other half know about this submission Stefan?!)

 

Stefan from Nomadic Boys
Stefan ringless finger
I am Stefan, one half of Nomadic Boys travel blog, with my boyfriend, Sebastien.
After many years of planning and saving, we left our jobs and lives in London in June 2014 to eat our way around Asia, where we’ve been since. That’s almost 2 years together on the road. Travelling has made us a lot closer and really has really strengthened our relationship.
But, despite this (as you can see from the attached photo), there is still no ring. We’ve been together almost 7 years (since Feb 2009), but you notice those poor sad empty ringless fingers in the photo right?
Yup – that’s my scar from the road – the scar in my heart from not having a ring after all these years.
So! Now it’s your turn… Have you acquired any travel wounds?

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Nina Ragusa is an American wildflower who shares her world explorations and methods of living the travel lifestyle – without fluffing the details. You can expect wit and sarcasm dashed between REAL travel information and adventurous stories. Nina is a professional beach bum, a hula hooper, and revels in getting lost on purpose. Tag along to see her (mis)adventures and tips on how to live abroad forever fabulously, rather than frivolously.

Love to travel? Want to live abroad? Don’t know where to start with your next adventure? This is the person to follow. Feel free to contact if you have questions.