Uh Oh! Do-Over and Never Again!

Kathy and I have been traveling for eight months now.  We’ve been extremely blessed with drama free experiences, good travel health and very few problems. We’ve learned a lot about what works for us, what we love and what we prefer to avoid. 

Uh Oh!

There is a vast difference between economy class...

and first class train travel.

Economy Class Train Travel
While traveling through Indonesia we missed a connection to the “first class” train we had reservations for.  An economy class train was leaving the station soon.  Rather than wait a whole day for the next first class train we decided to hop on this really low priced train. I remember thinking “how bad can it be?”. Well, it was pretty bad.  Economy trains make more stops so the anticipated 4 hour ride turned into 8. The seats were uncushioned, hard benches. We had to sit 3 across where even 2 people would have been uncomfortable. There was no air conditioning. I was pretty miserable for most of the trip. The upside was we were sitting with very kind and helpful  local people.  Locals travel this way all the time, it is not for me for long trips.  The experience helped me see how privileged we are and also what I’m willing to pay more for.  This Uh Oh! was a great learning experience.


On our second visit to Georgetown we rode the ferry instead of the very expensive taxi we took on our first visit.

We got to explore so much of Georgetown, including this beautiful Burmese Temple.

And all of our wonderful Chinese New Year experiences.

Georgetown, Penang Island, Malaysia

When we first got off the boat, landing in Singapore, we moved pretty quickly.  We spent a day and a night in Singapore, 4 days in Kualu Lumpur and 5 days in Georgetown.   Neither of us were crazy about Georgetown.  We had yet to learn the value of slower travel, longer stays.  I’m really glad we made a decision to visit Georgetown again. Exploring this lovely island town a second time, for a whole month was a wonderful experience. Now Georgetown is one of our favorite places, it’s even on our short list for a permanent retirement home.

Never Again!

Questioning our visit to the Tiger Kingdom, Mae Rim/Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Tiger Kingdom, Chiang Mai, Thailand

We visited the Tiger Kingdom on our first visit to Chiang Mai on a whim.  We did no research.  We just hopped into the cab of a friendly driver for what I thought would be a pleasant adventure.  Had we done more investigation we would have easily seen that there is a lot of controversy about this place.  Mistreated, drugged tigers are kept in small cages.  Tourists (including Kathy and I) lie on, pet and take lots of pictures with these beautiful animals. I wanted to believe what the keepers say: that the cats are not drugged, that they grew up with people and are thus friendly.  But I left with the nagging feelings that those things are not true.  I have decided to never again visit attractions involving animals without first making sure the animals are being treated humanely.

The animals at the Sacred Monkey Forest in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia are free and happy.

Home free, serendipitous travel has great opportunities to find out more about oneself.  I’ve learned that I like a certain level of comfort and am willing to pay for it; that staying long enough to get to know a place is best and that thorough research is a valuable tool in deciding where to visit.


What are some of your travel uh ohs, do-overs or never agains?  Please share in our comments section. We love hearing from you!


8 thoughts on “Uh Oh! Do-Over and Never Again!

  1. Great post! I had a similar budget travel experience but mine was by bus. Yikes!

    Before I visited Thailand, I was excited to ride an elephant and see the magestic animals in the wild. But once I arrived, I decided to do some research and I’m glad I did. It’s terrible what people do to the animals and the lack of regulation regarding their treatment. I ended up not riding any elephants but eating my way through Chiang Mai instead.


    1. Hello again. Yea. The lack of animal regulation is astounding. We kinda assumed it would be like the USA, an assumption we have tried to let go of. Things are very different here. I really wanted to ride high in the saddle on a gentle elephant but am glad researched first. Wish we had with the tigers. But as you did we consoled ourselves with food and there is at least one holiday, celebration or festival every month or so, that makes for inexpensive and conscious fun. And of course, more food. Thank you for commenting. Always glad to hear from travellers, especially you. Be well


    1. Where will you go first? We chose Thailand because it is so inexpensive. It is a great adventure. Glad you two will be adding your wisdom to world travel. Keep in touch. Thank you for commenting.


  2. I totally share your uh oh about the difference in classes on trains. In India it was the difference between comfortable cushioned seats and bunk beds, or hard chairs and sleeping 3 beds atop each other. And a never again – flying coach 6 or 8 across on long overseas trips. It’s worth it to pay more for the comfort. Thanks for your blogs. Love them!


    1. Hey Dorothy. Yeah sometimes basic is a bit too basic. But we are always glad to travel. Howe all is beauty and love in your world. Thanks for reading and commenting. Be well


  3. My do-over would be going back to Tanzania and staying longer in Arusha with that expat couple (their names escape me…Peter and ???). Tanzania was a salve for my soul…seeing the animals wandering freely in protected reserves was a delightful treat. I LOVED the lions and giraffes and zebras. I also loved being on the Serengeti, being able to see for miles and miles.

    A “never again” would be jumping into a “private cab” while in Jamaica with a young man I had just met on the beach a day before. Yep, me, Ms Adventurous! Almost got myself gang raped but for the grace of the Goddess and being able to remain calm in a perilous situation. It was a stupid thing to do and I learned my lesson. Another “never again” would be not researching the lack of hygienic bathroom facilities in Cuba and lack of accommodations for differently abled people. I had a very difficult time with the extremely low-to-the ground toilets and lack of elevators. My poor knees were shot by the time I got home!

    Another do-over would be one of my best trips to Mendocino, California where I explored Van Damme Forest by myself and marveled at the magnificent trees and peaceful quiet. Although I had wandered off the main path and ultimately became very lost I felt protected and secure in the knowledge I’d make my way back to the front gate. 4 hours later I did…tired, thirsty, sweaty but happy! Then I treated myself to an absolutely fabulous meal at a local restaurant where I tasted fresh beet salad for the first time in my life!

    An “uh oh” occurred while in Tanzania. I had decided I wanted to take a little walk before breakfast outside of our camp. We had been expressly warned ” not to EVER” leave the enclosure of the camp. Wild animals and all that. Well, since I couldn’t *hear* anything (like a lion’s roar or elephant’s trumpeting I thought I’d be okay if I just stayed close to the camp. Before I could take that final step toward the latch on the gate a jeep came roaring up to me with a guard glaring at me. He began shouting in Swahili and waving his arms, one of which held a long firearm. Turns out there was a pride of lions right outside our camp roaming by either going towards or leaving a hunt. I was furiously chastised by our English-speaking guide. Needless to say, I suppressed any future urges to venture beyond the safety of the camp!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s