Cultural Experience | Cape Town

Make all the mistakes and let them be a part of your adventure

Don’t let your fear that things go wrong keep you from exploring. Things go wrong on every trip. You just don’t get to see it online.

What you see on social media isn’t everything. What you usually get to see is the flawless, aesthetic side of travelling. What you hardly get to see is what the biggest part of traveling looks like: cheap bunk beds, smelly socks and t-shirts, sunburnt faces, can food and sleepless nights in overcrowded busses and shut down airports. The pictures you see on instagram, Facebook and tumblr are pretty, and ’goals’, but what’s happening behind the scenes is not only the key to how travellers can afford their adventures, it’s usually also the anecdotes and memories that will make your belly hurt from laughing when hearing about them.

Roadtrip Germany Bavaria Alps Image

Why spend money on an expensive hotel if you have a car?!

Not everything always goes right, actually, it hardly ever does, but is a trip without a few unplanned twists and turns really a true adventure story?!

Istanbul, Turkey. My friend and I had already packed our bags to fly back home, we were just sitting in our favourite restaurant waiting for a cab, when we heard rumours about all flights being cancelled due to a snow storm. We could not reach any English- speaking hotline, if any, so after a huge fight we went to Atatürk, only to find a queue not even fitting into the airport building of people waiting to get their tickets changed. We ended up spending a night sleeping on top of our bags in the airport, with no possibility to contact anyone before we got moved to a hotel for another night. At the time, my friend and I were not only having a huge fight, we were hungry, tired and exhausted. I realised, that there’s nothing else to do than stay calm and wait for further information instead of panic and looking back, it’s the first story I tell people when asked about my stay in Istanbul.

Cape Town, South Africa. I had stayed in Cape Town for a few months before wandering the streets on my own. I knew, that I should not leave the house alone after sunset, I knew I had to avoid certain areas and I knew not to carry lots of valuables with me, but when I got back there I felt safe walking alone through a dodgy at midday. When four adolescents blocked my way and started pushing me against a nearby fence, I knew I should have taken a cab instead that day. I tried to defend myself until one of them pulled a knife out, pressing it against my throat. A second later, they had ripped my backpack off my shoulders leaving nothing but a strap and ran away. I only started to feel fear when I realised, that none of the people around were going to help me. I had to deal with the police, the consulate, the bank and the insurance as not only my wallet, but also my phone and laptop were gone. Although, I wish I had never been so naive, knowing that I can handle situations like these, makes me feel safer now and helped me to always pay attention to my surroundings.

Donauradwanderweg Germany Austria Danube Biketour Image

We were hoping to get fit and tanned while biking to Vienna. Instead, it rained 3 days straight

Frankfurt, Germany. It started with finding an incredibly cheap flight online from Frankfurt to London. Full of excitement to finally return to my favourite city, I was standing in Frankfurt looking at the destination board searching for my flight…nothing. At the information desk I found out that I was at the wrong airport. There was no shuttle bus as it was late at night, my phone had just died and I was still calm thinking the airport can’t be that far as it’s also called Frankfurt,  until the lady told me the airport was 120km away. I had 1,5 hours before take-off. For that cab ride I had to surprise the confused driver with Pounds as I didn’t even have enough Euros on me. Trust me, I’ll never make that mistake again; I simply can’t afford to.

In the middle of nowhere, South Africa/Lesotho. For a road trip my friend and I rented the cheapest car we could find. On the second day, it broke down, as apparently the battery was meant for a motorbike and not a car. The amazing idea of lighting a candle inside the car to spare the battery resulted in a hole in the front window. Driving into Lesotho, the tyre broke in the middle of the highway, leaving us waiting for someone who would help us change it as it was getting darker and darker. To drive down Sani Pass, we had to smuggle out car across the boarder, as only 4×4 vehicles were allowed. When we saw the pinned dirt road and the steep edges, we understood why. Having survived this trip as the only driver especially after having had my licence for only about a year, I feel comfortable driving not only on the left hand side of the road, but also under the most unusual circumstances.

Roadtrip South Africa Image

Two weeks of not being able to stretch your legs, dinner/ breakfast still in the background..I wouldn’t change it for the world

All of the above are true stories that happened, often I thought I would soon reach my limits and just curl up as a little ball of desperation in the nearest corner and wait for someone to take care of me. Managing all of these situations (some surely better than others) and all the minor things like uncomfortable traveling, sleepless nights, crappy food and being sweaty 24/7 helped me not only grow as a person, looking back they are my favourite stories to share. Looking back I can laugh about them, often I already could before I had even found a solution for the situation.

Don’t let your fear that things go wrong keep you from exploring. Things go wrong on every trip. You just don’t get to see it online.

Make mistakes, let them be a part of your Adventure

Caroline Hajny

University of the Arts- London College of Communication | 3 stories

I'm a Live Events and Television student at the University of the Arts and I like to caption my adventures with a lens. I was born and raised in Southern Germany, but you'll hardly ever find me there as I'm currently trying to balance out the London lifestyle and my wanderlust. Apart from trying to get that British accent and spending my money on cheap flights, I'm a surf- lifesaver, cheerleader, festival-lover and part-time beach babe. I also share my adventures on Instagram (@carolinehajny) and Vimeo (https://vimeo.com/user46481893)


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