Travel Misadventures : When I Was Dropped Off at a Toll Plaza at 4.30 am
“To move, to breathe, to fly, to float,
To gain all while you give,
To roam the roads of lands remote,
To travel is to live” ~Hans Christian Andersen
Travel is the greatest experiment. It satisfies your curiosity and lets you explore the world and its beauty, gives you some amazing adventures and memories, exposes you to the diverse cultures and cuisines of the world, helps you to form new friendships and experience a vast range of emotions and often leads to self-discovery too.
I have been traveling extensively for work since the last 25 years and have gathered a lot of memories and adventures over the years. While I plan for my trips meticulously, but the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry and I am no exception.
“I’ve done a fair share of stupid things in my life, a couple of which should have put me in the grave. But here I am, typing away as if I had a brain.” ~ Craig Wilson
In this travel misadventure series, I plan to share some of my epic travel fails…
Let the (mis)adventure begin…
I was traveling from Jaipur to Chittorgarh on a cold December night. The bus was scheduled to reach my destination at 4.30 am. While the bus conductor was checking my ticket, he casually informed that the bus would not be going into the city but by-passing Chittorgarh via the highway and that I would be dropped at the toll plaza. I was flummoxed, bewildered, zapped, horrified… all at the same time. How could I not know about the drop location!!
When the panic subsided and the wheels of the brain machinery started moving, I found that the distance between the toll plaza and the city centre was some 11 kms and the only conveyance to reach the city were the passing by buses. I called KG and the local manager but that didn’t help the matter. I spent the night restlessly, thinking too much about the ifs, buts, hows, whys….
When it was time to reach the toll plaza, the driver and conductor of the bus gave me pep talk and told me to not worry. I was rolling my eyes in my head. And just then a sleepy guy of 28-30 years joined us at the front end of the bus. It turned out that he was also getting down at the toll plaza and had to go to the city centre. Wow! Super WOW!! The driver and the conductor matched my euphoria level, at this development. I said a silent prayer of thanks while they started instructing the young chap to escort me safely to the city centre. I think it was the guy’s turn to feel flummoxed, bewildered…
When we got down at the toll plaza, there was a guy in the toll booth and 4-5 people sitting around a small fire, by the road side. The environment and the time was not inspiring confidence in me and I was scared from inside. This guy seemed to be perceptive and he started talking about himself and his work at Tata Projects. After some 15 minutes of waiting at the toll plaza, a bus arrived and we hopped into it. I heaved a sigh of relief and thanked God for his blessings. As the bus dropped us at the city centre, I thanked this god-sent guy profusely and was about to rush to my hotel which was just across the street, he told me, “Ma’am, it’s better to avoid travel at night!”
I rolled my eyes so hard, that my eye sockets hurt!
While this misadventure makes for a good story, and I can laugh about it today, but it was a super stressful experience.
I travel at all hours of the day and night. But the travel is always to or from an airport or a bus or a railway station which are ALWAYS buzzing with activity, with means of transport available at all hours. A lonely, secluded place like a toll plaza of a small city and that too at an ungodly hour is truly scary for a hardened traveller like me! This experience has heightened my appreciation of goodness in people, gratitude and of course paranoia to double triple check my travel bookings and timings.
“Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s okay. The journey changes you; it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body. You take something with you. Hopefully, you leave something good behind.” – Anthony Bourdain
Have you had travel misadventures and debacles? What’s the craziest thing that’s ever happened to you while travelling?
September 5, 2019 4:54 pm|
I liked that last quote by Anthony Bourdain…it’s so much like what you learn from LIFE!
I can imagine how horrifying that night must have been for you, Shilp! Thank god for that guy who made sure you were safe.
For me, there’s one misadventure that I won’t ever forget. It’s really an unpleasant memory which changed my life. It was almost 18 years ago when hubby and I left home for a short vacation when I realised hubby had had a massive manic episode of bipolar disorder. So, you can imagine…the trip was planned by a guy who hadn’t been in the right state of mind. A full-blown manic episode was what shook the earth from beneath my feet and turned my world upside down. Bringing him back home and taking him straight to the hospital at 2 at night was what I did, all by myself, and learned a BIG lesson. Life can give you the nastiest of shocks when you least expect it.
I have also enjoyed some really happy vacations with hubby, but that one journey will always stay clear in my mind. And, despite having gone on some wonderful journeys, somewhere in the back of my mind, the fear still lurks, making me prefer staying at home than go on a journey!
September 5, 2019 6:46 pm|
My misadventure: a few years ago, I was traveling overseas with a group of friends, and our first flight arrived late at the connecting airport in Canada. This caused us to miss our second flight, and the person who did the rescheduling for all of us messed up something, resulting in every flight change BOTH WAYS being complicated and frustrating.
Each place we went, we were told we didn’t have tickets for that particular flight, and the airline person had to contact the original ticketer (for nine of us!) and rebook everything . . . only to have us go through the whole ordeal at the next stop. We were supposed to have an 18-hour layover in Munich and were really excited about exploring the city, and instead we ended up with a 9-hour wait in line in the Frankfurt airport, no exploring, and yet more trouble at our final destination. Having to sit around with a stack of papers and passports that said we were, indeed, supposed to be where we were, made for a terrible experience, both on our way from the States to Turkey and back home.
September 7, 2019 7:44 pm|
Travel is an enriching experience. Every adventure or misadventure make us learn. And sometimes count our blessings too.
September 5, 2019 10:13 pm|
Oh I’ve had many a misadventure ! Perhaps I should do a series in travel mishaps
September 5, 2019 10:28 pm|
Thank God I never been in this situation and I’m sure I’m not so strong to handle..I can imagine your state of mind …thanks for sharing I will also now cross check many times my pick up and drop timings
September 5, 2019 10:36 pm|
I remember booking a bus from Bangalore to Palakkad years ago and then been informed by the driver as I boarded that night that the bus would drop me off some 40 kms away…. at 2 am in the morning.
This is long before the era of Uber or Ola… I was left in the middle of an empty road with noone to call. Even the slow online maps of that time showed there was no major city or place nearby… finally after walking till some 3 am, I found a tea stall that was open… sat there literally till 4,30 am wondering what I was doing with my life… then the tea stall owner had pity on me and rang up an auto driver who he felt would have woken up by then… that guy came by 5,3o picked me up and took me to my hospital… I was back inside the operation theater at 8 am.
I dont remember dates or even why I went to Bangalore back then.. I just remember how lonely and lost I felt that morning walking in the darkness in the middle of nowhere
September 8, 2019 8:12 am|
I have never travel alone so I have no such story but it is excited to have some good and bad experience of every thing.
September 6, 2019 2:40 am|
It feels adventurous now but at that moment I would have been scared and plotted how there are N ways am going to get lost in an unknown place and other N-1 ways of rescue missions.
I had similar misadventure during graduation days, uff it was a headache then but now it is a dear memory.
Looking forward to read more misadventures.
September 6, 2019 4:54 am|
I can understand and relate to your situation. I am happy that you came out safely. You said right good people also exist.
September 6, 2019 6:53 am|
You are one brave woman,S! I rarely ever travel alone, but had I been in your situation I surely would have had a nervous breakdown, lol!
Oh and you pick the BEST quotes! That last one by A.B. – so perfect!
September 6, 2019 7:52 am|
Oh man! This was truly scary. God bless that good samaritan. I can imagine your panic. I would have been out of my mind. I traveled extensively throughout the country in the initial years of my work. And most of the trains were at such odd hours. Luckily, I always had good experiences.
September 6, 2019 8:05 am|
Oh my word this is such a misadventure Shilpa – I can imagine and emptahise with your plight. I had one such scary experience in 2005 while traveling by Volvo from Jaipur to Delhi. It was the 9 pm bus which reaches Delhi by 3 am. Just before Manesar, the bus brazed another vehicle and they both stopped to fight it out. Things escalated to such an end that the bus driver refused to ply the bus further saying everyone gets off here. Several people were from Gurgaon and all called for their cars. Those days Gurgaon was just coming up. I was so panicked as my ancient cell phone battery had died and it was appearing that I would be the only person left there. Several men started hitching rides from passing vehicles- something I was petrified of doing.
Then a Sumo halted and the cabbie after understanding our plight offered to take peeps till Dhaula Kuan for 100/- each. I clambered into with 4-5 men in that vehicle, all the while praying that no mishap happens as these were strange men and it was 2 am in the morning. Thankfully no one bothered me and when I reached Dhaula kuan my hotel cab ( I was working for Taj) was waiting for me there – driver had snoozed off. I could have kissed him in relief as I had been wondering what will happen once I reach Dhaula Kuan as I would need conveyance to head home. Phew!!!! It was one scary adventure and never ever have I again taken that late a night bus – overnight buses yes but not ones that terminate at 2-3 am.
Reading the comments, I can empathise with so many peeps here. Thanks for sharing this adventure as I realised I am not the only one to go through something like this. Shit happens!!! 😉
September 6, 2019 2:42 pm|
This must have been really tough and scary. glad to know you were back safe. I have traveled alone many times, but never faced anything like this.
September 6, 2019 9:45 pm|
I have had plenty of travel debacles! It was enlightening to read about your experience.
September 7, 2019 9:51 am|
believe me travel is nothing without such misadventures. I have been so many misadventures, i can write a book on it. Getting down at a different town while the cab is waiting at another town in a foreign land, to losing passports, getting stranded because of overbooked hotel to I don’t know what! This was a difficult situation for you I can understand.
September 7, 2019 5:15 pm|
I sometimes think the travel misadventures fill up with many experiences, some that even last for a lifetime. Can wonder how horrifying that experience would be…
September 7, 2019 10:26 pm|
I traveled alone and reached Chandigarh late evening .The autowallah picked uo another boy and I was very scared.Luckily the young man was his nephew and was dropped of soon.But some scary fifteen minutes.Your story took the cake though.
September 8, 2019 7:24 am|
Travelling alone is a great challenge in itself and if you are being dropped at place like toll plaza heart beats 100 times faster.
September 8, 2019 8:26 am|
Aah I liked the idea of penning down your misadventures Shilpa. I know it would have been horrifying to be stranded like this at such odd hour
September 8, 2019 10:24 am|
You kept your cool in such a scary situation even though you were scared from inside! Travelling alone teaches us a lot. I did a lot of it too and thankfully never faced such a thing.
September 8, 2019 10:40 am|
I too had many misadventures like this while traveling and have always taken as a challenge n converted into adventure
September 8, 2019 11:52 am|
Glad to know that you came out of the situation smartly. It is necessary to manage everything for travel specially the pick and drop facility.
September 9, 2019 11:38 am|
ohh crapp..!! thats so horrifying for once yaar.. Sometimes trips go so weird yaa. Actually a lesson for all
September 22, 2019 11:52 am|
I THINK WE HAVE ALL BEEN THERE, CHINA
February 3, 2023 3:11 pm|
Traveling can be a very rewarding experience, whether you are traveling for leisure or for work. There are many different ways to travel, and each one offers its own unique set of benefits and challenges. Whether you are looking to explore a new destination or see a familiar one in a new way, travel can be a great way to get out of your comfort zone and experience new things.first time safari tips
February 19, 2023 1:50 pm|
Travel can be an incredible way to see the world and experience new cultures. It can also be an expensive and time-consuming venture, but there are ways to make it more affordable and less time-consuming. By using online resources and planning ahead, you can make your travel experience as affordable and enjoyable as possible.Marrakech to fes desert tour
March 3, 2023 10:47 am|
It’s completely understandable if you prefer to stay in one place rather than traveling. Traveling can be stressful and time-consuming, and there are many benefits to staying in one place, such as being able to build deeper connections with your community and saving money on transportation and accommodation costs. Everyone has their own preferences and it’s important to do what feels best for you.Custom tour Morocco Fès Marrakech
March 22, 2023 8:56 am|
Moreover, planning your vacation can also help you save money and avoid any unexpected expenses. You can research the best deals on flights, hotels, and transportation, as well as look for discounts on attractions and activities.travel