Mishaps have the same chance of occurring on the road as much as in regular life. There really is no difference. As a traveller, by default you're pushed into dealing with the moment right away in lots of cases. The plane lost all your luggage and you only have one clean pair of underwear - next thing you know you're in some exotic destination looking for underwear.
With that, here's a few moments of what one might call mishaps, or depending on one's perspective, are all part of the journey with a lesson and tell a story all on their own.
This spider got in our van the very first day we had bought our van and were in a campground. We knew there was a Blue Mountains funnel web spider that was very dangerous and didn't know if this was it. We were pretty sure it wasn't a funnel web, but still, we had only been in Australia around 96 hours or so. We later found out this was a Huntsman spider, which do not cause serious harm. Huntsman spiders became our unofficial mascot spider as we had plenty of run ins finding them in our boots, on the van and crawling around on Chris's back.
We once lived in a house that we caught 98 mice during the summer season in which Chris set and emptied all the traps except one. He made me set and empty one, so he was not thrilled to have to be setting traps in the van.
But I told him to perk up, we'd catch the mice quickly and smile for the camera, which he did.
Four sleepness nights later we never did catch the mouse.
He just decided to leave all on his own.
This was a tragedy, some child left their monkey at the cafe. We put him on display so he could be reclaimed, but unfortunately the owner must have been one of the many people just passing through town and never were able to come back and claim their monkey.
Working in a kitchen, no matter how careful, it seems the kitchen staff always got at least one good burn. Chris and the cook were always comparing who had the worst burn at the time.
I spilled hot, near boiling tea water all over my hand.
Not the best picture because I was trying to work quickly for Chris' sake. When we were in the Atherton Tablelands looking for Tree Kangaroos where there is a plant called stinging nettle. Even the slightest brush up against it can be severely painful. Walking in the forest taking care to stay on the trail, Chris thought he saw a tree kangaroo high up in the canopy. As he strained his neck upwards to look his right calf went back just a few inches and touched stinging nettle. Immediately he felt a burning pain.
We turned around as fast as we could for the van and drove into a town. Thankfully we got to the pharmacy just before closing. All the warning signs advise to get medical attention immediately if you come into contact with stinging nettle and Chris accidentally had the plant brush again a golf ball size of exposed skin and the pain was severe. The woman at the pharmacy said she's had full grown men in tears come in to get relief and there was one reported case of death from the plant.
Luckily it was such a small spot and we could self treat, but I can't imagine if someone's skin was exposed to a large area. As the nettles embed themselves in the skin and one of the forms of treatment is to pull them out with melted hot wax. So on top of a hurting leg Chris got his leg hair ripped out. There is sensitivity to the skin for months afterwards, particularly to cold water. We were worried Chris wouldn't enjoy diving on the Great Barrier Reef in two months time, but he was able to without discomfort.
Remembering that we had a tow bar was such a painful lesson that I seemed to need to repeat every couple of months.
Oh that tow bar got me more times than I'd like to say.
After owning them for over five years, my sunnies finally broke.
I guess there's worse things.
Like not having anywhere to live because all the trees are getting cut down or you are getting eaten alive by a dog that should have been under control but was not.
Or having your flip flop break while walking our on rough rocks during low tide, only to have the tide coming in around as our pace had slowed due to no shoes. Then not being able to move quick enough across the rocks as the water level rose over our knees mixed with baby shark fins swimming around us driving poor Chris to have to walk barefoot across rough coral and get cuts.
I held off on telling anyone about these last pictures for ages as I was to embarrassed to share. We are managers, house sitters, child care watchers and people that get entrusted with lots of responsibility. I couldn't admit such an accident happened on my watch.
I set our van on fire.
It all happened one quiet morning in the middle of no where just after we finished working on the potato farm. We were so excited to be on the road again and we were in a free designated camp spot and I was boiling hot water. The tea towel got a little too close to the stove and in a second the entire back of the van was a ball of flame. All I could do was yell a four letter that started with "f" and wasn't 'fire.' Chris started pulling things out of the side of the van and in a few seconds that felt like ages I weighed out whether I thought I had enough time without getting blown up to try and turn the gas off of the stove and get the propane bottle out of the van. I distinctly remember reflecting that nothing was worth dying for and assessed we had a chance to at least try to get control of the fire.
The ball of flame that we saw and I thought was going to engulf our van was the tea towel. It burned without a trace in about thirty seconds and it was mostly over. Our pillows, the van and some other items all had some degree of fire retardant to them and the difference was obvious. I know there is some controversy about the chemicals of fire retardants, but that invention kept the van from going up in smoke.
So Chris got a bit of stinging nettle, we had some resident mice for a while, I almost dislodged my knee on our tow bar and once I set the van on fire.
In the end we made it through. We are all capable to making it through whatever lies ahead of us. Whether we are in our back yard or 30,000 miles around the globe, all of us possess the strength to meet whatever challenges lay in front of us. It's how we view and react to what's going on around us that either makes or breaks the lesson. I know I choose to try and take the lesson as an event that helped prevent a worse consequence later down the road. I certainly would not have wanted to go through the stress of setting the van on fire for nothing.