As you may be able to tell from the title, this blog is going to focus on three major incidents that happened to me in the space of a week and a half. I chose a nice picture so that you didn’t have to look at my scabby knee on the title page. I’m going to leave the good things from this period of travel for another blog as I didn’t want this to damper the amazing experiences I’ve had otherwise. That sounds really depressing and sad and serious. I did have some shit experiences, but I’m going to try and laugh about them now.
I think it’s important to highlight that although, yes I may be travelling for six months, some will see it as a 6 month holiday or I’m on a ‘jolly’ and I should be having the best time of my life every single day, that just isn’t possible. Six months is a long time to be having the time of my life every day; I’m still human and human things still happen to me, along with every other traveller. Albeit few, I’ve had some shit days, painful moments and awkward experiences, but recently I’ve definitely just had the worst luck I couldn’t have even imagined since leaving home.
I was in Langkawi with the friend I had met in Penang, Lucy. I think it was the third day we were there, we decided to rent scooters. However, The Chief, who we wanted to rent them off, wouldn’t let me rent my own scooter as I had never driven one before. Instead, he told me sit on the back of Lucy’s so I could learn to get comfortable with it. I thought that was fair enough and Lucy was a good driver.
The next day we went back and I asked if I could rent my own today. After a bit of convincing, The Chief finally said, ‘Are you sure you’re willing to accept the consequences if anything happens?’ I immediately said ‘Yes!’ So after signing some paperwork and a little practise down a couple of narrow and dodgy streets (definitely not the best place to practise), I had my own scooter and Lucy and I were off!
The first three hours were great! It felt so freeing and scooters are actually really easy to drive. We went up and back down a mountain, heading north on the island. It was a wonderful feeling and everything was going great. But I should have known it was going to happen. I had that feeling that I needed knee and elbow pads on.
I was following Lucy, heading to a beach in the a north of the island. We slowed down (maybe to about 30mph) to have a look at this little beach as we passed it. However, when I looked forward again, I noticed Lucy was slowing down to stop. It only took half a second of panic for me to grip hard on both of my brakes, causing the scooter to immediately stop as I carried on, thrown left off the scooter, hurtling forwards and skidding along the gravel that covered the floor.
It happened so quickly; all I was thinking was ‘what bone is going to break?!’ I heard screams and shouts. The first thing I checked was if my nose was bleeding as both locals and tourists came over to me to help me up. Luckily it wasn’t. I remember looking down at my foot and seeing what looked like a flap of skin hanging off it; Lucy even told me later she thought the insides of my foot had come out. They sat me down on a bit of concrete and I started to feel sick as the shock came over me. Apparently I went a horrible white colour. I lay down and tried to breath whilst also trying to see where else was injured. Both knees were cut open, my right leg and arm was ripped to shreds and my right hand had skin hanging off it. The gravel had even cut through my t-shirt and grazed my pelvis.
I kept shouting ‘Why?!’ And wishing I could go back in time. I knew already it was such a stupid mistake. People were shouting to get water. A couple of tourist girls who had been on the beach gave their bottles and started washing away the gravel in my wounds with Lucy. The shock was going away now and the pain was coming. Everywhere was burning. I don’t think I cried but I was whimpering and moaning a lot. I asked Lucy how the bike was, she said it was fine and not to worry about it. But I was worried as my mind was suddenly focussed on money. I then heard Lucy talking about getting me to hospital, and I said I didn’t want to go. I quickly changed my mind when I realised how much pain I was in and how much blood I was covered in.
What happened next probably made me feel a hundred times worse about the whole situation. I looked around and saw so many locals gathered round me (I have no idea where they even came from) and taking photos on their phones. I yelled at them to stop, that I was in so much pain and it was a horrible thing to do, but then one of them said they were taking a picture of something behind me. Pffft. Lucy even tried to get them to stop, but it didn’t work.
One of the locals offered to take me to hospital in his car. I lay down on the back seats in a weird upside down cockroach position. I was still whimpering and moaning; I was in so much pain I just couldn’t help but express it through noise. And then Harry Styles, Sign Of The Times came on the radio and I started to sing to it to distract me from the pain. It kind of worked. But the hospital was really close so we arrived before the song ended. I got out of the car and was put straight in a wheelchair. Lucy had followed behind on her bike.
Luckily it was nothing like A&E back home. I was seen to straight away. They immediately asked if I had had a tetanus jab, if I was allergic to anything and if I hurt anywhere on my chest, spine or head. They helped me onto the bed whilst Lucy gave the reception my drivers license for my details. After what felt like five minutes of lying there in pain, they gave me a smallish dose of morphine in my bum (as in they injected it into my bum cheek) and then I waited for what felt like another 15 minutes before they did anything else. I remember thinking for them to hurry up and bandage me up, believing the faster they did it, the faster the pain would go away. It was unbearable, and I thought to myself at one point whether being in labour was more or less painful than this. I’ll let you know the answer when I have a baby one day.
The nurses started cleaning my wounds with some sort of water solution. I didn’t think I could be in anymore pain, but I started to shake all over. They started with my foot, but it was weird, even though that was by far my worst injury, I didn’t feel the burning sensation I did with the rest of my wounds. But then my foot shook the worst when they were cleaning it. The places that actually hurt the most were the shallow grazes on the back of my calf and the back of my arm. They did my knee, elbow and hand, cleaning them with the solution and then putting iodine on them. The worst part was when the solution trickled down the back of my arm. I was still whimpering and even tried singing again. Lucy asked if I wanted to squeeze her hand, but I didn’t want her to be injured as well. I cried out ‘Why?!’ Again and told the nurses to just cut my legs off. Then said no because that might hurt a bit more.
Finally it was over and they had bandaged me up. I think the morphine really must have kicked in by then, because, although I was still in a great deal of pain, it was a bit less intense. They gave me some more bandages, iodine and tablets to take. Lucy had been to the shop to get me some chocolate and a drink. I couldn’t eat anything right away, but I was grateful for this!
Lucy had contacted The Chief to tell him what had happened. We waited at the hospital whilst he made his way over. I totally thought he was going to be a bit smug about it because he had been reluctant to let me rent my own bike. But he wasn’t, he was just concerned about me. He and Lucy first went to the crash site to take a look at the bike whilst I waited at the hospital. I couldn’t really wear my flip flops because of the bandages on my foot, so randomly this woman offered to buy me some slider sandals. I felt rude saying no, so 20 minutes later she came back with these bright orange and black sandals that were way too big for my feet. I think she got the colour inspiration from my hair.
The Chief and Lucy came back and I ended up riding on the back of The Chief’s bike to the hostel. Not gonna lie, I definitely wasn’t ready for that. Both of them then went back to collect the broken bike whilst I just lay down on one of the benches at the hostel, for the first time, really wishing I was back home.
The next week was a massive challenge. Even just walking down the street caused me massive amounts of pain. My foot was swollen along with my arm, leg and pelvis. The graze on my knee more than anything was making it difficult to walk as it was so tight. I had to change my bandages everyday, putting iodine on the wounds so they didn’t get infected and I was unable to shower properly for nearly two weeks.
I had a flight to KL two days after the accident and then a flight to Sumatra the day after. I ended up spending only four nights in Sumatra before giving up and decided to head to Bali early as the there was less pressure to move around so fast. This has honestly been the worst pain I have ever experienced. I never want to go through something like that again. Most of my wounds have healed now, it’s just my foot where I’m sure several layers of skin were ripped off and the side of my toe where there’s a chunk missing and I have no sensation in, that are still scabby. Fingers crossed they’ll heal enough for me to snorkel before I head home.
I don’t think many people could tell from the pictures I had put on Facebook how bad my injuries were. So here are a few pictures from a week after the accident. (Look away if you get queasy)
And that was just the first thing that’s happened to me.
As I said, whilst I was in Bukit Lawang in Sumatra, I made the decision to cut out the rest of Sumatra and Java and head straight to Bali. I went to book my ticket, but when I did, my card got blocked. At first I was fine, I didn’t panic but went online and spoke to someone on my bank’s helpline chat thing. After several minutes they told me my card had had some unusual activity on it and I would need to speak to the fraud team. I explained I couldn’t call UK numbers as I was in Indonesia with no credit on my sim, as I hadn’t used it for the past 5 1/2 months. So the guy I spoke to organised a call back from the fraud team within two hours. Cool.
Five hours later and I still hadn’t heard from them. At this point I started to worry a bit and contacted my parents about it. I spoke to someone else on the chat helpline and after a lot of difficulty he organised another callback. However, I felt this was going to be as successful as the first one. My mum offered to put credit on my phone for me, but when she tried it apparently said my number didn’t exist! I literally tried all my other SIM cards from the different countries I had been to and I couldn’t put credit on any of them.
My mum then phoned the fraud team for me and gave them my details and phone number and said they would call me right away. Nothing. By this time it was four in the morning. I asked my parents to try and ring my phone, but they couldn’t get through. They would leave voicemails, but they didn’t appear on my phone. This meant the fraud team had no way of contacting me, meaning I had no way to unblock my card. I was really stressing out and just kept thinking, why?! Just like after my accident. Finally my mum was able to add credit to my phone and I was able to receive calls, but for some reason I wasn’t able to make calls. By this time (nearly 6am for me, 11pm for my mum), my mum had called this Scott guy on the fraud team half a dozen times with different numbers to call me on. I don’t know how or why, but we seemed to realise I had given my mum a slightly wrong number (I think), she called him one last time and then two minutes later, my phone rang.
Oh my god, I was so happy. I was telling Scott how happy I was to talk to him, apologised for how difficult it was to get ahold of me and in general relief swam over me. We managed to finally unblock my card and my mum was able to sleep. I actually cried out of relief and tiredness at this point. I was screaming with how frustrated I was all night and now I was sobbing with how happy I was it had been sorted. I couldn’t book my flight right then, I had booked to do a short trek into the jungle to see the orangutans. This also meant I had no sleep.
However, as soon as I got back to my guesthouse, I went straight back onto Lionair and attempted to book my flight. My card immediately got blocked again. I tried not to panic. I went straight back onto the chat helpline and requested a call back from the fraud team. But then I got too worried and ‘jokingly’ wrote my parents saying ‘who fancies calling the fraud team again for me?’ My mum did, but then they said to her they are unable to call a number that isn’t connected to my bank account. A) My current number is connected to my bank account. B) What a load of horse shit. They also told my mum that I could call them using Skype. By now I was crying again; I hadn’t slept and all I wanted to do was book my flight to Bali.
Luckily I had enough money on my travel card to add credit to my Skype account. After waiting in so many queues on the phone and giving about 3 different people my details, I was finally through to someone that could help. I think his name was Ben. It probably wasn’t, but we’ll pretend. I think he could tell I had been crying or I was trying not to cry through my voice. He was very nice, I explained what had happened the previous night (or early that day for me) and he unblocked my card and offered to stay on the line with me until I tried booking my flight again. However, when I tried booking my flight, it didn’t work. Ben approved all the previous suspicious looking transactions and told me to try it again, it didn’t work. We both couldn’t understand why. In the end he suggested it could be the site I was using, so then he stayed on the phone with me until I tried booking a different flight using a different site. I did and it worked!!! Finally! I was so relieved (again)! Ben was super calm and nice which kept me calm. I was just glad to be able to have access to my money and to know I was heading to Bali in a couple of days.
This was definitely the most stressful experience of my trip. Nearly matched by when Student Finance were threatening to charge me with interest penalties because I hadn’t told them I had gone travelling. Like I don’t owe them enough money already…
The last story to tell was just the icing on the cake to a bad week. I arrived in Bali late and decided to stay at a hostel in Denpasar. Because it was late, I just had a meal at the hostel and would explore the next day. I had vegetable fried noodles with egg. It wasn’t long until I went to bed. I was watching my fourth episode of Modern Family at around half twelve when I suddenly felt a bit sick. It was kind of like the feeling I get when I feel travel sick; nauseous, but a good burp would sort me out.
But after twenty minutes it didn’t go away. I felt more and more like I would actually throw up. I went to the toilet just in case, but nothing happened. 10 minutes later I went back and threw up most of my dinner. I felt better, a bit like I do after I’ve been sick because of a migraine. I went back to bed and texted a couple of friends saying I’d just been sick and I don’t know why. I fell asleep pretty quickly after that, but woke up again at 2am feeling bad again. I rushed to the bathroom and this time it came out of both ends. It was hard to navigate which end to prioritise for the toilet.
This time I totally believed it was over. I felt ok but drained and only wanted to sleep. But again, 2 1/2 hours later I woke up feeling sick. This time I literally peed out of my bum. I knew I had nothing left in my stomach, but I still had that horrible sick feeling, I ended up sticking my fingers down my throat and spewed up bile. I almost fainted from retching. This time one of the ladies who worked at the hostel heard me and came and knocked on the door. She said ‘Oh no!’ And started massaging my neck and shoulders as I was bent over the toilet. I soon had to tell her to get out whilst my bowels had another meeting with the toilet bowl.
I came out and sat in the common area on one of the chairs. The woman and I think her sister started fussing over me. One of them started rubbing what smelt like tea tree oil all over my belly, arms and legs whilst trying to avoid my scab-a-licious injuries, and the other made me a sweet tea. I took one sip and immediately felt sick again. And I was… sick again. After this they took me into an empty hostel room and lay me down. The mother of the two women was awake as well now and she started massaging the tea tree oil into me. She found the lump I have on my pelvis from my accident and was really pressing hard on it. I didn’t have enough energy to tell her to stop. She then massaged my arms and legs, really going to town on my hands. I wasn’t sure what she was trying to do really, but it was kind of nice I guess. One of the women had made me sticky rice to try and eat… I have no idea why she thought I would be able to eat this after throwing up several times. Clearly my body didn’t want any food in it, I didn’t think it would accept more so soon!
They then left me to sleep, but it wasn’t long until my head was in the toilet again. One of the woman even said ‘again?!’ as I ran past. I was very very close to passing out this time. But luckily I remained conscious until I made it back into bed and fell, almost, straight to sleep.
When I woke at 11am the next day, I had the urge to break wind, but stopped myself and ran to the toilet before letting loose. It was a good shout! I felt so drained and empty. No energy but no hunger to eat anything. Even the thought of food made me feel sick again. I’m still not 100% sure what caused it. Last time I was sick like that (that wasn’t a migraine), was because I had the flu and it was either caused by the stomach flu or it was because I had mixed two different types of tablets.
So it was either a stomach bug or food poisoning. The only things I ate the day before were toast for breakfast and a lot of processed food during my flights before having the vegetable fried noodles at the hostel. When I told my roommate what happened, he then told me that in Denpasar, they give tourists the vegetables they wouldn’t otherwise use (they would throw in the bin). So my main suspect now is the meal the hostel made me. I no longer felt bad for keeping them awake at 5am.
I had a couple of cups of coffee later in the day but didn’t eat anything until 6pm. They made me sticky rice again with salt. I managed half a small bowl of the stuff before calling it quits. It actually took me about an hour before I felt like I could stand up and take my bowl to the kitchen. The mother then gave me a couple of doughnuts she had made. It was cute but luckily she had wrapped them in plastic so I didn’t have to eat them then and there.
I left Denpasar the next day and ate very little for a few days after, causing me to lose about 7lbs in less than a week. One day I suddenly had a massive craving for sweets and so I probably put the weight straight back on.
Personally, I haven’t met someone with such bad luck as what I’ve experience the last couple of weeks. Although the food poisoning and bank card are both ‘resolved’ and I can move on from them now, I’m trying to not let my bike injuries ruin the rest of my trip. Although in Bali and Lombok the main way to get around is to drive a scooter, I’m trying to find ways around this. I used grab (cheap Asian Uber) in Seminyak and I fortunately met a couple of awesome girls, along with their friend from a different hostel, who took me on the back of their scooters in Ubud. I had the best time I’d had since my accident with these guys and I’m so grateful I met them! (I don’t know how much they realised how happy I was, as I’m getting worse at showing my emotions, (I feel if I tell people more than one bad story, I’m asking for them to feel sorry for me) but Julie, Dominique, Sylvain and even Nicola and Brendon, thank you!!!)
Also, thanks for reading guys! Sorry if I moaned a little, but fair waning, if anyone moans about a paper cut again, I will shove these pictures in your face. Love ya xx