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Our Worst Travel Moments — Emergency Room

We’ve had so many fantastic moments traveling the world continuously for the past five years. In spite of all the “regular” living, there have been challenging moments when things have gone wrong. To be fair, things go wrong even if you live in one place for five years.

We’re just thankful that it hasn’t been one of us waking up and asking the other “Who are you?” And we won’t write about the tsunami alert in Indonesia that turned out to be a huge wave of … wait for it … 2½ inches.

This is the second of a series of accounts of our worst moments. In spite of these few misadventures, we are still loving the life of continuous travel!

A Dog Bit Through My Lip

Whangarei, New Zealand

How did it happen?

We were house sitting of a small herd of cows and a dog. The cows weren’t the dairy kind that need milking but steers that eventually become steaks, burgers and chops in the freezer. 

Reed Park – one of the pretty hikes in Whangarei, New Zealand

That cow-sitting assignment was pretty easy.  When the cows think the grass is greener in the pasture on the other side of the fence, they loudly moo their complaints at you. Then you just move them. The resident dog was worthless at herding, and also not needed. We just opened the fence and the cows followed us to a new pasture.

Just before we left, I was playing with the dog when the dog’s tooth caught my lip. It was such a clean and fast slice right through that I didn’t even notice until I saw Ivan’s look of terror. It was a ghastly sight. He didn’t even get the camera as I instructed (like some parents posting a photo of their kid’s head in the lion’s mouth, or standing in front of the 14-foot alligator).


Ivan, who wanted to go the emergency room, reluctantly bandaged the gaping tear through my lip; and I was consoled that I couldn’t eat much for weeks. When the bandage was removed, the alignment was a little off. The vermilion border of my upper lip, known as the cupid’s bow, was not perfectly aligned.


When we arrived in Cape Town, we checked what could be done with a Christian Barnard plastic surgeon. They are famous for having performed the first heart transplant in the world, not for their plastic surgery. I didn’t deem the expensive surgery to slice my lip open again to be worthwhile because the surgeon would not be able to make the vertical scar disappear. A little lipstick can disguise the skewed lip but nothing can cover the vertical crease. Anyway, as I get older, the scar will blend with my other wrinkles. Voilà.

Lesson Learned

We could have gone to emergency which would have been covered by our travel insurance. But I like to think that they would not have done much better than Ivan.

I’m careful now not to play face to face with a dog.

Sunrise on the farm, Whangarei, New Zealand

The other stories in “Our Worst Travel Moments” series are:

4 thoughts on “Our Worst Travel Moments — Emergency Room

  1. Ouch!!! Definitely not recommended. I have a large dog now, and have learned to not to get too boisterous when sparring around. Only small claw scratches, but enough to learn from. I bet you were glad you were not a teenager, takes a lot longer for the wrinkle blending to kick in.
    Cheers, Bob.

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