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Our Worst Travel Moments — Caught in a Dangerous Area

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

Caught in a Dangerous Area

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

How did it happen?
Leaving New Zealand’s natural settings.

We generally travel slowly overland or by water trying not to take many flights. While we were in New Zealand, we had our eye on a 30-day cruise up the coast of Africa. The Ebola crisis was still very much in the news and I smugly predicted that many cruisers would cancel, believing they might somehow contract Ebola while visiting one of the ports. My guess was right. Indeed, there were enough cancellations (thank you Fox News) to make the cruise line offer cabins for less than $50 per person per day. We were stoked to get on board. The opportunity to spend 2 months in Cape Town and attend AfrikaBurn was an added bonus!

We used air miles to book a flight from Auckland, New Zealand to Cape Town, South Africa, the starting point of the cruise. For our hard earned air miles, United Airlines concocted a sadistic itinerary of more than 24 hours, changing planes in Bangkok, Thailand, then Ethiopia and again in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Cape Verde off the coast of Africa.

We departed Auckland for what became the journey from hell. Our layover in Bangkok stretched to more than 14 hours waiting for a plane that maybe had mechanical troubles. Bleary-eyed and exhausted, we arrived in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia having missed our third leg of the journey by a long shot. They announced that they were putting us up overnight in town for a flight the next day. Good. We badly needed to sleep at this point.

We were escorted to a fine hotel in the city, and by “fine” we mean the room had a bed and a bathroom. We were told emphatically not to leave the barbed-wire enclosed compound as it was just too dangerous outside. Cab drivers couldn’t be trusted and there was no place to go that was safe anyway.

At least the hotel had a bar. And, absolutely brilliant Ethiopian coffee.

The next day, the hotel jitney delivered us directly back to the airport for our uneventful flight to Johannesburg. And they already rescheduled our final leg of the journey to Cape Town.


We can’t really complain. We didn’t pay a cent to fly half-way around the world, not even baggage fees. Surprisingly, our bags made it to Cape Town the same time as us — three and half days later! We and our things made it safely to our next destination and that’s all that really matters.

Lesson Learned

We met nice fellow travelers and drank excellent coffee in Addis Ababa. It’s not a place we want to visit, but it confirms what G.K. Chesterton said, “An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered. An inconvenience is an adventure wrongly considered.”

Met on the road in Cape Verde, off the coast of Africa.
Other Stories in “Our Worst Travel Moments” Series:


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