For most of us, traveling is a treat. We save up a nice chunk of change to see a part of the world we’ve never seen before. But the more you travel, the more likely you are to run into the darker sides of the world abroad.
And that’s exactly what happened to these 15 people.
#15. Incredibly lucky
“I was traveling in Nicaragua several years ago when I got lost and ended up having to take a taxi at 9:30pm back to my hostel. When the taxi pulled up to the curb, the taxi driver locked the taxi doors and told me that I had misunderstood the fare. He claimed I owed him $100 USD which was several times more than we had agreed upon. I tried to pry the doors open from the inside but was completely trapped. Thankfully, he let me out of the taxi after taking all the money I had on me.
The hostel workers told me I was incredibly lucky. A few days earlier, a taxi driver had kidnapped another young female, assaulted her, then dumped her barely conscious body in a field outside town thinking that she was dead. A few local schoolchildren found her on their way to school in the morning.”
#14. The cops spoke with us
“On the red-eye train, stopped for a layover in New York. My friend and I are half asleep, sitting across from each other. A homeless guy snuck into the train, pulled his pants and underwear down and tried to sit with my friend, encouraging her to “help him out.” I woke up just in time to see it happen. Took me telling at the guy to find another place to sit for him to hurriedly pull his pants up and move somewhere else… only to try the same thing to another woman, who was extremely vocal about it.
The cops spoke with us. Apparently this guy was known for stealing cans from the subways and this was a new MO for the guy.”
#13. A Russian militant roadblock
“I went to visit Ukraine with my parents because they wanted to see the small villages where their parents were born. We have no family in the area so we hired a guide to take us around since the country can be a bit corrupt. As we were driving around on a highway we suddenly were stopped in traffic (literally middle of nowhere). The guide gets out of the car and takes a look, then quickly jumps back into the car, does a U-Turn and drives off telling my mom we can’t go to her mom’s village. We ask why and he says that was some kind of russian millitant roadblock. This was during the whole Crimea thing.”
#12. A night train in Naples
“A friend and I were waiting for a night train in Naples and after someone tried to steal our bags decided to go everywhere together. It was a good thing because a man who had been whistling at us for an hour tried to follow us into the bathroom.”
#11. I would be safe from then on
“I was walking around in a town in Algeria. I wandered in to a neighborhood, and noticed there were hardly any people out. A little further, and there were literally no people out. I started to feel a little uneasy. And then I see an extremely tall man walking towards me, straight towards me, obviously with intent. He gets closer, and I see an older gentleman with a long grey beard and wearing a grey tunic. I stop. He comes right up to me and says, in pretty good English, “you’re not safe here, we need to get you off the street”. I say “OK”, and he says “follow me”.
We walk a few blocks and we come to a door, he says “wait here a minute”, and he goes inside. He opens the door again and invites me in. When I get inside, there are maybe a dozen men. They are all dressed in black, and they are staring absolute daggers at me. Grey-beard lays in to them, starts shaking his fists at them, gets really worked up. Then one of the younger guys goes in to the kitchen and brings out some tea and cookies, and offfers them to me.
So, I’m drinking tea, and trying to smile, and one of the young guys asks where I’m from and I say “The States” and he starts talking about the CIA and stuff… and then I say “you think the CIA is bad here? Let me tell you about Central America”, and then pretty soon everybody is warming up to me and we’re laughing and talking shit about American foreign policy and drinking tea.
After a bit of that the older man invites me back to his apartment. He has a huge library. I gift him a book that I had finished. And then he tells me what had just happened. His little brother, who was one of the younger men, was the leader of a radical group, all the other men I had met. He had overheard them getting ready to kidnap me. But he had shamed them for not being good hosts, and for disrespecting him because it was his house. He said that I would be safe from then on.
TLDR: Gandalf saves my life and got a copy of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance for his trouble.”
#10. A long screwdriver
“1992 I was walking up the stairs to the ticket booths in the Warsaw, Poland central train station. All of a sudden this dude is falling down the stairs coming to rest a few stairs above where I was standing. Dude had a long screw driver sticking out of his abdomen.”
#9. Screaming like they were going to die
“Was on a flight once going into Orlando that hit some unexpected turbulence. This was no ordinary turbulence. We went from 0 to 100 in an instant. People literally flew out of their seats, luggage fell from the overhead bins, people screamed like they were going to die. There were several sudden drops in elevation strong enough that people’s arms flew up in the air and my butt came out of the seat. I’ve flown quite a bit and sometimes it gets bumpy. This was the first time I seriously thought something bad was going to happen.”
#8. Lost him
“I was stalked by a guy while walking through the Tiergarten in Berlin. I was walking a path, enjoying the park alone. I saw this guy standing on the edge of the walkway just looking off into the distance. I passed him and when I was about twenty feet away, he turned and followed after me, keeping pace. I started to take a very meandering path, even leaving the park and entering again. The guy stuck with me the whole way. Eventually I got to a place with some sharp turns and heavy greenery. I was able to lose the line of sight and put myself up against a corner. I’d just been in Switzerland and had bought a pocket knife, so I opened the blade and held it inside my jacket pocket. I stood there, waiting, and then this guy comes walking out of the path confused and obviously trying to see where I went. When he finally spotted me, he jolted and since I had the drop on him, he played it cool and continued walking as if he hadn’t followed me there. He stopped a little ways ahead, and I kept watching him. I wanted to confront him to find out why he’d followed me, but since I was a visitor in the country, I thought better of it. Instead, I waited until I saw a big group of people leaving and fell in with them. He started to follow me, but I finally lost him outside the garden. It unsettled me because to this day I have no idea why he was following me. I’m a guy and at the time I was in my early twenties, pretty fit, and had a sour disposition, so I didn’t seem like a prime mugging target. But, maybe he thought otherwise.
EDIT: Half the reason I posted this story was because I hoped someone on Reddit would know what the guy was doing. You didn’t fail me.”
#7. Our moms just started calling…
“In 2016 I went to Brussels in a school trip, we were at the train station and we left to Germany I believe. Several hours later all of our moms just start calling and texting us asking where we were and stuff. Turns out there was a bombing in the train station. It’s crazy to believe that the bombs were probably already planted when we were there.
Edit: we didn’t actually got on a train, we were just visiting the station.”
“A good friend of mine in Zimbabwe was grabbed at gunpoint and forced into a van, thankfully they only took her to an ATM and made her drain her account then they left her somewhere outside town. Could’ve been so much worse.”
#5. A pack of wild dogs
“I had a pack of wild dogs chase me from my bus stop to my hotel at 3 am in Kosovo. I also had a old woman yell at me in Russian about not making my bed right on the train and then watched over my shoulder til it was to her satisfaction when I was on my way back to Bucharest from Moldova.”
#4. Losing my wallet
“Got pickpocketed by a group of 3 on a Paris metro. I’m paranoid of losing my wallet, so I’m always checking myself. When I realized it was missing, I made a bigger scene than the pickpockets were making (they shoved me into their friend and were trying to convince people I knocked him down). I stopped the train from leaving the station. One of the other passengers left to get got conductor and security. I guess that didn’t sit well with the pickpockets, so they gave me back my wallet and took off running.
Edit: This event still freaks my wife out.”
#3. Staring at me while I slept
“I was staying in a weird hostel by myself in Barcelona, woke up to a man staring at me while I slept. He was looking over a one of those wood dividing screens that the shared room had. I pretend to still be asleep because I was afraid of what he would do if I move or confronted him and I didn’t know if there was anyone else in the room. He stared for like 2 hours until finally my alarm rang cause I had to to take an early train, so I put all my stuff in my bag and left the room. As I left I told the owner, but I was really in a hurry and didn’t ask what he was going to do with the guy.”
#2. Face to face with a cow
“Hiking in Huaraz Peru, has been told to watch our gear as locals (and apparently foxes) might make off with items left around the campsite. So we made sure to clean the campsite extra well, packing all our gear in the tent and inside the fly. And after a long day hiking, off to bed. Middle of the night our tent starts shaking like crazy, I wake up freaking out thinking we were getting robbed, I started yelling and screaming. Part of the tent pushes in real far. I manage to get outside to start swinging and come face to face with the cow that had wandered into the tent ropes and got startled. Pretty lucky that it didn’t step down into the tent and hit us.”
#1. A bus from the 80s
“In India our bus rounded a corner in the mountains and another bus was on the other side of the curve. Both busses skid to a stop about 1 foot from one another. Both drivers started laughing and poking fun at each other. We saw a bus from the ’80s that fell down the mountain about 15 minutes later. Hella intense.”