My Top 5 Tourist Fails

Have you ever experienced a “Pinterest Fail”? It’s when you find a recipe for “THEBESTCHOCOLATECHIPCOOKIESEVER” and they end up looking like this:

Pinterest cookie fail, circa 2012

True story.

Well, the same thing can happen when travelling… and I like to call these “Tourist Fails”. You travel across the province/country/world to do THEBESTTHINGEVER and something (usually the weather) presents the unexpected and you end up with less-than-perfect travel photos. If I’ve learned anything, it’s that you do it anyway – rain or shine, my friends.

So, here are my Top 5 Tourist Fails (so far):

Tourist Fail Number 1: Stonehenge, England, United Kingdom, March 2010

I visited Stonehenge shortly after they built a gate to keep tourists from touching /stealing /breathing on the stones. If you cannot tell by the look on my face, it was cold and windy as hell. I think I lasted 10 minutes outside before running back to the bus. Also, the brochures don’t mention that Stonehenge is located directly beside a busy highway and massive parking lot (albeit with a highly convenient coffee shop and loo). This is the best photo I got.

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It’s so bad that I’m not even mad about it anymore.

Tourist Fail Number 2: Machu Picchu, Peru, South America, October 2011

You know those days when you regret not checking the weather forecast? To this day I’ve never seen so many ponchos in one place. Thankfully, my trusty North Face windbreaker has been with me through it all. And we went for pizza afterwards. Which gave us food poisoning. Check off the ol’ bucket list.

Pro Tip: Take the self-guided tour in reverse to avoid the crowds
This was the first leg of our four-week South America trip

Tourist Fail Number 3: Cape Palliser, North Island, New Zealand, December 2016

Yes, even many years later I have failed to check the weather report. You can read all about my trip to Cape Palliser and the seal Nursery visit in my Cape Palliser blog post.


Tourist Fail Number 4: Loch Ness, Scotland, United Kingdom, April 2010

This one isn’t weather-related but I honestly thought we would see Nessie (please refrain from laughing). I was travelling the UK with a friend from high school on a serious shoestring budget. We were so cheap that when we got to the castle at the end of the 90-minute walk we didn’t even want to pay the £10 to see it up close. Then we walked the return 90 minutes and took the bus back to Glasgow. Let’s just erase this from memory now.

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Nixon belts were still cool back then, okay?
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My first time seeing herds of sheep… Prepping myself for New Zealand, I guess!

Tourist Fail Number 5: Gros Morne National Park, Newfoundland, Canada, October 2015 & 2016

In 2015, my sister (the Machu Picchu one) came to visit me and we drove 10 hours from St. John’s to Rocky Harbour for a three-day weekend. The boat tour season at Western Brook Falls was over, so we set off to hike the Green Gardens trail instead. Yes, it may have rained, hailed and snowed, but trust me, cracking an ice-cold Iceberg beer at the viewpoint over the lush grass and sea stacks made the journey more than worth it.


Pro Tip 2: You can totally use your shoe to open a beer, and socks as mittens when in a pinch.


Bonus Fail:

I went back to Gros Morne in September 2016, this time with Brett before we moved to New Zealand. The ferry was still running at Western Brook Falls and I was so excited to finally get on it.

I’ll just leave these photos here.

So naive about how cold it would be on the water…
At the end of Western Brook Pond (the famous view is from the top of these cliffs)
The North Face jacket is still present – under Brett’s hoodie. Seriously, it’s effing cold out there.

Funny enough – looking back through old photos to write this blog post made me realized that I actually enjoyed having these unexpected and less-than perfect travel experiences.

Postcard photos and “everything was fantastic” vacation stories are a dime-a-dozen, and if I’m going to travel that far to see something, I want to see it from a new perspective and in a unique way – not identical to something I pulled from Pinterest.

Travelling has taught me the value of being flexible and having the ability to laugh at myself… and most importantly to check the weather forecast more often 😊