Adventures Of A Backpacker: My Biggest Solo-Travel Disaster

7 years ago, when I was 18, I was on my way to the airport to head solo to Rome. I can still remember trying all the fragrances at Duty Free and stocking up on every snack I could see. My excitement continued all the way until I was standing in the line ready to board the plane. I was somewhat in the middle of the queue, not too eager to stand up first but not too laid-back to stand up last. In front of me I had a group of students. Nothing unusual I thought. I turned around behind me and could see a middle-aged male. Again, nothing unusual. Or so I thought…

The male behind me started to shift closer and closer towards me. Everywhere I moved, he would follow. If I stepped to the left, so would he. If I stepped to the right, so would he. I wasn’t panicked at this point, as I was surrounded by people, but I could see I was being followed. I remember turning around and saying, ‘Stop, I am uncomfortable’, but there was a language barrier issue. I couldn’t speak Italian. I moved away, and a few seconds later, the male followed.

I must have looked annoyed at this point as the group of students started speaking to the male in Italian. I turned away. A few seconds later, the male starts to undress! I am not even kidding. I could see his underwear and trousers lowering right behind me. I screamed. The group of students saw the whole thing and started shouting in Italian. I couldn’t understand what was going on but I didn’t need to do so, as a few seconds later I saw a fight break out between the students and male.

Security was quick to arrive to the scene. I was taken out of the line with the male and asked to wait until more security arrived. I was almost in tears as I didn’t know what was happening, but I explained that the male was being inappropriate. The kindness of the airport staff really blew me away. They kept me comfortable whilst I was giving a statement on what happened, and reassured me the male wouldn’t be on the same flight. However, at this point I noticed everyone had boarded the plane. I was terrified I’d miss my flight. Staff told me the plane wouldn’t fly without me but I wasn’t sure. How would the plane know to wait for me? I really didn’t want to miss my flight as my Airbnb host would be waiting for me at the airport.

After ten minutes or so, one staff member told me I could board. I felt so flustered running through the tunnel leading to the aircraft, as I was well aware the passengers were waiting for over 20 minutes. I didn’t know if the reason for delay was announced, however. As soon as I got inside, everyone was seated. To make things even more awkward, everyone started CLAPPING. I remember putting my hood up to avoid glances and just acted like nothing was wrong for the whole flight. Although, as soon as we had landed, I had so many people stop to ask if I was ok which was sweet. I felt so fortunate to have so many genuinely-concerned strangers around me, wishing me well. I managed to bump into the group of students to thank them for their help and continued on my way to meet my host. Well, it turned out I had no mobile data so couldn’t even communicate with her to say I had arrived, but that’s a story for another day!

See you in the next post!

P.S… If you missed my two other adventures, I’ll link them for you here :Adventures Of A Backpacker: My Accommodation Flooded? and Adventures Of A Backpacker: Scammed in New York City?

19 Comments Add yours

  1. What a horrible introduction to solo-travelling 😦 Hopefully, things only ever have been better since!!


    1. Yes it was certainly stressful! Luckily, ever since then I’ve not had a disaster when travelling as big as this story! Thank you for reading 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That is a relief and I hope that it stays that way!! Safe travels! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. You are very welcome!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow! that is nightmare.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It really was! Luckily nothing has happened to this extent since then! Thanks so much for reading 😊


  3. bosssybabe says:

    OMG… that is so disturbing! And so difficult bc you couldn’t understand a word they were saying… I guess the man was delusional or mental ill or something?? You never found out what the students were saying to the man, eh?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes! It was so creepy for sure! Especially as it was my first solo trip 😩 and no I didn’t ask as there was a language barrier but I wish I knew!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. rkrontheroad says:

    So glad the security and airplane staff were understanding and considerate of you! Creepy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Right! And yup it was totally creepy! Thank you for reading 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  5. That’s terrible! I’m so sorry that happened to you. I hope your other travels went much better. Stay safe!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes it was pretty scary! Luckily other travels did go much better! Thank you so much 😊


  6. Angela says:

    Awful story with happy ending. Very glad that people and staff helped you. Stay safe!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Absolutely! Thank you so much! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Becks says:

    Wow, what a way to start a trip! I think the best thing about solo travel is that it really shows the kindness of strangers that we don’t really see when we’re travelling with someone. Glad it all worked out ok!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Totally agree! It’s the smallest acts of kindness that make the biggest difference! Thank you so much ☺️

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Jorge Medico says:

    I’m glad you’ve been able to move on from the trauma of this horrific experience, and that people were kind too you. My experience is that given a chance, most people you meet are good, Be well, and keep posting.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much 😊 Yes the kindness of others was such a huge part of the situation I’m so grateful for the people who were around me


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