"I was a particularly rebellious high-schooler, and I played in a band with guys who were all 10 years older than me. Of course I was ecstatic to accompany them on a concert tour in Russia, and even more ecstatic when someone suggested we get tattoos to commemorate the trip.
"I was one of the last to go…and halfway through what I think was supposed to be some sort of crest, the artist ran out of ink. I left Russia with a weird, faded, lopsided shape prominently displayed on my shoulder. My mom saw it and wouldn't let me in the house for two days.
"Now I'm in my 30s…and, not gonna lie, wearing short sleeves still kind of sucks."
"I was flying from Michigan to New York to start college in the Big Apple. As a soon-to-be Writing major, I knew bringing a lot of books would pay off later, so I brought an entire duffel bag full of them with me and placed it in the overhead storage.
"When the plane landed, I reached for my bag, but because it was so heavy, I lost my grip, and 40 pounds of books fell onto the head of the woman sitting underneath. I apologized profusely before exiting the plane — talk about getting struck by knowledge!"
"I look very, very young for my age…and never does it come around to bite me more than when I'm traveling. Whether I am being mistaken for my husband's daughter at flight check-in, getting asked if I'm old enough to even have an ID at security, being asked to move if I'm on an exit row on the plane, or being handed the children's menu at restaurants, the number of times I have sheepishly had to admit I'm actually in my late 20s and have been married for three years are too many to count.
"I know one day I'll find it incredibly flattering rather than downright embarrassing!"
"This year, on Valentine's Day, I was staying in a fancy lodge in South Africa. After an extravagant dinner, I headed back to my hotel room, and what awaited me was something straight out of the movies: Rose petals lined the floor, a candle-lit bubble bath had been drawn, and chocolates were arranged on the pillows.
"Props to the hotel, which clearly thought they were making some lovestruck couple's night. Except, who was it that happened to follow me into this magical room?
"My older brother, aka my suitemate. Pretty sure we blushed deeper than the rose petals. So. Awkward."
"It was my first evening in Paris, and I was heading out to meet friends, so I picked up two mini red wine bottles and put one into each of my jacket pockets.
"I was in line at a fast-food restaurant when all of the sudden an elderly woman began yelling at me. Then a security guard started yelling at me. At that moment, I realized that one of the wine bottles had fallen from my pocket and shattered on the floor, sending red wine across the white tile.
"I tried to say something in French, but all I knew was 'oui, oui.' Everyone was looking at me, and I was so embarrassed that I ran out and picked up a bag of chips for dinner instead."
"Last year, I traveled to Nepal with four girl friends from college. After a six-day trek, we returned to town fulfilled but exhausted. We saw a sign for a post-trek massage and headed over immediately.
"When we arrived, we were split up into pairs, led into rooms with two massage beds, and promptly told to strip down. Yes, ALL the way down. We are close friends, but this was a bit more than we bargained for.
"Once the massage started, trying to ignore our total nakedness was bad enough…but the awkwardness scale tipped even farther when the masseuses started being…well…a little too handsy. I'm pretty sure my friend and I were too busy focusing on not making eye contact to actually enjoy the massage.
"Did I also mention that there was oil involved?"
"I had just boarded a cross-country flight with a toddler and a newborn when I realized the diaper bag was still sitting in the car. Five-plus hours with no diaper changes? We were QUITE the fragrant family. Thank goodness the babies were quiet and well behaved the whole flight, or I think they might have had to make an emergency landing and kick us off!"
"I visited a cistern in Istanbul, an underground reservoir with three feet of water at the bottom and a 10-foot-high walkway. I wanted to take a picture, so I reached into my jacket where I kept my phone and wallet and suddenly heard a plop. I looked over the walkway into the water and thought, Yup, that's my wallet.
"I told a security guard what happened, but he looked at me as if I had just invented English. So, I took off my shoes and socks, rolled my pant legs up, and jumped into the water.
"Luckily, an enormous column was between the guard and me, but I spent the rest of the visit at the Basilica convinced I'd be thrown into an interrogation room."
"When preparing to go on a cruise porting out of Miami, my family was unpacking at the hotel. The luggage rack came down on my toe and severed my toenail. Since we were cruising around the Bahamas and the Caribbean, my family's main concern was my being able to swim.
"The doctor's solution was to give me green surgical gloves to tape around my feet. I spent the duration of the cruise running around with big green gloves flopping around on both feet like I was the creature of the black lagoon."
"One weekend, I took the bus from New York City to visit friends in Washington, D.C. It's a long ride, so I decided to bring some shrimp stir-fry I had made the previous night. Unfortunately, my responsible move to use up leftovers backfired. Majorly.
"In transit to the bus, some of the liquid leaked out of the container all over my bag, so the second I stepped on board, I was emanating the scent of soy sauce. Then, as luck would have it, we happened to hit a bump when I actually opened the container to eat, and shrimps spilled all over the place.
"You know that co-worker who heats up fish in the microwave? I was that person...on a bus with no air circulation. For five hours. Word to the wise: Never travel with soy sauce, seafood, or — especially — the two combined!"