Category Archives: Travel Tales

Travel tales are what this blog is all about–the psychology of travel as revealed through the incredible stories that more than 1,600 world travelers and adventurers have shared with me throughout my own travels to more than 125 countries over the last four decades. Sometime the stories included in this blog will be those that appear in the Travel Tales Monthly Magazine or in one of more than 200 or so forthcoming ebooks containing travel stories on particular subjects, countries, or themes. The point to remember is that these are the incredible stories shared by people just like you and me about their travels far and wide around our globe. They are the most magnificent of experiences as well as the most horrific. They mirror life and the trials and tribulations that we all pass through in our travel-life journeys. Enjoy and be amazed!

Your Papers Please!

Your Papers Please!

The Dreaded Syndrome!

Your.Papers.Please copy 2

This has happened to me more times than I like to remember. It is the single most dreaded authoritarian command you just don’t ever want to hear. You’ve just crossed the border into this next banana republic country and you’re very anxious and tense because of all the scary stories you’ve recently heard about this place.

Planet Earth
Almost Anywhere

You really just want to turn yourself right around and go back to where, minutes before, you just came from, but it’s far too late for that or regrets. You are now caught between a rock and a hard place–in a no-man’s land of sorts–a damned if you do and damned if you don’t scenario.

Your palms are wet, your armpits are soaked with sweat, your mouth is dry, your knees are knocking, your cheek is twitching, your eyes are darting, your face is fraught with guilt, and der Herr Comandante–actually a low-level functionary working his way up–is not only leering at you–but he is actually looking right THROUGH you!

You may be a smuggler or you may be completely innocent. Or you may be hiding something as innocuous as a white lie, or you cannot know or imagine what, even. YOU ARE GUILTY OF SOME THING! You know this, but you know not of what. Again, this is the one command that you and all other travelers fear with a passion and loathing, and now you just have to deal with it! 

Whether innocent or guilty, YOU KNOW HE KNOWS! And, if there’s really nothing at all for him to know, you must realize this: he knows you know he knows, anyway! And you can be sure the he WILL FIND SOMETHING. You are sure he is operating on a well-developed sixth sense!

You’ve heard that perhaps you should slip him something, maybe a $10 bill inside your passport, or maybe just a $5 bill to grease his palms to ease his pain. But you know it’s wrong for him to expect something like this. And who knows, maybe you could land in jail for attempting a bribe, a far worse scenario than you ever expected. 

[You’ve tried this once before with a cop who stopped you for a burnt-out taillight in New Jersey. You offered to buy tickets to the Firemen’s Pancake Breakfast. But you failed miserably at it. ]

He stood there silently and sternly for seemingly an eternity, and then he gave you a severe tongue lashing, how that bordered on being a felony.]

What to do? Attempting to bribe simply goes against your grain. It’s just not done in America (hah!). Call it being headstrong or self-righteous. You just won’t do it; you stand on circumstances. You later are told it was naive of you!

This is true and happens all the time. The difference between you, the tourist, and all the others–the more seasoned traveler-adventurer types?–is that, for some unknown reason, they always seem to just walk right on through without the least bit of a hassle, while you will waste dreadful hours of blatant, fearful bureaucratic threats, perpetual bickering and cowering, and finally, anyway, winding up forking over the ultimate, inevitable cash, baksheesh pay-off!

Like this story?

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“Verboten!”

(See my recent postings)

A Hint of What’s to Come

Verboten!

A Spooky Excerpt from  
Travel Tales Monthly No. 10 April 2015

[Travels of the ‘Spy’]
East Berlin, East Germany, 1964
by Michael Brein

Checkpoint Charlie

I’m about to complete a new ebook and audiobook in my Travel Psychologist Travel Tales Series on the best of the best of my collected travel stories so far. It’s interesting as hell! I’m so proud of this ebook. Why not have a looksee or a listenhear? I even have a monthly special this month to help pave the way for you.

Continue reading A Hint of What’s to Come

A Hint of What’s to Come

The Peterhof Fountain

A Hilarious Excerpt from
Travel Tales Monthly No. 9 Mar 2015

[Travels of the ‘Fool’]
St Petersburg, Russia, 2001
by Michael Brein

SquirtingFountains

The Squirting Fountains of the Peterhof

I’ve just completed a new ebook and audiobook in my Travel Psychologist Travel Tales Series on funny travel stories. It’s funny as hell! I’m so proud of this ebook. Why not have a looksee or a listenhear? I even have a monthly special for April to help pave the way for you.

Continue reading A Hint of What’s to Come

A Hint of What’s to Come!

The Pigs of Goa

I’m working on a new ebook and audiobook in my Travel Psychologist Travel Tales Series on funny travel stories. But I am also working on an ebook and audiobook of toilet stories as well. Sorry, but the latter book is also funny as hell! The sketch by my old friend Ted Keller about ‘outhouse pigs’ gives you a hint of what’s to come! I’m so proud of this ebook. Have a looksee!

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 *Travel Story

[Note: Definitely not for the faint of heart!]

This is in Goa, India. In fact, Goa used to be a Portuguese colony. It was not a part of the English empire and so the Portuguese influence still lingers in Goa.

Continue reading A Hint of What’s to Come!

A Dream Dinner Destination

The Maya Beach Hotel & Bistro
Stann Creek, Belize, 2015

by Casey & Carolyn Caughie 

 

The Maya Hotel & Bistro

Interview with Carolyn and Casey Caughie. Reproduced from Travel Tales Collections, Food & Drink, No. 7, February 2015, by Michael Brein.

[Michael] Let’s talk about your fantastic experience in Belize. When did you go?

[Casey] We went in January of just this year. We were looking for a place just to get away to quickly, to get some sun. We’ll typically go to Cabo or go down to Cozumel. We decided on a beautiful stretch of beach in Belize.

So we started out without direct flights to Cozumel. You have to go to Houston. If you have to go to Houston, you’ll need two-and-a-half hours more to get down to Belize. And so the light bulb went off . . .  “Hey, let’s go check that out!” So that’s how we got headed down that way to go down for a week of sunshine, be able to check out the beach, and get some diving time in.

Continue reading A Dream Dinner Destination

Strategic Temper Tantrums

Do They Ever Work?

The Art of Miscommunication!

“I don’t always throw tantrums in my travels, but when I do, they most always work!” . . .

The_most_interesting_man copySuch might have said the world’s most interesting (Dos Equis) man, but, clearly, he doesn’t ever need to throw a tantrum, but some of us might benefit somewhat by doing so.

Here are a few vignettes of mixed success of temper tantrums strategically placed. A couple are outrageous; another may be more on a slow burn, but effective, nonetheless.

Continue reading Strategic Temper Tantrums

Humor at a Cost: Urban Travel Myths?

The Loneliness of the Long Distance Crapper!

 The Airplane Loo: A Room with No View!

AirplaneLoo

There was once was a man named Donald who was using an airplane restroom, seated on the john, but who FORGOT to lock the door!

VERY large buxom woman, presumably from an Eastern European country, now proceeded to open the door and back her way into the restroom–the only way she figured she could–in order to be able to use the commode–for it would have been exceedingly difficult for her to negotiate turning around in order to do so.

Continue reading Humor at a Cost: Urban Travel Myths?