Flipped Cars and Getting Stranded: Travel Stories That Went Out of Hand.
Top image from Unsplash by Felina Hung.

Singaporeans are a crazy adventurous bunch.

Our claustrophobic city state leaves us yearning for the wider world. More sights! More food! More experiences!

You might think: what could possibly go wrong? Well, we have three stories from Singaporeans on their cross-continental escapades in search of the most intense, sublime highs. Just what dangers did they get tangled up in?

Jason, 25 years old.

Thank god I had my seatbelt on.

I mean, which coward buckles up? But my girlfriend insisted, so I relented.

Imagine: it’s autumn in Iceland, an island of brown basking in the Midnight Sun. We wanted to have a road trip from Reykjavik to the glaciers of Jökulsárlón. After a night in an AirBnB, we set off on our journey. There were 4 of us—my girlfriend and I in the back, with two of our friends up front.

The two-way roads were perfectly straight. They tapered off into a gentle slope, placing us on elevated ground. It’s common for cars to hit 120km/hr because otherwise you feel like you’re crawling at a snail’s pace.

It’s about one hour into the drive, when the service light on the dashboard started blinking. The driver joined us in diagnosing the problem, scrambling for the instruction manual, being clearly distracted.

He looked up. The road was narrow, and he saw himself cutting into another lane.

Remember, cars were traveling in the triple digits on the speedometer. A blip in the distance could reach you in seconds.

Panicked, he overcorrected.

And we swerved off the road.

We screamed, swore as the car tumbled once, twice, thrice. It’s like every Hollywood car flip except it’s real. None of us knew what was going on.

Airbags inflated. The car landed. We hung from our seatbelts, and dropped ourselves down to the roof. Fear was pounding in my heart and flowed into my head, and I was giddy with realising what had just happened.

By the good grace of the Icelandic public, the police and ambulance arrived within minutes. They shuttled us to the nearest town so we could sort ourselves out.

The car was wrecked having landed upside down and had to be completely scrapped. Our insurance ensured that we had to pay only $2,900 split among the four of us—an incredible relief as the last thing we needed to be burdened with was more crippling debt.

Though shaken, we came out miraculously unscathed. Even our belongings stayed intact… except a single baguette.

It had snapped into two.

Overturned. Photo provided by Jason.
Amy, 24 years old.

When a woman travels solo, there aren’t many things she can do. No hitchhiking, no camping in the desert, no exploring seedy bars without pepper spray on hand.

But I could totally go to the beach.

Welcome to Santorini, sun and sand eclipsed by a backdrop of Grecian beauty. Couples sashayed past clean white walls, while others giggled and clinked their wine glasses. The pastel-hued Cycladic village perched atop russet cliffs offered one of the most iconic, romantic scenes, and I sighed with contentment gazing at it.

I decided to take a swim, letting the salty ocean slip past my skin. The nearby rocks looked straight out of The Little Mermaid, and feeling a sense of silly nostalgia, I decided to climb atop them.

Dripping wet as I hauled myself onto the boulders, I marveled at the ocean view. Standing upright, I mused on how I could never get this in Singapore, with the deep blue yawning open into the horizo-

Something gave way. One moment, my slick feet were no longer on the rocks. The next second, they crashed into them. I felt my skin split and I seethed in pain as the blood started to seep out. A chunk of flesh hung from it, and I felt faint, almost nauseous.

This far out, there wasn’t a soul to be found.

After bleeding out for 10 minutes, with nothing on hand to stop it besides my pink-stained hands, I decided I had to go back to shore. Each stroke was excruciating as the salt entered my open wound, but I kicked for dear life with my one good leg.

When I got on land, I felt like a victim from Jaws, hobbling and shouting. Grains of sand clung to my wet feet, and stabbed at my wound as I held back tears. I darkly wondered if I would need an amputation.

The tourists were baffled, unsure and ill-equipped to help me out. After a few minutes, a brave woman stepped up to attend to me, pouring bottled water on my cut and delivering preliminary first aid. We could only get a plaster from the minimart, and had to dig out the sediment by hand.

I didn’t have insurance, which was annoying. The injury wasn’t critical—I would be healed up within a month—but in the moment when I was screaming on the beach I was preparing for the worst. My wound could’ve been infected, and I would’ve had to fork out a lot more money without the appropriate coverage.

Next time, I’ll bring a partner along—and make sure we’re both insured.

Santorini from the sea. Photo provided by Amy.
The beach Amy was on.
Javier, 21 years old.

Switzerland has always been a dream: to walk amongst the rolling green hills of the Swiss Alps, singing to the Sound of Music—despite the movie being set in Salzburg.

So my friend and I planned to hike from the town of Lauterbrunnen, up onto a mountain path, all the way to the breathtakingly scenic Oeschinensee, and end at the town of Kandersteg. Having gone through army, walking 30km over an entire night, surely 20km over a 2 day hike would be a cakewalk.

We couldn’t have been more wrong.

The first hiccup: despite going in May—the thick of Spring— there was still ample snow. We wouldn’t have grassy plains, it would instead be a winter wonderland. Even our hosts commented on how unusual it was for the weather to be as chilly as it was.

Trudging through snow is much harder than walking on land. Snow builds up on your shoe caps, weighing you down. Sinking to mid-shin, it feels impossible to walk even 1km—coupled with the extra weight of food, water, and our tent.

Secondly, the height. We thought that 20km laterally would be no problem. How gravely we underestimated the whole endeavour. We ended up climbing 1,174m above sea level.

At one point, we were on our fours up a steep, zigzagging path, soil and snow turned into a slush. Once, my friend slipped—and I managed to grab onto him. It would not have been fatal, but he might have been injured … while we were in the middle of nowhere, with no one in sight.

Which brings us to our third point: despite a physical map, despite following signs, despite Google Maps on three devices, we still ended up hopelessly lost.

While we kept optimistic, more than once dark thoughts about the worse coming to pass flashed through my mind. I’ve read more than once about tourists or mountain climbers never returning from their journeys.

I remember my parents insisting on travel insurance for me—while I whined about the extra expense. In hindsight, even though nothing untoward occurred, being covered was still a consolation that would cushion my fears in the icy wilderness.

Eventually, we reached a semblance of civilisation in a train station and received a mobile signal, long after dusk had cast its shadow over the pristine white landscape. We calculated that there was no way we were going to finish our hike on time, so we headed back to our AirBnB.

So now we have an unused tent. Any takers?

The Swiss mountains. Photo provided by Javier.
When you’re overseas, it’s impossible to anticipate what might go wrong: it could be an accident on the road, or falling critically ill, or missing a flight because of natural disasters. As the above stories have shown, getting tangled up is far more common than you think.

Good travel insurance is going to give you the peace of mind to live your best life on your travels. And if you want coverage that’s worth your dollars, MSIG offers the best overall value for its price, offering up to $250k in coverage for medical expenses and accidents.

Their TravelEasy plan offers comprehensive coverage from personal accidents, medical related expenses, travel inconveniences, along with lifestyle benefits including adventurous activities like hang gliding, riding snowmobiles, and even marathons. Enhanced benefits even include maternity related overseas medical expenses.

Having comprehensive coverage ensures that when Murphy’s Law comes knocking, you’ll be able to answer the door safely.

So to those with a hunger for adrenaline and thrill-seeking in their blood—go forth and prosper! Just remember that it’s always better to have protection.

This piece was sponsored by MSIG Insurance.

MSIG is offering a promotion for their TravelEasy plan—60% off Single Trips Plan and 20% off their Annual Trip Plan from now till 23 December 2019. Plus, stand a chance to win in their daily lucky draw. You can sign up for it here.

Wish you had the guts to YOLO across the globe? Me too. Fantasize about your travels with us at community@ricemedia.co

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