From approximately ages 5 to 14, I puked every time I entered a museum in a city outside of my own. I’ve thrown up in the National Air and Space Museum as well as the Natural History Museum in Washington, D.C., in the Viking Ship Museum in Oslo, Norway, in the Children’s Museum in Portsmouth, VA. For my 12th birthday, I didn’t even make it all the way to the International Spy Museum — I threw up in the car on the way. Maybe by this point the myth had settled in me so strongly that it had become a self-fulfilling prophecy. It felt like something that had been forced onto my identity; if I go to a museum, I’ll get sick. To this day, my family says I’m allergic to museums.
And let me tell ya: Getting sick at museums makes you extremely not want to go to them! This did not, of course, stop my parents from making museums a regular part of vacation itineraries. I don’t begrudge them at all, because 1. A museum allergy is not real and 2. Museums are a great (often free!) way to occupy children’s time. It became a bit of a pathology for me though; trips to new places meant museums, and museums meant sickness.
Once I somehow overcame my mysterious museum issue, I honestly haven’t had that many travel horrors. Someone asked me recently if I have travel anxiety, and I replied that I have anxiety everywhere all the time and have never noticed a particular spike while traveling, so probably not but who’s to say. I’ve missed flights and gotten lost in other countries and once slept on the floor of Newark airport at the start of a two-week stint in Norway where I felt dissociative and on edge the entire time because, as I would find out later, my then-girlfriend was already in the midst of an affair. Shit happens! And if you’re lucky enough to travel and take vacations, they don’t always go the way you want them to! No matter how much planning you do! Sometimes you’re just going to puke up pink remnants of the strawberry Pop Tart you had for breakfast all over your white t-shirt in the middle of the Air And Space Museum because you couldn’t make it to the bathroom and then cry a bunch because is there anything more mortifying than a bunch of adults you don’t know staring at you with concern when you’re a little kid?!
(For the record, museums and I have made our peace. I mean, I went to the Met every week for a long stretch of last year.)
I want to hear about your travel horrors, big and small. Tell me about your vacations gone wrong, your fucked trips, your sullied plans. Did you go on vacation with an ex thinking that was a good idea? Did your entire suitcase disappear (big fear of mine)? I know there are some of you out there who have been dumped on vacation and, like, you don’t have to talk about it, but also I do have questions. Another question: WAS ANYONE ELSE OUT THERE ALLERGIC TO MUSEUMS?
How To Post A Photo In The Comments:
Find a photo on the web, right click (on a Mac, control+click), hit “Copy Image URL” and then…
code it in to your comment like so:
If you need to upload the photo you love from your computer, try using imgur. To learn more about posting photos, check out A.E.’s step-by-step guide.
How To Post A Video In The Comments, Too:
Find a video on YouTube, copy the URL, and paste the link on its own separate line in your comment. You no longer need to use the “embed” code!