Writing prompt: Bad travel decisions


[Feature Photo: manuel]

When we travel, we sometimes make strange decisions. Sometimes we think fast, make the right choice, and move on to the next adventure. Other times we mess up, make a bad move, and suffer some consequence.

Some confusing situations arise simply because we’re on the road and need to navigate transportation or cultural differences. Other times, we face a normal decision, but the new people and places we see while traveling change our decision making process.

For this writing prompt, write about a time when you made a bad decision while traveling. It could be the first time you experienced a stressful situation while abroad or something closer to home. It could be recent or something from your childhood.

Write a little bit about where the scene takes places and how you ended up there. Then slow down either when you get to the moment when you made the decision or the moment when you realized it was a bad decision and give as much detail about your physical, mental, and emotional reaction. Then wrap up by writing about any consequences that came from the decision in the short or long term.

* * *

We had 24 hours to see Paris.

We checked in to our AirBnB rental in the evening, did some laundry, drank a bottle wine, a loaf of bread, and several hundred macrons, and slept the sleep of the jet-lagged. When we woke up, we made a list of the places we wanted to see and I was ready to walk until my shoes fell apart if necessary.

Our host came back in the morning to check us out of our room and he offered to keep our bags in his car while we went sightseeing. We were scheduled to leave that evening on an overnight train to Munich. He said he had no plans and he would meet us at a nearby plaza two hours before our train was scheduled to leave. We planned to pick up our bags, walk to the train station, and wake up in Munich.

“Do you have a cell phone?” he asked us.


“No problem. I will meet you near the coffee shop in the circle plaza near here. My car is a station wagon. It will be very easy.”

I would like to say I hesitated. Or I asked him to draw us a map. Or I looked over at my husband to see if he had any doubts about the arrangement. But I didn’t. I left the apartment and my suitcase, which I would be living out of for the next five weeks, in a stranger’s apartment and walked to see a bar where Hemingway used to drink…

* * *

If you try out this writing prompt, leave a comment below with your work or a link to where you have shared it.
MatadorU Students: you can submit your writing to the weekly Labs to get feedback from the faculty.

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