Traveling for me can be dangerous and I can sum up this danger in two words: Vacation Curse.
Most of my posts will include helpful tips and tricks for great travel and adventure trips, but occasionally I will share my travel nightmares as well. These are their stories.
Lately I’ve been posting about my awesome trip I recently got to take with my boyfriend and his family to Virginia (Natural Bridge, Colonial Williamsburg, and the Frontier Culture Museum). While the trip ended up being a wonderful experience, unfortunately, Vacation Curse managed to strike as well.
Growing up, I never seemed to encounter issues with vacations, but once I started planning them myself, I noticed a disconcerting trend of troubling events, mishaps, and disasters (literally). From a bed and breakfast burning down, to flooded kitchens, and hurricanes, vacation curse pops up every now and then and manages to attempt to terrorize my vacation plans. Unfortunately for my Virginia trip, Vacation Curse would strike once more.
Leaving for Natural Bridge, in Lexington, Virginia, my boyfriend and I decided to head out the night before to get the 4-hour drive over with so we could tour the landmark in the morning. Afterwards, we would continue the last 4-hour drive to Williamsburg to meet up with his family. The night we left, the skies unleashed and a monsoon erupted, leaving driving conditions less than desirable. Driving his parent’s car was unfamiliar with me (I usually drive SUVs) and the car hydroplaned at least 80% of the drive. I had to go at least 10 miles below speed limit the entire time and that just made the journey that much longer.
We drove through the hills of Appalachian West Virginia and on these roads, street lights were few and far between. Mixed with the unfamiliarity of the roads and the gales of rain whipping our car, I had to just hope I was actually on the road. Then, I spotted flares and drove slowly past what we believed to be an accident on a particularly steep and windy hill. Nope. When Marc asked what was going on, I forced my eyes back to the road and told Marc, “That was a landslide.” It was horrifying and looked as though a shark had taken a huge bite out of the road. Needless to say, my nerves never ceased being on edge. Just as the rain finally began to subside, we reached our destination. Our estimated ETA was 1 a.m. We reached the motel at 3:30 a.m. It was a grueling drive.
Sadly, it would not be the last I would see of Vacation Curse. The next day we explored Natural Bridge State Park (incredible, you must go, check out my review of it here) and then went on to check out the Caverns at Natural Bridge. During the end of the tour, my eyes felt a little dry, so I rubbed them, and realized my contacts needed lubricating drops. We stopped at a gas station and when I put the drops in, the stinging and burning couldn’t have felt worse if I had been Dracula and the eye drops contained holy water.
Just like that, I was blind. I quickly removed the contacts and put on my glasses, but all I could see was a blurry distortion of what I should have been looking at. Marc took over driving and I sat there, worrying as the vision did not clear up and pain continued to radiate. Eventually I put on sunglasses and that provided minimal relief. I chalked the pain up to dry eyes and figured it would go away. We reached Williamsburg, settled in with his family and I went to sleep ready for my eyes to be better in the morning.
How wrong I was. When I woke up in the morning, I tried to open my eyes and kept slamming down my eyelids. The pain was excruciating! I crept to the bathroom and opened my eyes to see what looked like pretty decent special effects zombie eyes from 28 Days Later. My eyes were so blood red, I looked like the walking dead.
I googled my symptoms and quickly realized that I either had a pretty frightening eye disease or pink eye. Warnings stated lack of treatment could cause permanent vision loss. Immediately I tried to find an eye doctor, but on a Sunday, they were all closed. I called an Urgent Care and confirmed they would see me for eye problems. I didn’t want to ruin my boyfriend’s vacation, so I told him, I could drive to the Urgent Care 15 minutes away in a town I’d never been, with impaired vision. I probably would have been fine, except my GPS direction system on my phone is damaged and got me lost. 45 minutes later (after continually pulling over, not being able to read signs, and redirecting my google maps), I pulled into the Urgent Care parking lot, shaken and exhausted, with painfully burning eyes. I called Marc and asked him to Uber to get me and the car home after my appointment and like the prince he is, he came immediately and waited with me.
Of course, the Williamsburg Urgent Care was packed and the wait was 2 hours and 15 minutes before I saw a doctor. After she came in, everything went pretty quickly. She put some more holy water in my demon eyes (otherwise known as dye contrast drops) and examined my eyes with a magnifier. I asked if there was a scratch and she shook her head. “No, there are several scratches in both eyes and they are both severely infected.”
I was prescribed ointment gel, antibiotic drops, and steroids. After the 30 minute wait at the CVS pharmacy (I went up after 20 minutes and they had “forgotten to fill the script”), I finally made it back to the vacation house with Marc. Needless to say, we missed about 5 hours for this whole ordeal and I was sentenced to glasses-only vision for the next week. I still managed to get out to the pool and play tennis by putting sunglasses over the glasses (yep I rocked that double glasses look!) and my vision slowly returned over the next two days.
Instead of joining Marc and his two brothers to Busch Gardens, I spent one of the days with his parents in Colonial Williamsburg. As it turned out, I wouldn’t have gotten to tour the village if not for the eye problems (so take that vacation curse!).
My eyes are back to normal now thankfully, but the events that took place were definitely painful and I am SO careful not to rub my dry eyes. The doctor thinks it happened in the arid, cool cave air. It was still a great trip and I loved all I got to do and see, but I could have done without the crazy weather and horrid eye pain!
So, until next time, watch out for your own vacation curse!
Do you have a vacation curse story? Share it below!