Editors’ Blog

CONTEST: Your six-word travel stories

Tuesday, March 17th, 2009

By Elizabeth Minkel

Over at Memoirville, we’ve published Rebecca Touger’s interview with Susan Jane Gilman, author of Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven. Gilman chronicles her 1986 trip through China: “[We went] on a romantic impulse, hoping to become female Bryons and Kerouacs and impress the world with our derring-do. Instead, we found ourselves in a foreign land, completely cut off from the world and stripped of everything: language, cultural understanding, our status in the world, our physical health, our sense of self, our sense of direction, and even the most rudimentary ability to communicate.”

Last week, we asked you for your six-word housing memoirs, and we got a fair number of horror stories. This week, we want you to leave home behind: we’re looking for your worst travel experiences, in just six words. Leave your responses in the comments section below, and five winners will receive copies of each of Gilman’s three books: Undress Me, Hypocrite in a Pouffy White Dress, and Kiss My Tiara. Don’t think you can say it all in six words? Include backstory, and we’ll send one winner copies of our six-word books as well.

I’ll get the ball rolling with one of my own, from a long evening in Marseille, France: “Stranger in station stole vodka, kiss.” No, it was not as romantic as it might sound.

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225 responses

  1. mwschmeer says:

    Kid vomited all over self, me.

  2. sumarie says:

    Don’t give her the ’strong’ mushrooms!

  3. sumarie says:

    The princess of the youth hostel.

  4. sumarie says:

    Chestnuts smelled better than they tasted.

  5. sumarie says:

    Chocolate and lace in Brugge, Belgium.

  6. sumarie says:

    Walked Champs-Elysees in GORGEOUS shoes. OUCH!

  7. sumarie says:

    Nobody knew where the Louvre was. ;)

  8. sumarie says:

    Engagement born at Colosseum ended sadly.

  9. sumarie says:

    Learned truth about kilts in Paris!

  10. Wench says:

    Always left New York less alive.

  11. D.C. says:

    Declined camels; climbed Sinai on foot.

  12. echolt says:

    fantasy fest, mobile works of art

  13. Joe_Patrick says:

    Hello Tijuana! Shit… Federales! Hello America!

  14. Rachel says:

    Friends got bedbugs; I got Irishman.

  15. Voodoo-Lady says:

    Married in Vegas, advise against it.

  16. Voodoo-Lady says:

    His kid whined the whole vacation.

  17. Voodoo-Lady says:

    Perfect snowboard trip, until smashed knee.

  18. Voodoo-Lady says:

    Learned about face in Wyoming heat.

  19. Voodoo-Lady says:

    Stone presidents. Stone heart. Stole stones.

  20. Voodoo-Lady says:

    Skipping skiing for son’s first Disneyland.

  21. Voodoo-Lady says:

    Camped in tent with hot stranger.

  22. Voodoo-Lady says:

    Hiking in Colorado Rockies, got lost.

  23. D.C. says:

    Spain: Not for the salad lover.

  24. D.C. says:

    Turkey was essentially Greece on sale.

  25. Rosally says:

    The pleasure lies in the discovery.

  26. Kevin Hogan says:

    Left passport in the pub occifer.

  27. David Dreher says:

    I’m charged to LEAVE your country?

  28. Julie says:

    Leaves gorgeous last week; gone now.

  29. Jace Albao says:

    A mile high might be exaggerating.

  30. Marcus Eder says:

    my dreams diminished within a pint

  31. Marcus Eder says:

    Suddenly I had the foreign accent

  32. Marcus Eder says:

    got lost in adventure–found myself

  33. Tanja Cilia says:

    It was uphill all the way.

  34. Tanja Cilia says:

    He came, he saw, I conquered.

  35. Tanja Cilia says:

    The Mediterranean Sea cured her schizophrenia.

  36. Tanja Cilia says:

    She had to learn bungee jumping.

  37. Tanja Cilia says:

    Hercules visited Gozo; so did I.

  38. Tanja Cilia says:

    My staycation was better than travelling.

  39. Tanja Cilia says:

    Bitten by crocodile in the Nile.

  40. Tanja Cilia says:

    Valletta, built by gentlemen for gentlemen.

  41. Rachel says:

    Hell yeah, Jace!

  42. Tanja Cilia says:

    Heathrow Airport lost all my luggage.

  43. Tanja Cilia says:

    Turkey was probably dipped in Greece.

  44. Tanja Cilia says:

    I lived to write about it.

  45. Tanja Cilia says:

    Once bitten, twice shy, thrice reckles.

  46. Jen says:

    In India, everything white turned brown.

  47. Kim says:

    Female Camper: Did you hear that?

  48. Kim says:

    Morning: 5 degrees Afternoon: 85 degrees

  49. javajanis says:

    Ran out of money too soon!

  50. Preeti says:

    For your eyes pleasure!!

  51. GottaLoveNYLori says:

    Drank the water. Waiters with mops.

  52. Sarah says:

    Ashram with Swami Snatcha-your-wallet.

  53. AuroraLee says:

    Culture and beauty around every corner.

  54. AuroraLee says:

    -45C… and me in my lean-to.

  55. snidely says:

    I’ll never eat guinea pig again.

  56. Tanja Cilia says:

    Mosquito bit me; I nearly died.

  57. Tanja Cilia says:

    Frogs’ legs taste like chicken, almost.

  58. Tanja Cilia says:

    Did you ever eat termite patties?

  59. Tanja Cilia says:

    Cow dung makes good emergency fuel!

  60. Tanja Cilia says:

    The Voodoo Princess didn’t like me.

  61. Tanja Cilia says:

    Dived for sea urchins in Australia!

  62. Tanja Cilia says:

    All roads lead to Rome. Not.

  63. Tanja Cilia says:

    My postacards arrived after my return.

  64. Vivian_Crosswhite says:

    Last day in Jamaica, terrible diarrhea.

  65. Kim@Galavanting says:

    Black mold, expensive, scary hotel, Milan.

  66. Luis says:

    Freezing overnight layover at Chicago Airport

  67. Miss Expatria says:

    She didn’t believe in time zones.

  68. Shane says:

    Taxi ride Japan: Head gets slammed!

  69. ????? (Jason) says:

    Baggage went to Tokyo, I didn’t.

  70. Susan Breeden says:

    Restrooms in Moscow? No toilet paper.

  71. Susan Breeden says:

    “Gambled” in Vegas. Got strep throat.

  72. Susan Breeden says:

    Accidentally drank the water in Mexico.

  73. Megan says:

    Midwesterner stupidly, rapidly descends Alpine mountain.

  74. The Purple Passport (Jenn) says:

    Vomiting 7 hours in airplane bathroom

  75. The Purple Passport (Jenn) says:

    Full iPhone stolen off table, Starbucks

  76. Chris says:

    Swedish airline stewardess, some rumors true.

  77. Melissa says:

    Tube: Sat in Homeless Woman’s Pee.

  78. Chris says:

    Two thumbs, one hand, unforgettable handshake

  79. TravelsWithTwo says:

    I fell into the Ligurian Sea.

  80. Gail says:

    Afraid to fly, stuck at home.

  81. Gail says:

    Got sun poisoning on my honeymoon.

  82. Lauren says:

    Jewish girl celebrates Hindu holiday, London

  83. Kirsti says:

    Sat naked with strangers in Finland.

  84. Mark says:

    Mont Blanc September, spooked by wolves…

  85. Scott says:

    Vegetarian nightmare. Spain is con jamon.

  86. Scott says:

    Scottish food. Don’t need more words.

  87. Scott says:

    New Kazakhstan. I need a visa??

  88. Scott says:

    Toledo plaque: Jew-free since 1492

  89. Scott says:

    Walked off map, not Bogie’s Casablanca

  90. Scott says:

    Argumentative driver returns me to cabstand

  91. Julie says:

    he threw up the monkey’s brains

  92. Scott says:

    But.. European water should be safe

  93. Julie says:

    we now appreciate a toilet seat

  94. Julie says:

    it all looks better in retrospect

  95. Julie says:

    The IRA mortared the Heathrow runway

  96. Julie says:

    military jets over the redneck riviera

  97. Christie Bundy says:

    Taft, California oh why God why?

  98. Christie Bundy says:

    St George Utah poor man’s Sedona

  99. Christie Bundy says:

    Gallup New Mexico Saturday Flea Market

  100. Christie Bundy says:

    During our trip divorce became imminent

  101. Christie Bundy says:

    Wrong travel companions very big deal!

  102. Christie Bundy says:

    Bear’s hot breath-pee stained tent.

  103. Christie Bundy says:

    Good on paper-disaster in reality.

  104. Christie Bundy says:

    Didn’t drink water - got sick anyway!

  105. Christie Bundy says:

    Snow in September? Who would guess…

  106. Christie Bundy says:

    Shorts not good in the snow.

  107. Christie Bundy says:

    Camping sucks! Hard ground, ubiquitous dirt.

  108. Stephanie Marcellin says:

    Can’t pronounce it? Don’t eat it.

  109. Stephanie Marcellin says:

    Important advice, ignored: Last. Train.

  110. Stephanie Marcellin says:

    What do you mean, cash only?

  111. Stephanie Marcellin says:

    Sometimes ’speaking the language’ is overrated.

  112. Stephanie Marcellin says:

    Strip searches: more common than advertised.

  113. Stephanie Marcellin says:

    Drunken men. Skirt. Train. Winning combo.

  114. Beryl Singleton Bissell says:

    Warning! Don’t travel with my sister-in-law

  115. Stealthnerd says:

    Lapped by old-lady hiker. Twice.

  116. Melanie Summers says:

    Two months: Europe. Nine months: souvenir.

  117. pranksteress says:

    The airline lost the elephant’s trunk.

    (classic John Prine line from 6-word story song title:
    “Sabu Visits the Twin Cities Alone”)

  118. pranksteress says:

    Post-Costa Rica, never saw him again.

  119. pranksteress says:

    Two weeks was not long enough.

  120. pranksteress says:

    Got pictures to prove the memories!

  121. deb says:

    Blood on coffee table. Death hotel?

  122. Sue B. says:

    Spent Cancun honeymoon tethered to toilet…

  123. Sue B. says:

    Florida’s drought ended while vacationing there!

  124. Sue B. says:

    Hair dryer caused Prague hotel’s blackout!

  125. Christie Bundy says:

    Too many spiders - checked out early!

  126. Lyra H says:

    Standby produced zip; broke hostess gift.

  127. AnnieStone says:

    Vienna Like Time Traveling to 1939

  128. Tim Hamilton says:

    Travel companion drama queen. Friendship over.

  129. Cat Garza says:

    A honeymoon in London completely alone.

  130. Therese says:

    Seventeen: Kissed Canadian stranger in London.

  131. Natasha says:

    Star gazed at the Big Moon

  132. Natasha says:

    Montana is broke back heart-break!

  133. Natasha says:

    she looks so peaceful in valley

  134. Natasha says:

    Camping near ocean, still no waves.

  135. Natasha says:

    Loved the sight of children playing!

  136. Albert Pope says:

    Sleep on the floor; who cares?

  137. Marcia Gaye says:

    Curvy roads never fail; nausea, vomiting.

  138. Marcia Gaye says:

    Scotland is just a bagpipe dream.

  139. gabby says:

    Coach middle seat: Buenos Aires to Miami.

  140. gabby says:

    Coach middle seat: Seoul to Sydney

  141. Lola A says:

    African child beholds great white Arctic

  142. Katy Gunn says:

    This was not in the brochure.

  143. Katy Gunn says:

    Two-week double-date with parents, bad idea.

  144. Katy Gunn says:

    Grandma was right about the water.

  145. Vinnie Costa says:

    Cuy ruined ruins, Peruvian memories: Vomit.

  146. Vinnie Costa says:

    Under Armour, not for the hirsute.

  147. Chris Bancells says:

    I think it’s haunted, she said.

  148. Nita T says:

    Mexico’s gift… purge simultaniously both ends.

  149. gabby says:

    Lost weight due to exchange rate.

  150. cheerfulwoman says:

    Leningrad restaurant. Served a three-legged chicken.

  151. Sharon Michalove says:

    Campos. Ghetto. Traghetti. Torcello. Keep returning.

  152. Dorothy-parka says:

    Canadian police thought tic-tacs were drugs.

  153. mswordsmith says:

    Bedbugs, rive gauche hotel, Paris.

  154. mswordsmith says:

    (Revision) Bedbugs from rive gauche hotel, Paris

  155. Erin says:

    austria: hills not alive with music

  156. who-me? says:

    Off train; train left without me!

  157. Jeanette Cheezum says:

    I found my kidnapped daughter…in Tennessee.

  158. Litsa Dremousis says:

    Successful meetings, homemade Mallomars. Thanks, NYC.

  159. Litsa Dremousis says:

    Bled on hotel sheets. Tipped big.

  160. Litsa Dremousis says:

    Cabdriver in grip of satan or cocaine.

  161. Litsa Dremousis says:

    Guggenheim, egg rolls gave trip depth.

  162. BJ Bourg says:

    Pumped gas, paid for hose. Reckless!

  163. Matt Sullivan says:

    Not an Ugly American to everyone

  164. Andrea Dela Cruz says:

    Locked, penniless; Paid toilet in Amsterdam.

  165. @xdentalxtremist says:

    Face Down, Drain Ditch, in Togo

  166. Dana in the 904 says:

    Paradise found. Stress lost. Harmony restored.

  167. @xdentalxtremist says:

    Bribed by Gambian Frank Sinatra Wannabe

  168. @xdentalxtremist says:

    Nothing to Declare, sir. I swear.

  169. Jonathan Cockburn says:

    Body on beach wrecked our day

  170. niesgirl says:

    9 year old viewed hotel’s porn.

  171. mwschmeer says:

    Skipped the tour, ventured forth alone.

  172. Robin Claire says:

    Cockroaches and peeing outside, happy 21st!

    (in Senegal).

  173. DesRay says:

    Not speaking. Anniversary getaway didn’t help.

  174. Barbara Erefua Yanney says:

    Short London visit, met the Queen!

  175. Hanorah says:

    Our song played throughout Paris…relentless.

  176. Patricia Heery Mihalio says:

    China. Journey to create a family.

  177. Dena Rose says:

    Conductor yelled at baby’s spilled Cheerios.

    Brought what fit in duffel bag.

    Rode Greyhound, ate cheese and crackers.

  178. mia says:

    I forgot to “Mind the gap”.

  179. Cameron Vest says:

    Feels like I’m living “The Terminal”

  180. sheila says:

    pulled aside for secondary screening - twice !

  181. Jenny says:

    I never ran the naked mile.

  182. Jenny says:

    I know Roman from Gothic arches.

  183. Jenny says:

    Tried Guinness with blackcurrant in Killarney.

  184. Jenny says:

    Tucked a rosary into my carry-on.

  185. lynnnj says:

    Odd toilets all over the world

  186. lynnnj says:

    Recorded Tokyo business trip in haiku

  187. lynnnj says:

    Over the pole Newark to Singapore

  188. lynnnj says:

    Walked the Appian Way in Wisteriatime

  189. lynnnj says:

    Shoes got soaked in the Paris rain

  190. lynnnj says:

    Ate raclette in Evolene with friends

  191. lynnnj says:

    Drank many bottles 1966 Corton Charlemagne

  192. lynnnj says:

    Late due to vaporetto direction error

  193. Globey says:

    Live octopus for dinner– it sucked!

  194. kelly kreth says:

    In India, bad chicken, no bathroom.

  195. Annie Keller says:

    That German tree just bit me.

  196. lmommy says:

    topless in tarifa: ooh la la

  197. lmommy says:

    white-washed walls where we walked, wondering.

  198. lmommy says:

    post spanish gypsies, i line eyes.

  199. Vincent’sGoodEar says:

    Tunisian cuisine: French bread, German shepherd.

  200. Vincent’sGoodEar says:

    Bored picking Greek oranges. Climbed mountain.

  201. Vincent’sGoodEar says:

    In Moscow, KGB owned my hotel.

  202. Vincent’sGoodEar says:

    Nescafe and baklava - breakfast of champions.

  203. Vincent’sGoodEar says:

    Salerno, Christmas morning: calamari and firecrackers.

  204. Vincent’sGoodEar says:

    George the dog, friendly Mycenaean guide.

  205. Vincent’sGoodEar says:

    Carthage! Veni, Vidi, Dysentery.

  206. Vincent’sGoodEar says:

    American chameleon: “Don’t shoot, I’m Canadian.”

  207. Vincent’sGoodEar says:

    Know who else liked Muenchner bier?

  208. Vincent’sGoodEar says:

    “Deck Class” ticket: thrifty AND dangerous.

  209. Craig says:

    Bier, wine, & Obstler, don’t mix!

  210. Jeanette Cheezum says:

    We toured and made love world wide.

  211. physical therapy staffing says:


  212. Kris says:

    The Telephone by the Maternity Hospital

  213. Mimi says:

    Avoid the puke on Moscow Metro

  214. Everett says:

    Eight Hours Manila Airport with puppets

  215. Everett says:

    15 men 14 seats 24 hours

  216. Mimi says:

    Avoided RPGs eating MREs Baghdad airport

  217. Jim N says:

    Santo Domingo bus station - head injury

  218. Ahmed Wolslegel says:

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  219. Elle says:

    Far too late to participate in contest for books, but I’d love to leave mine as well…

    Picton. Strange acoustics betrayed shared shower.

  220. Elle says:

    Slept in Temple. Robbed. Got dengue.

  221. Elle says:

    Christmas alone in Mountain Emergency Shelter

  222. Elle says:

    Bagan. Hiking with aspie at 2am.

  223. Elle says:

    Partner abandons me near Chechnya’s border

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