We at Jetsetter may be seasoned travelers, but that doesn’t mean we don’t do some crazy sh-t every once in awhile. From buying a one-way ticket to Europe to skydiving in New Zealand, here are our most spontaneous, surprising, (and sometimes scary) adventures abroad.
That time we took an unplanned honeymoon to Brazil
For our honeymoon, my husband and I decided to wing it on a trip to Brazil for three weeks. We only had our first night booked—and the rest was completely spontaneous. We ended up jumping from Rio to Búzios to Salvador to Itacaré and back. Naturally, there were some mishaps like when we ended up staying in a windowless room (with some surprise creepy crawly visitors) because we couldn't find a decent hotel. But overall, I had the time of my life
— Clara Sedlak, Executive Editor
That time we came face to face with a leopard in India
On a month-long solo trip through India, I had a rather close encounter with a feline. I was in Rajasthan traveling between Pushkar and Ranakpur with a local guide, when he suggested trekking to a hidden temple in the Aravalli mountain range. He whisked gracefully—as graceful as one can get with a machete—through the thick brush until we were deep in the jungle. Suddenly, he stopped me, motioned for silence, and pointed. I held my breath, as just ahead, a leopard skulked across our path. Finally, after what felt like forever (in reality, only a few heart-stopping seconds), the leopard dashed off and we continued onto the temple, where I received a Bindi blessing—my reward for surviving a “near-tragic” big cat attack.
— April Ellis, Senior Photo Editor
That time we went on a last-minute trip to Malaysia
I moved to New York straight out of college and basically as broke as a human can possibly be (yay, student loan debt!). The little savings I did have I ended up blowing almost immediately with rent, utilities, food, and subway cards. Then, in the middle of my never-ending job hunt, I got a completely last-second invite to go on a two-week, all-expenses-paid press trip to Malaysia. Before I even replied with a “HELL YES!” I was packing my bags and postponing my job search despite the fact that I could barely afford the taxi fare to and from JFK. Worth it.
— Chelsea Stuart, Editorial Intern
That time we bought a one-way ticket to Europe
In our early 20s, my sister and I lucked across plane tickets to London for under $250. We bought them on the spot, and a few weeks later we were on a one-way flight with no return date in mind—just a loose itinerary, a backpack, and a Eurail pass. For two months, we traveled across the continent to England, Spain, France, Germany, Switzerland, Italy and the Czech-Republic. Many swims in the Mediterranean, a trek through the Swiss Alps, two hospital visits, and an Oktoberfest later, we returned to the U.S. happy and full of treasured memories.
— Gretchen Moosbrugger, Photo Editor
That time we got seasick in Kauai
I left planning a sailboat tour of Hawaii’s Nepali Coast to the very last minute, so the only availability the tour group had left was on a day when there were 35 knot winds and rough surf—a recipe for disaster for this girl’s weak stomach. Still, I was super keen on seeing the coastline, so I signed up, buying several packets of Gravol as a precaution. Sure enough, 30 minutes in, I was bent over the side of the boat, vomiting into the ocean as we bobbed up and down through crazy waves. This continued for about an hour and a half. I have to say, however, that the experience was well worth it once the drugs kicked in and I was able to enjoy the scenery.
— Siobhan Reid, Writer
That time we dropped everything to travel for a month
Anyone who knows me can tell you that I hate saying no. Call it FOMO, traveler’s envy, or what you will. But this past June, I accidentally booked every week full of trips. Bridesmaid for a friend’s wedding in St. Louis? Sure. Four-day food tour of Mexico City? Why not. Last-minute girls weekend to a music festival? Let’s do it. In my haste to say yes, I never stopped to look at my schedule. So, I ended up eating my weight in Mexico City (even trying an insect menu with crickets, worms and ants) then flying back to NYC—on a Monday morning, no less—just to turn around the next day and dance it all off in Delaware at Firefly. No regrets.
— Chelsea Bengier, Editorial Assistant
That time we took travel to an extreme
I feel like my solo travels should have a disclaimer: Don’t try this at home. Once, I didn’t eat during an entire day of sightseeing in Stockholm just so I could have dinner at the most expensive restaurant in town. I also stayed up for 30+ hours during an odyssey to Australia’s Northern Territory, where I dropped my bags to go on a Sunset Tour, then pulled an all-nighter watching the stars just so I wouldn’t miss my alarm for the Sunrise Tour the next morning. People are most shocked, however, when they hear about the time I landed in Queenstown, New Zealand, walked straight to the Nzone Skydive center, and got right back in a plane before chucking myself out at 15,000 feet. I guess it’s just one of those things.
— Lindsey Olander, Editor
That time we traded pool time for zip-lining in Puerto Vallarta
On a family vacation in Mexico, my dad was perusing through tour pamphlets and found one titled “Vallarta Adventures” in big bold letters. So while my mom and sister were content lounging by pool with a cocktail (a tempting alternative, I might add), my dad and I set off to explore. Little did we know, it took a cab, a boat, an RV, and a trek atop mules to get up the foggy Sierra Madre mountains and to the first of a dozen or so zip lines that hurtle you all the way back down. The scariest part? We had to rappel down waterfalls, sliding down the rocks and falling off a cliff into the water below.
— Lauren Dishinger, Associate Photo Editor
That time we took a road trip... with a cat
A few summers ago, I decided to shoot a photography project about abandoned towns in upstate New York. It seemed like a great idea at the time. The hitch? I have a cat, Murphy, who goes bonkers if I’m not around for more than a few days at a time. In the interest of not skipping out on a great opportunity, I decided to bring him along. Aside from some confused meowing, sticking his head out the window like a dog, and shedding enough fur on the seats to make a second cat, Murphy turned out to be an excellent travel companion. Now I feel weird taking trips without him!
— Rebecca Enis, Photo Intern