If you’re a realist, you’ll agree with me when I say there’s an ominous fear that comes from things going too well in your life.
Sure, you’re happy. You got a new opportunity at work, you just reached six months with the person you’re still not sick of yet, and maybe, if things are going really well, your family finally got (some of) their shit together.
These are all reasons to be over the moon. But the possibility of the dark side prevailing usually brings you back down to earth, reminding you that at any moment, all of the joy can be halted faster than you can say *it was just starting to get good.*
Critical side note: Queen of the year, Cardi B, even mentioned said fear once on her Instagram. Clearly, this is a true phenomenon.
Recently, I’ve noticed the exact same rule applies for travels.
It hit me that the cynicism I’ve kept quiet for years in my mind seeped over into my reality through my travels. But here’s the catch: it comes in the form of the last day curse.
When Iceland got icy.
Finally, it was time for me to check Iceland off my imaginary “must see” list. It’s imaginary because I don’t like the idea that we confine ourselves to a “holy crap, if I don’t see all of these places, I’ve failed” list to begin with. Does that mean any place you visit that didn’t make it on your list doesn’t matter, or the ones that happened to be on your list mattered anymore? No. So drop the condescending lists people.
But for the sake of you understanding that I would’ve put Iceland on top of the list if I had one, let’s imagine I have my imaginary list in hand.
Iceland was about to be checked off.
Damon, my best friend Paige, and I all decided to commit to four days and three nights roaming, basically plan free in the very green Iceland.
Let me be upfront: we didn’t plan a thing until two days before the trip. For some reason, we’ve started to bypass the stress phase in the travel process. We go from desire, to booking, and land straight in the showing up part. (Flash forward and our lack of planning meant we didn’t even get to see the Blue Lagoon because it was sold out – dummies).
There we were. The newly formed three amigos, not a care in the world, and no expectations in mind.
In short, the trip was epic. Unexpectedly, the happiest three days I’ve experienced abroad in a while. We took naps so smooth they put butter to shame. We cackled laughing at everything from the fart smelling sulphur-heated water, to how we spent $20 for an unimpressive bowl of stew. We spent a full 72 hours gushing about how great of a time we were having. The most time we all spent not complaining (probably in our adult lives, if we’re being real).
It was the best of times. Until it was the worst of times.
All the genuine happiness from letting my eyes feast on the lush panoramic views of the country, coupled with great company must have disengaged my cynical alarm. I was vulnerable to falling into the trap. We all know that when things are great, we should brace ourselves for the impending shit storm headed directly towards us.
And when it rained it poured.
Things took a twist on the very last day when I was on bathroom watch duty. Let me explain.
We’d rented a farmhouse that was essentially the last, and fifth house in a rural Icelandic village. For acres and acres we were the only house in sight.
As if realizing the nearest police station was a brief hour and a half away wasn’t enough to scare the crap out of us, the house turned out to be completely haunted. We experienced everything from chills, pushes down stairs, scary dog barks at three AM, when there was no dog outside, to what I’m about to describe to you next.
In a comedic way, Paige had asked me to stand outside of the bathroom while she handled her business. I agreed, because the girl was turning yellow with fear, or from holding it in for so many hours until we were all awake and able to stand outside the bathroom while she did her thing. I took a seat in the creepy sitting room that could’ve easily been part of the Exorcist set. Dusty paintings of houses that looked like children were trapped inside, bizarre taxonomy, and a couch that looked like it belonged in the 1800s. I opted out of being swallowed into the couch with the rest of the souls, and sat on the cement stairs by the front door. I was just far enough from the bathroom, and extra bedroom door where I could still see what was happening if Paige needed me, but still be able to get the hell out of there.
Fear aside, I started scrolling down my Instagram feed. About thirty seconds in, I hear what sounds like Paige trying to unlock the bathroom door to get out. I ignore the first 10 seconds, assuming she’d be coming out, or adjusting the lock. Until I hear, “Jojo, is that you?” I look up, and am HORRIFIED when I see the bedroom door adjacent to the bathroom Paige was in, was now shaking at its hinges. The door was closed (which, by the way, none of us remember closing the door), but looked like someone was trapped inside, trying to open the door to come out.
“NOOOOO, get out of there!” I screamed to Paige.
Goosebumps decorated my skin, and my heart rate accelerated. Paige runs out, pants half buttoned and we both looked at the door, which was still moving by the way, and freaked out telling Damon to come and see.
All three amigos witnessed the door shaking, and decided to get the hell out of the haunted house because we’d clearly overstayed our welcome. On the way out, we calmed down a bit and thought, maybe the shaking was happening because a window was opened in the room, and a gust of wind just pushed the door.
To seal the deal on how horrifying the experience was, we drove to the back of the house to see… there were no windows in that room.
As if the haunted house scare wasn’t enough, we arrived at the airport to return our rental car to be told we were getting charged $400 for a scratch underneath the car. I brought out my bo$$ lady speak and told them we refused to pay that much for something that small. Essentially, we caused a scene, but they have yet to charge our credit cards. PSA: use the mirrors given at a car rental establishment to check underneath your car before they try to get you with this.
Not to mention the fact the flight from Iceland to Paris was the closest we’d ever come to death by plane crash. First, there was a terrorism scare where the police came on and kicked off three passengers. Then, while landing, not only was there severe turbulence, but we had a fake-out landing. We were ten minutes away from landing when the plane started taking off again, full speed upwards into thick gray clouds. Damon and I were one step away from bracing for impact, and the man behind me had to use my barf bag. I let him keep it.
Don’t mess with me in Marrakech
Here’s another instance where the last day curse was in full effect. Damon and I had spent five days roaming the ancient, yet colorful streets of the Medina in Marrakech. Despite being in North Africa, the temperature throughout the week was better than expected. The sweat levels were kept at a minimum. For once.
That was until, you guessed it, the last day.
It was a shitty scorcher. The kind of days you feel your eyebrow hairs heat up against your skin, and the kind of day you’ll need to buy a foundation three shades darker just for your forehead. Or maybe that’s just me and my fivehead.
Regardless, Damon and I agreed that it was swamp booty weather. While doing what we’d done the entire week, roam without a clear destination in mind, we were approached by a man with spiky hair, an Ed Hardy knock off shirt, and a little too much arrogance. We aggressively denied his creepy requests for a tour, and massages, and my evil eyes clearly weren’t enough to deter him from doing what he did next.
Homie thought it was ok to touch my butt.
“Excuse me, don’t you dare touch me!” I screamed and almost caused a scene.
Of course, it had to be on the last day.
Slightly thrown off balance post butt-touch, we kept walking through the souks, or street markets, in hopes of spending our last Dirhams on something more than cheap souvenirs. We’d taken a Moroccan Arabic class the day before, and were well equipped to have a basic conversation, and even tell a vendor that their price was way too high, and for them to lower it.
We were swayed into a small shop filled with silver and bronze dishes by a seemingly personable vendor. He smiled at us when we started using our basic Arabic to warm him up for the bartering portion of our conversation. Because in Morocco, nothing really has a price. It’s created on the spot depending on who you are, and how much the vendor vibes with you.
He quotes us more than any vendor had for these tiny silver coasters – so random. I put another item on teh counter, as he insisted, in hopes we could lower the overall total, and homie tripled the price. We used our cute faces, and not-so-cute Arabic to keep him on our good side, until he basically exploded and started screaming that the prices we were quoting him weren’t fair.
We calmingly walked out of the store, and he almost chased us out screaming for us to come back, as if he was an emotional teenage girl going through a break up. As my stepfather always says, “My name is Wes, and I ain’t in that mess.” Wes always comes in handy for moments like this.
And as a parting gift from our good friend, Last Day Curse, on the way out of our Riad, or traditional Moroccan hotel, Damon accidentally broke a Tajine dish in the lobby which we had to pay for. Clearly, they hustled us and charged us almost three times what it actually cost.
Our little friend in London
While London’s last day curse didn’t come as aggressively as the ones in Iceland, and in Morocco, there was a tiny incident that took place on the last day. First of all, can I just say I love this city? It’s like a more functional New York City. Cleaner, more parks, and overall a little more pleasant. And while big rats greet you as you get on the 2/3 train station platform in Midtown Manhattan, I hadn’t even ever seen a rodent in the Tube, their metro system. That was of course, until the last day.
I was even being a good citizen throwing out a cup of coffee when a ninja-like mouse sprinted from behind the “litter bin” almost running directly over my feet. With a jolt, Damon and I both looked at each other and laughed.
That’s the last day curse for you.
Have any last day curse stories? Comment them below!