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Ian MacKenzie’s World Worsts


Name Ian MacKenzie
Who? Founder and editor of the popular online travel magazine Brave New Traveler. Also director of the upcoming inspirational doc One Week Job.
Countries Visited 17
Age 28

Titanic Nominations
1. Worst Boat Ride Mekong river, Thailand to Laos.  I was crammed onto a rickety wooden craft that was too small to stand up. Instead, I huddled on my painful wooden bench for 11 hours and drank my aches away with Beer Lao.
2. Worst Hostel Laos. My girlfriend and I were stopped for the night (after our horrendous boat ride) and ended up at the rattiest hostel imaginable. Our bed sheets featured colorful dolphins, which helped the suspicious stains to blend in. Also, the hostel rules were spray painted on the wall.  Classy.
3. Worst Sunburn A friend and I went surfing in Wollongong, Australia. The day was heavily clouded, so I skipped the sunscreen, donned a wetsuit and hit the waves.  A few hours later, I was too busy surfing to realize when the sun came out.  At the end of the day, we paddled in, ditched our wetsuits, and dryed off… in the sun. Because I’d had a wetsuit, it felt like I was feeling the sun for the first time.  After dark… that’s when my face began to throb.  It gradually felt so burned it was ice cold.  Unbelievably painful.  I couldn’t sleep for a week.  A week after that, my entire face peeled off – I felt like Tom Cruise pulling off a disguise in Mission Impossible.
4. Worst Airline United. In 2007, my wife and I flew two flights each way down to Costa Rica, and every single time something was wrong with the plane.  The air conditioner was busted.  The doors weren’t securing properly. The power was failing when we taxied out to the runway. All I can say… never again.
5. Worst Souvenir It was a souvenir bought by a friend in Germany. She forgot about it and packed it in her checked baggage.  We were in the lounge, waiting for our flight, when the loudspeaker comes on and asks that she come to the security area.  We get there and they ask her if she has anything sharp in her bag. She replies, “I don’t think so”  and the security guard pulls out a three -foot ceremonial blade she’d bought from a medieval tourist shop.  “Oh yeah!” she says. “I forgot about that…”  The guard wasn’t amused.

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Famous Travelers

  1. August 7th, 2009 at 03:10 | #1

    Oh, I’ve had that sunburn. I’d have gone to a hospital if I hadn’t been in a third world country. SO painful!!!

    Love the spraypainted rules in the hostel- too funny!

  2. August 23rd, 2009 at 16:56 | #2

    Re-reading this it sounds like I’m down on Laos, but it’s actually one of my favourite countries…

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