Have You Ever Been Lost?
Behind Studio Doors
Our team travels a lot. Whether in their spare time or on shoot. And even for the most accustomed travellers, there is such a thing as taking a wrong turn. Getting lost also makes for great stories. Often lead by our curiosity, the outcome of getting lost is nearly always an unusual tale, a good memory or a lesson learned. We asked our team, have you ever been lost?
ABANDONED VILLAGES IN KAZAKHSTAN
In Kazakhstan, maps are forever changing and are not a reliable source to get your bearings and the road we were following on our roadtrip to get to our next destination was long. Luckily, we were told about a brand new shortcut road, but evidently it was not on maps yet. We decided to go for it as it would save us time but inevitably, we got lost. So lost that we came to an abandoned Soviet town which was quite unlike anything I’d ever seen. After driving down gravel tracks for what seemed like forever, we eventually came to the new road, freshly tarmacked. So freshly tarmacked, in fact, that it ended up spraying our car and getting clogged in the wheels. With the sun quickly setting, we found a spot to camp but only had half a bottle of water remaining. We used some to wash the tarmac off the car and the other drop that was left to make some soup as we were starving. It’s a shame our dinner got accidentally kicked over once ready, leaving us with nothing to eat at all. We survived the night though… Somehow!
LONE CENOTES IN MEXICO
Some friends and I were backpacking through Mexico and decided to skip the tour buses and instead hire some bikes to go visit the next town thinking it didn’t look that far. Our cycling mission was a success, however on the way back the heat was intense and progress was slow. We thought we were lost as there weren’t many signposts along this dusty road. Then we happened to see a small wooden sign, it had ‘cenote’ scrawled on it with an arrow pointing down a small track. We would never had noticed it if we weren’t lost and desperately searching for any indication of where we were. We spent a few moments deliberating, then decided we’d follow it. We discovered a small but deep cave opening with just a ladder. No one else was around and we had this mini cenote all to ourselves. Needless to say we stripped off and dived in! The water at the bottom was deep azure blue and we spent a few hours taking turns to jump into the cool water – it was quite high so it was so exhilarating and refreshing after our cycling! It’s one of my favourite discoveries and memories of the trip.
WRONG TURN IN THE MEDINA
Anyone who’s been to a Moroccan souk knows what a maze the small streets are. I was exploring Marrakech’s Medina one afternoon and amongst the busy, lively hustle and bustle, ceramics and beautiful carpet stalls, I had lost my sense of direction and my curiosity decided to take me on a left turn down a quieter alleyway. I walked about 20 metres and realised there was a reason no one was venturing down that alley as it must have been one of the few backstreets of the Medina where locals were slaughtering chickens… I carried on head down hoping the end of the alley would take me back to the carpet stalls, but it ended up being a cul de sac. I had to turn back the way I came, desperately trying to unsee what I’d witnessed. It will make me think twice about taking a different turn in an unknown city again…
HIKING IN OMAN
Freshly landed in Oman, we decided to go out and explore the mountains and take full advantage of the location by venturing out on a 45 minute walk. We were told to follow the yellow markers throughout the hike and that when we got to the wadi in the middle, we must take a left and go back on ourselves. When we got to the Wadi however, it wasn’t crystal clear which way to turn due to the position of the mountain! We picked wrong… The path took us on the advanced hike that turned our relaxing afternoon hike into the most stressful period of my life! We were literally 2000m high in the mountains and lost. There were no rails or means to climb through the mountains safely, the pathways were 30 cm wide max, there were wild animals prowling around, our water had run out, dizziness was kicking in on top of jet lag, there was no phone signal, blistering 32c heat and we were doing this hike after travelling 10 hours. After 2 hours, we got out of the mountains and came to an empty road!! We eventually made it back, heavily sunburnt and dehydrated but we laughed about it, having survived it together.
LOW ON FUEL IN ICELAND
On day 6 of our Icelandic roadtrip, we realised we were running low on petrol 3 hours away from our next accommodation in Hofsstaðir, a remote farmhouse in the middle of nowhere. In Iceland, they don’t have service stations around the ring road, nor do they have road signs to say how far the nearest petrol stop is, so we were Googling every upcoming town to see if there were service stations there. It was a Sunday at 6pm at this point and we drove into about 6 towns to find all petrol stations were closed. At one point our portable wifi device was running low on battery too so had to rely on patchy 3G signal. As the red ‘E’ symbol started flashing on the car dashboard so we decide to maintain a slow steady speed to the last town for 30 minutes praying the one petrol station on the map would be open. We arrived to find it was just 1 guy with 1 petrol tank and a pump and he was about to head home for the day. We filled up the car with a sigh of relief and continued onto Hofsstaðir Farmhouse where we relaxed in speedboats converted into hot tubs and a very large glass of wine.
BACKPACKING THROUGH VIETNAM
I was backpacking alone for the first time in Vietnam and had just been on a night bus. As I stepped off – tired, confused and seemingly alone, I realised I had gotten off at the wrong stop. As the penny dropped, I caught sight of a Swedish girl my age – also alone, tired and confused – getting on the back of a dodgy looking motorbike. I called after her, saying I didn’t think it was a good idea. She smiled and hopped off and from that point we travelled for two weeks together – learning how to do ‘backpacking’ together.
CHASED BY DOGS IN CHILE
In Santiago there’s a hill that gives you a beautiful view of the whole city and is buzzing with tourists and lycra-clad runners gulping protein shakes. As a challenge to myself, I decided to find the longer, less straight-forward path back down. It didn’t look as “defined” as the other path and there weren’t any other people taking that route, but I thought it was just because it was a little more off-road. Walking along, I did notice there was a lack of fence between myself and the sheer drop and thought it seemed a bit “relaxed” and – come to think of it – I did see a lot of signs but they were all in Spanish and I didn’t know what they meant. As I became aware I shouldn’t really be on this path, I had been walking for about an hour and was very lost. I came across some wooden sheds where 4 dogs ran out barking. With nothing between me and them, not even a fence, I honestly thought that was how I would die. One of them was comically tiny but the rest were quite big. I ran away from them in another direction and came across some teenagers who were using the path as a spot to smoke some weed and listen to hip hop. I tried to ask for directions in broken Spanish and they wanted me to take pictures of them as a group. After a few selfies taken together, they pointed me in the right direction and I walked back to the city. It was a great day.
LOST IN THE RICE FIELDS OF BALI
In September last year I went on a solo trip to Bali. Having not moved beyond the idyllic confines of my yoga retreat for the first two days, on day three I decided to imbibe my adventurous spirit and head out exploring. I followed what I thought was the classic ridge trail around Ubud, but soon found that I’d headed down a stray path. After about half an hour, the emerald green paddy fields had dissolved in the distance, replaced only by rickety shacks and confused faces at my presence in such an area. I ended up asking for a lift home from a passing moped driver, who promptly spat in my face and told me to ‘f**** off’. Moral of the story – don’t stray too far from the path.
PIRANHA FISHING IN THE AMAZON
I’d gone into the Amazon in Ecuador with a simple goal of catching a piranha. After several fishing trips and no piranha, it was time to head back to the city, but I had missed my bus and while looking for another way back, I came across a place called Panacocha, literally meaning “piranha lake”. I befriended some locals there who happened to have a boat and fishing equipment and persuaded them to take me fishing. Again, we failed to catch any piranhas, but on the way back we stopped at one of their houses. The kitchen was stilted over the river, so from the kitchen I threw in a hook and line, with some meat as bait. I got a bite almost immediately and pulled in my first piranha, which immediately went into the frying pan – satisfying and delicious!
SLIPPERY SLOPES IN MONTENEGRO
For years I had obsessed over visiting Montenegro, particularly the north side. One morning we set out to climb Bobotov Kuk, the country’s highest peak that is still covered in snow in early June. But without proper equipment this isn’t something that is encouraged, so we decided to try another route instead. We got to the mountain peak that gave us a perfect view of Bobotuv Kuk and never met anyone along the way – it truly felt like we were on our own. We decided it was time to start the climb down, as the clouds were getting thicker and a few showers suggested it wasn’t going to clear up any time soon. Upon the recommendation of passing hikers, we took a different route down. Only about ten minutes later we hit our first challenge – the slope was steep and fully covered in slippery snow. We had to grab the ground and the bushes along the way. Once we finally reached a plateau and looked back, we couldn’t believe we had managed to get down safely. Little did we know, it was only the beginning. Somewhere along the way we must have taken a wrong turn (most of the signposts were still hidden under the snow). What followed were hours under pouring rain with no visibility trying to navigate our way down, going across and down the slopes that were so steep we couldn’t see the bottom of them. The kind of views you’d never tell your parents about. Eventually we made it to the road, soaking wet and we had another couple of hours of trekking to our car. Luckily, we got picked up by a kind man who didn’t ask a single question.