A young woman and her mother backpacked across Australia for two weeks because they were cheated by an unscrupulous travel agency.
Elsewhere, a boy became stranded on an empty street in the wee hours of the morning because he had taken the wrong bus to Kuala Lipis (Pahang), instead of Kuala Lumpur.
Then there's the sulking wife who left her husband behind at home after a heated argument and travelled to northern Malaysia with her toddler child in tow, just to let off steam. She was then stuck in an eight-hour traffic jam along the highway on the drive back home to KL.
The aforementioned scenarios are just some of the zaniest road trip tales that were shared by Malaysians on Twitter recently.
And it all started with a relatively unassuming tweet from Puteri Nuraaina Balqis Mohd Asri, also known by her Twitter handle @ayyputeri.
On July 19, the 26-year-old media executive from Taiping, Perak, posted the following tweet:
Share with me your craziest road trip experience please!— Puteri N. Balqis (@ayyputeri) July 19, 2021
The tweet immediately went viral, with many people replying with their wildest travel experiences. The tweet has garnered over hundreds of replies, including those from international travellers at press time.
Puteri Nuraaina says the tweet was inspired by a conversation she had with a friend.
"I had a conversation with my best friend the night before (I sent out the tweet) about our travelling experiences... and I kind of miss travelling too," she says in an interview.
The next morning, Puteri Nuraaina suddenly recalled a crazy day trip experience to Kuala Terengganu for a friend's convocation ceremony.
Curious to know about others' travel experiences, she posted the tweet in the afternoon.
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On the reason behind her tweet going viral, Puteri Nuraaina thinks it's because it triggered the suppressed wanderlust among people amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
"Since we can't travel these days, perhaps reminiscing past travel experiences puts us in a good mood. And to some point, (we) hope that we can travel again soon," she says, adding that many would have had good memories despite their travel mishaps.
In this period when Malaysians can't travel, Puteri Nuraaina believes that sharing their past travel stories can help people cope with being stuck at home.
I think it does serve as a coping mechanism. It was a good time for a lot of people, and road trips are all special in their own way," she says.
Merajuk dengan husband. Without informing, keluar rumah bawak our 2yo toddler [then still exclusively breastfed] jalan2 Penang, Taiping & Tambun Water Park [4 days]. Balik KL stuck in 8 hour jam from Ipoh listening to Paloma Faith [Only Love Can Hurt Like This] crying non-stop.— Auntie Fruitcake Maryam (@fairylightson) July 19, 2021
Going down memory lane, according to psychology experts, can calm people down. There has been evidence that showed the calming power of thinking about good times.
In a 2017 study, Rutgers University researchers Mauricio Delgado and Megan Speermade made 134 volunteers feel stressed by filming them while they plunged their hands into icy water.
Some then spent 14 seconds thinking about a positive experience (such as a holiday) while others reflected on an emotionally neutral event.
The group who had recalled happy memories felt better. The expected rise in the level of their stress hormone – cortisol – was minimal.
"Recalling happy memories elicits positive feelings and enhances one’s wellbeing, suggesting a potential adaptive function in using this strategy for coping with stress," the researchers say.
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For many people, travel mishaps – more than serving as cautionary tales – is something that they look back at with fond memory.
"The lesson that we got, and memories that we created; they are integral to us in some sense. They make us feel hopeful and if anything, make us want to do our best to get over of this phase too," Puteri Nuraaina shares.
And if the replies to her original tweet is any indication, travellers are certainly looking back at their holiday experiences – both good and bad – in a humorous light.
Road trip ke 12 road apostle, tertinggal dompet kat McD, tersalah airport, tersalah jalan ke hostel, Kete sewa kena saman sebab lebih masa parking kat CBD,tertinggal fon time nak pulanglan kete sewa, mcm masuk Amazing Race— PM Wan (@YangJualTakaful) July 19, 2021
One of them is Twitter user @Neeruzaharas who looked back at a trip gone wrong.
"Went to Kuantan alone for my friend's family wedding. Arrived Kuantan with no phone battery. Had only less than RM150 in hand and I managed to connect the USB power on my car although the wire was spoiled. Overall it was a trip I can never forget," she says.
Another user, @Syasyasmsr, shared how she got lost during a road trip with her university course mates. To make matters worse, their car ran out of fuel along the highway.
It's a memory that will remain forever in her heart, she says.
Puteri Nuraaina is glad that her tweet has sparked this wonderful conversation on social media during a time when tourism activities are still not allowed in Malaysia.
She is, however, hopeful that things will get better again and is counting down the days to her first holiday once we are allowed to (most likely in Phase 4 of the National Recovery Plan).
"I talk about future travelling plans with my best friend a lot, and sometimes I randomly survey hotels prices for future stays. I can't wait for the borders to reopen. Ipoh would be my first destination.
"I know it's quite a bleak time with the rising cases and all, but our vaccination rate escalates too and, fingers crossed, we will all be roaming free once again," she concludes.