It’s good to get out of your comfort zone, take some time away, see some new sights…sometimes, though, we get a bit more than we bargained for, and the cultural divide can seem huge.

These people stepped into situations they were not prepared for but at least if you read about what happened to them, you will be.

1. Eerie, for sure.

I was walking through a forest in central France when I came across a group of old style horse drawn Gypsy caravans in a clearing. They were obviously very old and looked like they had just been abandoned. There was a very eerie, unsettling feel to the place so I took a few photos and moved on.

A couple of days later I was talking to an old guy in the village and he explained that the Gypsies had been dragged from their wagons and m**rdered by the invading Nazis during WW2. Out of respect the surviving Gypsies in the region just left the caravans where they were.

2. I guess that’s how they handle problems there.

Cyprus in the mid nineties, I was 15 and on holiday with my parents.

I saw an old Cypriot guy getting beaten within an inch of his life by a young Russian guy, after a row over unpaid rent. As i understood it the Russian was renting an apartment of the victim.

Police promptly turned up and dragged the Russian guy into the nearest building.

The Cypriot guy was taken to hospital by ambulance and a short while later the Russian guy was brought out of the building on a stretcher and was also taken to hospital once the police had dealt with him.

3. He had a “reputation.”

Was in Serbia and my collegue i was there with and i had rented a car to go explore the beautiful country. We followed google maps but end up on a dirt road in some small village like area and and had to make a turn. It was heavily raining and we got the car stuck. We couldn’t get it unstuck on our own so we wanted to ask for help and as we approached the first nearby house a large dog came running out barking loudly and an elderly looking man came out with a rifle yelling at us in serbian.

We decided next house was a better bet and they were the kindest people on earth. We told them that we had tried the other house with no luck and they told us we were lucky to be alive. Appearantly the man had a reputation but they didn’t wanna to further into details.

No more dirt roads for me thanks.

4. A bit, yes.

In a small town in Korea, I saw two guys run out of a restaurant.

One of them was holding a 10 inch kitchen knife and shoved it into the other guy’s belly. The guy’s standing there holding the knife in his gut and an old lady comes out of the restaurant and starts hitting him in the head with her shoe.

Two other guys jumped on the stabber and held him on the ground. Ambulance came and loaded the stabbee and drove away, cops came and drove the stabber away, restaurant owner came out with a bucket of water and washed the blood off his steps.

Turned out it was a wedding party and there was a bit of a disagreement.

5. That’s a new one.

Sheep wearing plastic bags from the local store tied across their a$s.

Turned out to be sheep birth control. ???

Location: Faroe islands in the mid ’90s

6. Definitely don’t come out.

I was hearing an argument happen in an apartment complex between a couple, and then I heard a gunshot, and then silence.

This was in Venezuela.

7. That’s quite a greeting.

In Cambodia I got a ride from the airport to my hostel on a motorcycle. It became clear the driver was drunk. Once there I was offered a child p**stitute while waking down the street.

The next day at the k**ling fields, bones had unearthed themselves due to a recent rain. That was all in the first 24 hours. Not going back to Cambodia.

8. Well that’s a twist.

Was in Mexico City for a work assignment. Had just gone to dinner in the Zona Rosa (pink zone). Walking back to the hotel I saw a hit and run. A pedestrian was thrown thru the air and flung to the ground.

A lot of people witnessed this and an ambulance was called. The ambulance came screaming around the corner, going really fast, and hit another pedestrian. Who then was thrown thru the air and flung to the ground. It was awful.

9. Just…go with it?

i saw some guy get beaten and dragged away in front of club in spain.

it made me so uncomfortable and i didn’t know what to do.

then some people who were with the “beating the guy up” party came over and talked to us for a while.

i think because they could tell i was watching them. the french people i was with didn’t bat an eye.

just said “girl, it happens all the time”

10. I would never have gotten over this, honestly.

Back in 1978 when i was 10, i went to Jamaica with my Mom.

one morning after coming out of the British embassy, i saw four baby mongoose in a rain gully about 5 feet deep behind where we were waiting for a bus.

i thought they were adorable and started feeding them by throwing them biscuits.

Some guy saw me doing that, walked over and dropped a large brick on them k**ling them instantly. i was pretty inconsolable for several hours.

11. Sometimes you don’t want to know.

My mum was on one of the Spanish islands a few years ago for a family members hen party and she saw a guy get thrown out of club by a bouncer and bang his head on the floor and then a pool of blood formed.

She was so traumatized that she came home the next day.

She didn’t find out what happened to the guy.

12. I’m making a mental note.

I had a knife pulled on me in Germany by a couple of crackheads.

And in Thailand a tourist was smoking a joint on the police started beating the sh%t out of him.

Had an officer holding each arm and leg while another just kept jumping as high as he could and dropping knees onto the man’s face.

He started convulsing and foaming at the mouth so they threw him in the back of the police van and drove away.

13. So many stories.

I was in Rio de Janeiro in a taxi with a friend. We stopped at a stop sign at a busy intersection and two p**stitutes were soliciting themselves. Now, this all happened very quickly, but neither my friend nor I said anything, but the taxi driver told them to get lost. They kept soliciting themselves. The taxi driver told us not to open the doors or windows. The p**stitutes pulled out knives and started stabbing/slashing the taxi. The taxi driver pulled out in front of traffic to get away from the situation, but thankfully we didn’t get into a car accident.

In Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, my (ex)girlfriend and I hired a driver. We went to a marketplace and the driver informed us it wasn’t the safest place, so he would walk a few meters behind us and observe. Not 5 minutes in and he grabbed us by the arms and said “Don’t turn around, don’t react, I’m going to guide us out.” After getting into the car, we asked what was up. It took several times of asking until he finally said that there was a group of older boys following us with knives and he wouldn’t say anything else.

In Jerusalem myself, a friend, and family experienced a situation that only 4 of us and the tour guide could understand. There was an announcement in Hebrew at the Wailing Wall that a backpack was left unattended. No one was allowed to enter or leave until the bomb squad came and inspected it. Turned out to be a backpack a kid left on accident, but the majority of our group had no clue what was happening until after it was all over.

14. Thanks for the head’s up?

The guy that flashed my friends and I in a very nice park in central Europe. We were having a picnic.

He was very polite about it, saying “Excuse me girls, I’m just going to masturbate in front of you.” And then did so.

15. Not such a fine morning.

I unknowingly booked a hotel a block from the red light district in Paris, once I figured that out I tried not to return too late to my room. The next morning I was so energized and enthused to begin my vacation I threw open my window to greet the day, only to see… the police scraping someone off the road. I wasn’t that high up so it was the first time I saw something so grizzly.

It was definitely m**der. They definitely used a knife.

16. How terrifying.

In the middle of the winter, flying back to Canada, from a Caribbean Island.

A middle age man was ready to board the plane with a very thin teenage girl wearing flip flops, shorts and a poncho.

The girl had a shaved head, the man wouldn’t let go of her, she was staring at the floor he entire time, everything looked just odd.

The flight attendants were doing all sorts of delaying manoeuvres. My family and I were late and boarded right after them. Before the flight took off, the police came into the plane and started asking questions, and took the man and girl off the plane. The girl didn’t speak any English, Spanish or French.

I’m convinced that the airline personnel saved a girl being trafficked into Canada.

17. Now we’re all rooting for him.

6 year old kid selling sweets on the streets in Brazil. Spent some time talking to him. His parents had convinced him that school was for suckers and that he wouldn’t like it. So sad to see. This kid was full of charisma, well spoken and clearly intelligent even though he couldn’t read or write. Such a waste of potential.

Really hope he gets an education at some point and gets to so something meaningful with his life.

18. What on earth?!

Saw the cops in Barcelona hit some street kid with their nightsticks unprovoked and completely out of the blue. Kid never saw it coming. Smoked him right in the throat.

He was just walking up the street, cops were walking toward him, and just unloaded on the poor kid. Left him there, too. They just walked away. Horrible cheap shot.

19. You don’t like to see that.

Chained and drugged baby big cats for photo opportunities on the streets of Cancun.

20. Hopefully someone was watching.

In Nepal I saw a two year old sitting alone on a busy sidewalk. He/she had a cup for begging.

The sad thing is the child was probably being used as a pawn by someone.

The child would take the money back to an adult at the end of the day, in exchange for a crowded room to sleep, filled with a dozen other kids doing the same thing.

21. It only took one breath to get a real sense of NYC.

Day 1 of our honeymoon- getting off the subway in NYC. Looking up at the huge buildings outside MSG in awe of how cool everything was, look down and see a homeless chap sh**ting in a carrier bag in the middle of the busy street.

No one bats and eyelid.

Welcome to the big apple

22. As one does.

In Vienna I saw a homeless man sat at a bus stop, naked from the waist down, writing a music score.

23. You can’t blink it away.

Seen a lot of pretty strange and alarming things, but for some reason one that really stands out is Garbage city in Cairo, Egypt. A lot of Cairo is pretty run down, many people living in houses and homes that are missing walls and roofs with garbage and filth all over the place, but Garbage City was something else.

Kids, women, grandparents, everyone was sorting through massive piles of trash outside of their homes so they could scrape together a living. Those with babies would have them laying on top of the mounds of filth while they worked.

Seeing the babies and children in and on the trash really stuck with me for some reason.

24. So hard to fathom.

Lived in Saudi Arabia as a kid for a few years. Public beheading was pretty f*cked up.

Saw a few d**d bodies on the street in a couple places in SE Asia. Pedestrians just walked over or around them.

25. Might take this place off my list.

I was held against my will in a brothel somewhere in the Caucuses. I’m a guy and I was there ostensibly as a customer but more like brought by people I barely knew as a sign of “hospitality” despite my protests. They left me there with armed guards patrolling the grounds. Since I didn’t speak the same language as them, when I tried to leave they corralled me back, guns drawn. Several hours later, the people that brought me collected me and wanted a detailed account of how it went. Thankfully I thought ahead enough to ruffle my clothes and hair. The p**stitute insisted I take her number and call her if I wanted to “hang out”.

Same city, walking around downtown with a buddy and his girlfriend. We see a group of guys hassle a couple. There must have been 3-4 guys and they started attacking the boyfriend. I wanted to intervene and even the odds. My friend stopped my and said that we couldn’t get involved because now our task was making sure his girlfriend was safe. He assured me that everything was going to be OK for that guy.

Before my friend even finished talking, random people walking by intervened to help the guy. When I say help, I mean “beat the offending party to within an inch of their life”. Apparently hassling a guy walking by himself with a female is a major taboo over there so random strangers were so insulted they tore into the guys. They coordinated enough to have some people holding them up and others taking turns whaling on them.

I legit thought they might k**l them and this was a major walking street in view of police. Police watched the whole thing and threw the guys into their car after they’d been beaten to a pulp. I was later told the only people who would have violate the social norm were either country bumpkins or drug addicts so no tears need be shed.

This comment is getting some attention so I should clarify this happened in Azerbaijan. The city was Baku but the brothel was either on the outskirts or in a suburb. I’m sorry, my experience in the West has been peoples furrowing their brows when I say Azerbaijan so I opted to be more general. You all are some scholars and gentlemen.

26. That’s a horrible 20 seconds.

Someone tried to kidnap my sister in South Africa.

I remember someone in a crowd tried to yank her away and she managed to slip free and the dude just disappeared into the crowd.

27. I don’t…know what to say.

I saw this guy with blindfold hit a girl because he thought she was a pinata

28. It’s free to look.

In saint Martian in the 90s saw a guy from the nudist beach wander over to a payphone and make a call.

Always wondered were he kept his change.

29. What on earth is wrong with people?

Not another country, but I went cliff-jumping in Oahu (about 30-35 feet) and there was a 4 or 5 y/o kid standing at the edge of the rock, crying because he didn’t want to jump. His dad was forcefully shouting at him that he could do it, ‘do you want me to push you? Jump, don’t be afraid boy!’

The kid kept full-on tantrum crying so the dad picked him up screaming and and just threw him off. He spun in the air and definitely didn’t land feet first, and surfaced still screaming. Felt so bad for the kid.

30. That’s something you don’t forget.

I remember walking down the street in cusco and seeing a cute street dog playing with a plush toy and throwing it in the air.

When I got closer the dogs mouth was bloody and I realized it was eating a guinea pig.

I have no idea how I would have reacted to any of these things in real time.

If you’ve got a wild travel story like these, share it with us in the comments!