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That one time I fell off a camel in Jordan

falling off a camel

Sometimes life hands you a trip to Jordan (wahooo!) and sometimes life throws you off a camel in the middle of the desert in Jordan (oh crap!)

Travel isn’t always rainbows and unicorns.

As much as travel bloggers love to paint the world as a technicolor bomb of beauty, friendship, and once-in-a-lifetime-experiences, let’s be honest here, shit happens. Shit ALWAYS happens. In fact, I’d go as far as to say shit is 10 times more LIKELY to happen when you’re on the road than when you’re safe at home. But isn’t that why we love to travel? To test ourselves, to push our comfort zones and get outside the proverbial box?

And when shit strikes, it makes for a great story later, right? Right?

falling off a camel

falling off a camel

But I digress. Speaking as one who attracts incidents like moths to a flame, at this point in my traveling career, there are some activities I should JUST not be allowed to participate in. Riding animals that have a mind of their own should be at the top of that list.

Now I’ve been called many things in my life – motivated, smartass, quirky- but graceful? Um, never. Not once. Ever. Nope.

As much as I wish being poised, balanced and elegant was part of my character, unfortunately, I was handed other talents at birth – like talking myself out of tickets and having double-jointed knees, neither of which have been much use to me on the road.

It was a miracle I survived riding donkeys around Petra, so I know I was pushing my luck thinking I could go two for two and riding camels in the desert, though I feel like I should preface this by saying that I actually have camel riding experience, which is why I didn’t see this coming.

falling off a camel

Expert camel riders over here in Giza

photo (69)

Exhibiting my gracefulness or lack thereof in Petra – in indication of what’s to come

Let me set the scene for you

The end of our trip in Jordan took place in the magical desert of Lawrence of Arabia, the famous Wadi Rum.

We spent the evening before exploring this lunar landscape in the back of a 4×4 followed up with a sleepless night of cooking and dancing at a Bedouin camp, smoking hubbly bubbly (hookah) and watching the stars twinkling in the inky black sky.

While the boys had an impromptu soccer match the next morning after breakfast, I snuck out behind the tents to take photos of the camels tied up waiting for our morning jaunt around Wadi Rum.

I should have known shit was going to hit the fan later when one of them tried to bite me.

falling off a camel

falling off a camel

As we were assigned our respective camels, I hefted myself up with as much grace and poise as I could muster (i.e. none) and tried to situate myself as best I could for our walk, while holding on for dear life. If the fact that this camel tried to bite me a few minutes before wasn’t enough of a sign, I should have noticed the look it gave me while I wiggled around trying to get comfortable.

Great, I got the cheeky camel. Typical.

Biting back a yell as my camel awkwardly stood up, I started to get excited to see more of the desert in the daytime. And off we went!

All the girls started ooh-ing and ahh-ing over a baby camel that trotted along beside us. Baby camels are cute and fluffy and look like they have little poofy mohawks. Adult camels? Not so much. They are sneaky bastards that will spit on you or bite you as soon as look at you. And they don’t smell so pleasant either. Don’t trust them.

falling off a camel

falling off a camel

Since we were in such a big group, at least 20 people or so, they split us into two camel trains, with everyone tied up behind another camel, with one of the camel drivers leading us on. Unfortunately, I don’t think they were paying attention to the fact that I got assigned the mischievous camel, and since I was the last in my train, they had tied my camel and another camel to the back of the same camel in a triangle, instead of three in a row – understand that?

This meant my troublemaking camel kept bumping hard into the one next to me to the point I was afraid I was going to get knocked off.

Eventually I motioned to the camel director to try to explain what was going on to ask him if he could untie me and then tie me to the back of my friend’s camel instead. As per usual when I try to explain some with one hand (other hand gripping the saddle for dear life), there was some miscommunication and he just untied me and handed me the reins and ran off to the front again.

Clearly he hasn’t read my blog and realized he was flirting with disaster by letting ME be in charge of a camel.

falling off a camel

falling off a camel

Little did he know my camel had a mind of her own.

After a second I just sort of went with it, thinking two (incredibly stupid) things: firstly, I have expert camel experience since I’ve ridden a camel three times in my life, and secondly, all these camels do is haul tourists around day in and day out. If they are anything like the donkeys and camels at Petra, they just trod along after each other, no matter what direction you give them.


Talking to myself, “be cool Liz,” I thought, “people ride camels all the time, you’re fine.”

Going with the flow, I tied my camera bag to the saddle (thank heavens) adjusted my camera around my neck and held onto the reins, trying to channel my inner Indiana Jones or Lawrence of Arabia.

falling off a camel

falling off a camel

Lulled into a false sense of security, my camel and I plodded along at a nice, leisurely pace for a solid hour or so, taking in the beautiful rock formations, the rose-colored sands, the cute baby camel. It’s one thing to explore a historic, majestic desert on foot or by car, but it’s another experience entirely to witness it on the back of a camel, just like the adventurers did hundreds of years ago.

Along we went while I occasionally snapped photos or shot some video with my GoPro – see? I can multitask while camelriding. Skills people, balance, I got this.

By this point my camel had drifted aways from the group, not much, but enough so that we weren’t in line anymore. It’s fine, I’ve got an independent camel – I’m independent too, maybe we were made for each other after all.

Eventually I noticed the ground started to gradually slope downhill. Not by much but when you’re 8 feet off the ground with nothing to hold onto but a saddle and tighten your thighs, it’s a lot.

falling off a camel

Photo via Seattle’s Travels

falling off a camel

Suddenly I think my camel got a whiff of freedom and started to gain momentum down the hill.

“Oh shit, oh no, oh shit, oh no, oh shit,” I started bouncing up and down really hard on the camel trying to hold on for dear life while it started running.

Now just take a second to imagine a camel running. If there ever was a creature to match me in terms of gracelessness, it is in fact a camel. Trying to run. Here’s a video if you don’t believe me.

Two awkward animals paired together without adult supervision in the hot desert is a match made for disaster.

About three seconds later I go flying off the right side of the camel while it makes a bid for freedom.

falling off a camel

White light, white light, white light.

Am I dead?

Flat on my back in the sand, blinking, I slowly open my eyes and look up at the bright sun.

Woosh, then the pain hit me with the force of a gunshot. Nope, definitely alive. “AAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH~ HEEEEELLLLLPPPPP!!!” I howled incoherently laying on my back like a turtle.

A minute later a swift Bedouin boy, one of the camel interns, comes running up to me and tries to pull me to my feet. Not happening. I try to stand and fall right back over.

White light. Nausea. White light. Oh god.

falling off a camel

Photo via Jessie on a Journey

falling off a camel

Laying in the red sand, I eventually get on my knees holding my throbbing head and gingerly touching my lower back, while the rest of our camel brigade surrounded me. Fabulous, an audience, just what I wanted.

Covered in red sand, they tried clean me up, asking how I was and giving me water. And you know the first words out of my fool of a mouth?

“My camera? My camera?”

Still on my knees, I fumbled around and picked up my beautiful, brand new, 2 week old Canon 60D baby, covered in sand – and I realized the screen was cracked.


If that doesn’t give you any insights into my personality and priorities, I don’t know what will.


Groaning and blinking back tears, it was just too much, and it was all I could do not to collapse back in the sand like the drama queen I am – though in my defense, I had a big concussion and therefore I was allowed to resort back to childlike behavior.

Eventually, they pulled me to my feet, and luck was on my side, and a 4×4 passed by at that moment headed towards the main camp. Climbing in the front seat, I rested my head on the dashboard and tried not to barf, cry or both, clutching my broken camera and whimpering like a wounded animal.

As I stumbled out of the truck back at the camp, I was met with several of our Jordanian guides and some of the journalists who decided to ride ahead and forgo the camel ride (wise ones). I had managed to keep it together til this point but as soon as I saw the jolly face of Ibrahim, our guide, I lost it and started sobbing.

Moderately concussed, mildly confused and bordering on hysterical, it took several bottles of water dumped on my head and 3 Advils swallowed down with a big cup of tea before I started to calm the heck down and literally regain my senses.

falling off a camel

I can’t believe I’m letting these photos see the light of day, but I figured I had to share

Thoughts on getting sick or injured on the road

Quick disclosure, I have a pretty high pain tolerance owing to a childhood of being a total klutz and a penchant for tattoos and piercings growing up. That being said, this is the most pain I’ve ever felt in living memory, and even now it’s difficult for me to put it into words here to fully describe it.

My head had a knot on it the size of an orange for weeks and my lower back to my upper thighs were bruised a veritable rainbow of purple, black and red, and I couldn’t move my neck side to side properly for several days.

Once I got back to the US and since my back wasn’t getting better I eventually ended up in the ER. I’m a stubborn ass and refused to go to the hospital in Jordan, and after talking with doctors in the US, which was a giant waste of my time and money, I realized it wouldn’t have made a difference.

falling off a camel

falling off a camel

That being said, I count myself incredibly lucky – talk about looking on the bright side. What if I had landed on my face? Or on my arm? On my head? More or less I think I landed on my ass and back then smacking my head on the ground after. Thankfully I loved Jordanian food, and if I hadn’t eaten all of the kanafeh, all of the hummus and all of the falafels in the ENTIRE COUNTRY, and have, as one of the guides so delicately phrased it, a bit of a cushion to land on, it would have been worse. Um, thanks I guess.

If Jordanian hospitality and friendliness could ever ben questioned before, it’s quietly squashed now. I have never been so well taken care of or looked after. Once our group arrived back, everyone was trying to help and make things better and give me little talks to make me feel better, which actually made me cry MORE, you know, because I’m a weirdo and don’t know how to manage my emotions.

I almost always travel alone, and I’ve gotten sick before on the road but I always took care of myself. To be surrounded by people taking care of me without even asking, and doing everything they could to make me feel better when I was in a huge amount of pain made all the difference.

falling off a camel

The wonderful Ibrahim

falling off a camel


Most likely tempting fate, for the first time in ages I made a grown-up decision right before going to Jordan to finally invest in international property insurance. Jordan was the first stop of what would become several months of traveling on the road before moving to New Zealand for a year. It was also the first time I bought a travel insurance package with World Nomads.

Two things prompted this decision; firstly I’d just splurged on a very expensive new camera, two lenses, gear, GoPro, a laptop and an iPhone (check out this post about what’s in my camera bag!) And secondly, a close friend had his backpack filled with electronics stolen right in front of him. Two and two together finally clicked in my brain; that if someone were to steal all my shit, there would be nothing I could do about it and I couldn’t afford to replace it.

I needed something to cover all of my expensive toys while traveling internationally long-term that wasn’t going to cost me a fortune. After digging around for a while, I finally settled on Clements who had packages fitting what I wanted.

falling off a camel

falling off a camel

Now, I don’t know anything about insurance or whatever; I just winged it for the past 6 years. Dealing with Clements was easy, I didn’t have to make a lot of phone calls, it was mostly done via email, and boom, I paid for a great policy insuring around $10,000 worth of my crap for year for $17 a month. Now that’s something I can afford. And the best part is that most of my stuff is insured individually which means I don’t have to pay anything as a deductible on it, only for small stuff.

As soon as I got home I mailed my camera into Canon to get repaired. As soon as I got the $300 charge to fix the screen, I emailed a claim off to Clements and had the money deposited back into my bank account within a week. That’s right, the policy already paid for itself. Boom.

Disclosure: I was NOT compensated in any way by Clements for this. I paid full-price for my policy, and I intend to do the same next year.

falling off a camel

Photo via Jessie on a Journey

falling off a camel

Do I regret riding camels in Jordan?

Nope, not at all.

What happened was a pain in the ass (literally) but it couldn’t be helped. Ultimately what happened was nobody’s fault, except probably mine for not insisting to be tied back up in a camel row in the beginning.

Am I saying that you should never ride a camel while traveling? Absolutely not. Go for it!

I loved (the experience of) riding camels in Morocco, Egypt and even in Wadi Rum in Jordan, as you can see from my big smiles before the BIG INCIDENT.

Like I said, shit happens, and the chance of a normal person falling off a camel is pretty slim. I’ve checked with Google. If you’re accident-prone like me, then well, I suggest asking the camel driver for the most docile camel out there, and making sure it’s being properly led.

falling off a camel

Will I ever ride a camel again? Hell no. Three time’s enough for this girl. The only way you will ever get me on the back of a camel again is if you stun me with a stun gun and throw me on its back and tie me down. Or give me a million dollars.

Actually now that I think about it, I probably would ride camels again, since I never seem to learn my lesson while traveling. It won’t be for a while though. I need some space to recover.

The only downside now is I have acquired a irrational fear of camels, and now every time I see one, I also see that white light. Shiver.

Have you ever ridden camels before? Would you, given the chance? Have you ever been injured or seriously ill on the road? How did you cope?

falling off a camel

I was in Jordan as a guest of the Jordan Tourism Board and My Jordan Journey, though as you can probably guess, all opinions here are my own haha.

79 Responses to That one time I fell off a camel in Jordan

  1. Kirsten November 10, 2013 at 11:56 pm #

    Ouch!! I haven’t fallen off a camel or anything quite that bad – my fear of horses due to being bitten, kicked, and falling off of them as a kid has effectively frightened me off of camels too. So no, you will never catch me riding on or anywhere near a camel. Ever. The most seriously ill I’ve ever been abroad is when I had a super bad allergic reaction in Cairo where I almost passed out in the Citadel.

    • Liz November 11, 2013 at 6:49 am #

      Oh no! That sounds like a crazy story!

  2. Vanessa November 10, 2013 at 11:57 pm #

    Falling off a camel must be the worse! Well, minus breaking your camera. haha. Honestly, I never really thought about getting travel insurance for my belongings, but you know what… that’s a pretty good idea. On another note, how is Jordan so freakin’ photogenic?! Everything is beautiful!

    • Liz November 11, 2013 at 6:50 am #

      Jordan is gorgeous, I really really loved it there.

      Seriously, it had never occurred to me to buy travel insurance until my friend was robbed. Best $200 I’ve ever spent!

  3. amelie88 November 11, 2013 at 12:48 am #

    I recognize Lesley Carter from Bucket List Publications next to you on the camel! She wrote a post about this months ago and she was really upset since it was her camel that yours did not seem to get along with.

    I can’t imagine how long you were able to hold on with your camel running at top speed. I am so glad you were okay and that it was not more serious. I’ve never had a concussion and you are brave for publishing those pictures (I can’t believe you even allowed yourself to be photographed, I would have been snapping at people screaming “HELL NO!”), but it really drives home that you were really injured. I’m hoping you didn’t have to get back on that camel after all this!

    And I have never fallen off a camel, but I did fall off a horse once back in the day when I horse back rode. Flew clear over its head after we landed awkwardly after a jump and landed on my right hip hard enough to draw blood. (I’ve still got the rake shaped scar to prove it too. I believe the horse stumbled and fell too behind me but got right back up, luckily it didn’t fall on top of me!) Not so sure I’ll be riding any camels after reading though… never really liked them either, I’ve always thought they looked super smug!

    • Liz November 11, 2013 at 6:52 am #

      It was actually not intentional – there was a group of mexican journalists and professional photographers with us on the trip, and I was friends with one of them who came and looked after me right after it happened. I asked him to check out my camera to see if it still worked when he snapped those photos. At first I was like, ugh no, I look like I was hit by a bus and then he said, I’d thank him later, which I guess is partly true!

  4. Seattle Dredge November 11, 2013 at 12:50 am #

    ahhh I’m glad you finally wrote about it! So, no more camels, but you can’t give up on donkey doubling. Ohhh what a day.. but at least you got to recover in the Red Sea later :]

    • Liz November 11, 2013 at 6:53 am #

      No matter what, I will never give up donkey doubling (that sounds REALLY bad btw) haha!

      So glad I didn’t miss the Red Sea!

      • Seattle Dredge November 11, 2013 at 12:09 pm #

        I knew it sounded bad as I wrote it, but I went with it.

  5. Priya November 11, 2013 at 1:26 am #

    Whoa. Crazy journey! I rode a camel once, but it was only for a few minutes on a beach in India and a man was controlling it. But I totally want to do this! You know, minus the who falling of the camel thing. LOVE the pictures!!

    • Liz November 11, 2013 at 6:54 am #

      Do it if you go to Jordan, just hang on tight 🙂

  6. Cat of Sunshine and Siestas November 11, 2013 at 4:49 am #

    I expected comedy, not a concussion, loquilla!! But, for real: when my computer was stolen last year, I cried mostly out of frustration that I couldn’t go on my planned food tour and had to head back to the airport to look for it. If my camera would have been stolen, I would have cried for days.

    • Liz November 11, 2013 at 6:54 am #

      Yeah, it’s only funny now, 6 months later

  7. Julie @ A Life Exotic November 11, 2013 at 5:05 am #

    Oh man that’s a pretty good war story! I fell off a horse in Glenorchy, New Zealand once when there was a gunshot way in the distance and my ride was the only one in the group that bolted. Luckily(?) I got stuck in the stirrup and I sort of went down in slow motion and broke my fall a bit… no concussion to speak of. You’re a true travel warrior! 😛

    • Liz November 11, 2013 at 6:55 am #

      I’ve earned my stripes now!

  8. A Camel November 11, 2013 at 5:43 am #


  9. Michelle November 11, 2013 at 8:42 am #

    Ouch! I’m sorry that happened to you—and your camera. I can’t imagine what I would do if I cracked any part of my camera, but I’m thankful that you were able to be reimbursed for it!

    • Liz November 11, 2013 at 10:17 pm #

      Me too! It was like fate really, first time I’ve dropped an expensive camera in 6 years, right after I bought insurance!

  10. Hippie in Heels November 11, 2013 at 11:54 am #

    first of all i had no idea there was international property insurance lol i’m going to have to check that out! second, sorry about your camel ride- & why doesnt anyone warn us of the massive welt it can leave on your ass!? i have a huge raw red mark from a ride in Jaisalmer, India . they called it “saddle rash” ouch

    • Liz November 11, 2013 at 10:37 pm #

      woah, I didn’t know about the rash, though maybe it was underneath my bruises lol

  11. Trevor Huxham November 11, 2013 at 2:19 pm #

    Not sure what it says about me as a person that I loudly gasped when I read about your camera crashing/cracking to the ground than when you fell, although your description of an orange-sized lump sounds super rough…ouch!!!!!! I’ve always wanted to go back to Morocco and ride a camel in the Sahara (so cliché but I don’t give a damn lol) but now I may be having second thoughts 😛

    • Liz November 11, 2013 at 10:28 pm #

      Ahh don’t have second thoughts, do it! I think it just makes a big difference when the camels are tied together, don’t ride one where you’re in charge haha

  12. Alex @ ifs ands & butts November 11, 2013 at 4:11 pm #

    I just returned from riding camels in the desert in Morocco and before I went, I remembered that you’d fallen off your camera. I told my travel buddy and I don’t think she ever let go of her two-handed grip (much to my dismay as she was supposed to be photographing me ;)). A girl in our group fell off her camel when he decided he was ready to sit down and she was very unprepared. Luckily she was ok and we were all about to let out our laughter. Your experience sounds way more hellacious. Glad you’re ok and can reflect (mostly) fondly.

    • Liz November 11, 2013 at 10:27 pm #

      Yeah I think if people fall off it’s usually when they are standing up or sitting. Falling off when it was sprinting was horrible but whatever, I’m ok now and everything worked out for the best!

  13. Steph | A Nerd at Large November 11, 2013 at 4:50 pm #

    Whoa! I’m glad you’re okay. Concussions are serious business. From one notoriously clumsy person to another I have to confess that whenever I have an accident my first instinct is to check the state of my camera before taking stock of my physical injuries. My DSLR is awaiting repair for the second time this trip. Got it fixed once after crashing the Segway, but then I fell while being chased through the darkness by zombies. Meanwhile my knees are perpetually bruised from a string of falls since May.

    I wholeheartedly agree about buying insurance when you travel, both medical and property. No matter how careful you are or how good your health is, there is so much out of your control (like which camel they decide to put you on!) that you can’t always avoid trouble. I was thinking about that while riding a horse in Argentina earlier this year, who was obviously nonplussed about my being on his back and didn’t seem entirely inclined to keep me there.

    • Liz November 11, 2013 at 10:26 pm #

      I hear you. I don’t know why it never occurred to me to insure my stuff until now, but let me just say, it was the right choice!

  14. Lance | Trips By Lance November 11, 2013 at 5:49 pm #

    As A Nerd at Large said above concussions are serious business. I’ve thankfully never had one. I grew up riding horses a bit, but I don’t think that experience would make me want to get on a camel. Hey, you have a crazy life experience, and that’s what it’s all about.

    • Liz November 11, 2013 at 10:25 pm #

      exactly! And that’s what I tell myself now haha

  15. Rachel November 11, 2013 at 5:58 pm #

    I think we may be related in the travel-clutzy realm. I actually just blogged about breaking my tailbone in Central Park, NYC just hours before boarding a flight to Paris. Although painful at the time it makes for an awesome story to tell my friends and family 😉

    I once had the chance to ride a camel in Saudi Arabia and never made it onto the camel. As I was being introduced to my camel, it spit right in my face. That stuff is like glue and we were in the middle of nowhere visiting a bedouin family, so a sink was not available. I was probably 9 years old and decided then and there, camels and I were not meant to interact together.

    I hope you’re feeling better now (no residual physical affects at least – I know the mental may take longer) 🙂

    • Liz November 11, 2013 at 10:24 pm #

      OMG ick!! I would have flipped my shit if one spit in my face. I am more or less better now though I think I damaged my back permanently, hurts a lot now, especially if I sit or stand in one position for too long. Also mentally freaked me out and I’m more nervous traveling than I was before. It’s going to be hard to regain my confidence, but I’ll do my best 😀

  16. Noor - Desert to Jungle November 12, 2013 at 6:08 am #

    Liz, the falling off part sounds awful, I’m glad you weren’t more badly injured. The rest sounds great and the photos are great. I’d love to go to Wadi Rum, probably even more than Petra.

    My worst injury on the road was slipping in the shower in India and fracturing my coccyx on the stone floor. I couldn’t walk for days and we were in a s-hole of a city we didn’t mean to be in (had got off the train at a wrong stop hundreds of miles from our actual destination). It was just one thing in a week of disasters, really if I listed them it would be hard to believe. I went white water rafting a couple of months later and bouncing up and down in the raft was still painful.

    Worse of all was months later, after a 12 hour train journey in in third class on wooden slated seats we arrived in Goa. I was relieved. Goa had been hassle-free before I was getting relentless sexual harassment in the rest of the country. I breathed a sigh of relief as we got off the train. We were walking down the road away from the train station with our packs on and two guys went past on a motorbike and the one on the back slapped my ass hard. It hurt so much because of the coccyx and I just felt like I wasn’t safe anywhere. I just burst into tears.

    After that, though, Goa was its usual lovely, hassle free place and my ass has been fine ever since!

    • Liz November 13, 2013 at 2:51 am #

      OMFG I would have lost it, that sounds horrific! I’m so glad things have been better since, but what rotten luck!

  17. jennifer November 12, 2013 at 10:18 am #

    I am with you that mishaps when traveling make great stories. It’s a good thing that I lack grace in a way I now know you can understand. My mother actually used to actually yell at me “I should have named you Grace, this was you would have some” every time I did something that showcased that I have none. This was often.

    I break cameras often. I cracked the screen in San Francisco. I then got it fixed. My next trip, I pulled it out to take my first picture of a month long trip and OH HEY THE SCREEN THAT I JUST HAD REPLACED IS CRACKED AGAIN. I then had to buy a new camera on the spot. In Brussels, on a Sunday. Everything is closed in Brussels on Sundays, wouldn’t ya know it.

    I am glad you can now find some humor in the camel incident! A concussion, whoa! I also travel alone so I am sure I would have a nervous breakdown if I were in the same situation…and then find it humorous months later. I’m happy you are okay.

    • Liz November 13, 2013 at 2:53 am #

      Thanks! Yeah, I can laugh about it now but it really took me a long time to get over this, and even now I realized the fall shook me up mentally and I’ve been having trouble finding my courage again.

      Glad to hear I’m not the only one without any grace lol

  18. Josh November 12, 2013 at 10:30 am #

    Gosh I think all of us gasped in horror when we read about your camera. Then of course we go on to read about your personal injuries and feel suitably shallow for having worried so much about the camera. Glad you were ok in the end. And bravo for sharing those pictures of you in a seemingly comatose state – that takes guts!

    Nice pics and funny story Liz 🙂

    • Liz November 13, 2013 at 2:54 am #

      haha I almost didn’t share the pics because I look horrendous and nobody wants to see that but then I figured what the hell, why not?

  19. Megan S November 12, 2013 at 12:10 pm #

    I have been in Thailand for 2 months now attempting to get a teaching job to live here long-term. It seems though that Thailand is trying to scare me out of the country. In the last month I’ve been in 2 motorbike accidents. The first wouldn’t have been bad at all if I didn’t happen to land in a pricker bush when falling off the bike (I was pulling thorns out for weeks). The second was pretty gnarly and ended with a trip to the ER for some serious scrapes. I’ll spare you the details but I had a deep ‘hole’ in my knee that isn’t even remotely healed yet, 2 weeks later, and it keeps me confined to the land, no ocean water in open wounds. And finally, today, an otherwise calm and nice dog decided out of the blue that he didn’t like my outfit or something and he ran up to me and bit my leg for no reason and ran away. That ended in my second trip to the ER and my first of 4 doses of rabies shots. Bonus though, I got to get the wounds from the moto accident cleaned WHILE they were giving me a rabies shot IN BOTH ARMS, score! I am a “clumsy” person. My boyfriend keeps insisting he wants to buy me a bubble to travel through life with. I am afraid of heights because I always see myself stubbing my toe and falling to my doom. Bad luck, clutzy incidents, and freaky weird mishaps always follow me everywhere so I am not really sure why I thought traveling would be any different let alone better!? I just keep reminding myself that these will all be good stories in the end and it will make the days when I don’t wince putting a shoe on or bending my knee seem even better! Keep your chin up and know you’re not the only one out there that is inherently clumsy and off-balance. We should start a support group! Do you think there’s a therapy made for people like us!? Haha

    • Liz November 13, 2013 at 2:56 am #

      We should TOTALLY start a group! Klutzes around the world UNITE 😀

  20. Kelly R November 12, 2013 at 2:10 pm #

    Zoiks! That sounds awful! Like some other commenters, I also have a fear of horses after a scary encounter at summer camp when I was little. I wanted to ride a camel while in Tunisia, but they were HUGE and it was so so hot, I felt bad for them, which I know is a bit silly. They really do have personalities, don’t they? This one’s face spoke a thousand words and my gut told me to skip it. But the sadist in me now is like, hmmm, I should really try it again someday…

    • Liz November 13, 2013 at 2:57 am #

      Try it one day, but go somewhere where they look taken care of. The ones I rode in Giza looked in bad shape and not treated very well but these ones in Wadi Rum looked nice and well taken care of. Too taken care of because I got the misbehaving one haha

  21. SnarkyNomad November 13, 2013 at 1:03 am #

    I have yet to get thrown off a camel, but I’ve been thrown off a horse twice. Once into the river we were wading through, due to an overheated horse that wanted to swim, and once onto a gravel road, due to a saddle that looked like it was made in the paleolithic era. Luckily the 2nd time I executed a FLAWLESS judo fall and rolled right out of it. The horse even stuck around to wait for me to get back on. Such a good buddy.

    You were up higher, of course. Good thing you had sand to fall into.

    • Liz November 13, 2013 at 2:59 am #

      Yeah thank god it was sand! When I rode them in Morocco it was on rocks so that would have been hell!

      The only thing was because of the trucks or maybe because we were close the camp, the sand was packed down, and not as soft as you would think. Hurt like a bitch but it could have been worse

  22. Lindsay November 13, 2013 at 9:35 am #

    girlllllllll, that is some story! first, i must say that you have an amazing way of engaging readers while telling a story – you’re REAL, you’re funny, and it makes me want to keep reading. two thumbs up over here!

    and second, thank god you’re alright – and that you had insurance! my canon 5d mark iii randomly died while i was in thailand earlier this year and the repair cost $560 – but it was completely covered by my personal articles insurance. whew!

    • Liz November 13, 2013 at 5:37 pm #

      thank you thank you 🙂

      Yeah insurance makes all the difference!

  23. Chelsea November 13, 2013 at 4:59 pm #

    I have been waiting for this post since you first mentioned it approximately 6 months ago!! I can say it didn’t disappoint! Oh my gosh Liz, I didn’t realize your fall was that serious! I am so glad you’re (overall) okay. Sorry to hear you’ve got major back issues now – if it helps at all, I can totally relate. I fell out of a tree when I was a kid straight onto my back and was lucky I wasn’t paralyzed – but I always have major back pain. This bit of your blog – “Now just take a second to imagine a camel running. If there ever was a creature to match me in terms of gracelessness, it is in fact a camel.” made me laugh SO HARD. And then the video… omg. I watched it three times and by the second time, I was crying laughing. I had no idea camels ran like that. At least you’ll always have this story to tell. 🙂

    • Liz November 13, 2013 at 5:44 pm #

      Hahaha I know. I had trouble writing about it sooner because it caused so many problems and I honestly didn’t enjoy thinking about it, let alone telling the story. I needed to wait a while to have some space so I could look back and laugh haha. Hurt like a bitch but still was one of the best trips I’ve ever been on!

  24. Megan November 14, 2013 at 3:36 pm #

    Ooh shit girl, falling off of animals just SUCKS. I grew up riding horses, and have an unparalleled ability to remain on their backs in most situations, but the spills I did have were awful. And camels look like a whole different game. I would totally have lost it if someone else tried to take care of me, too. Because, clearly, when you can adequately express gratitude (or any emotion) the next best option is to cry like a baby. May your time in New Zealand be concussion free!

    • Liz November 15, 2013 at 6:01 pm #

      Hahah exactly. I was like, stop taking care of me ahhhhh!!! Good thing there are no camels down here haha

  25. Amanda Kendle November 17, 2013 at 8:14 am #

    So sorry that I am laughing so much at your misfortune!!
    I have almost fallen off tame slow camels so I would definitely have done the same or worse as you. They are crazy animals. Once in Tunisia I saw a camel “race”, but the winner was just one that randomly ran in the direction of the finish line after running everywhere else first. Insane.

  26. Peter November 17, 2013 at 8:59 pm #

    hahaha you should so make a bumper sticker that says “Travel isn’t always rainbows and unicorns,” best line I’ve read all year 🙂 – great post!!!

  27. Megan December 29, 2013 at 8:33 pm #

    You posted this just before I left for Morocco, and since I knew I was going to be riding camels there, I held off on reading it (until now) because I was afraid I wouldn’t get on a camel if I read it first–and right I was.

    I rode a camel for about four hours while I was there, and the downhill part was so frightening for me. Squeezing your thighs around a camel and holding on for dear life just doesn’t seem safe enough for me. I was convinced the entire time that I was going to plummet to my death.

    I’m glad to read that you were okay eventually, but I can only imagine what must’ve been going through your heard right after falling (beyond the camera breaking). I’m with you though–after riding a camel just twice in the same trip, I don’t think I’ll ever want to ride one again.

    • Liz January 3, 2014 at 8:49 pm #

      It’s a good one time experience haha

  28. Diana Maynard June 15, 2014 at 7:51 am #

    Glad I didn’t read your post before going camel trekking in the Wadi Rum a couple of months ago. I actually wrote a blog post about my camel riding experience there – definitely a much better experience than you had!

  29. Casey July 27, 2014 at 5:07 am #

    This made me laugh- thanks for the great post! I had a fun episode while on a backpacking trip in SE Asia where I had an appendicitis in Thailand. One painful surgery and a week of being showered (literally) by Thai nurses later- I was back on the travel train and have a silly story and a cool scar! Makes you stronger and more… patient haha 🙂

  30. Husband January 24, 2015 at 11:27 pm #

    you need a bad Husband

  31. Katie @ Katie Wanders October 17, 2015 at 10:01 am #

    oh my god. I ride horses and I get how dangerous falls can be. Well sort of thats a damn camel!

    Love the way you wrote this story and so sorry for your camelconcussion!

    Katie @ Katie Wanders

  32. Satyaranjan Bai April 7, 2016 at 7:57 am #

    Was checking some post about the Sahara Desert trip and I’d say luckily I stumbled upon yours. Glad that you are fine. Sad that you got hurt in the back. Great journey it seemed to me.

  33. Katie May 6, 2016 at 10:50 am #

    This post resonates with me SO much. I just returned home from three months travelling solo for the first time. In NZ I thought I wanted to go horse riding. Great idea Katie. I got thrown off from a real height when the horse decided it did not want to be overtaken by its friend. That fear when you realise you are coming off, and then when you are off and that moment of contemplating spending the rest of your life paralysed before you try to move. I think luck is sometimes on our side.. I don’t know how I did not even break anything. However, three months on, I still have daily back pain. But I consider myself lucky. I definitely won’t be riding camels any time soon myself!

  34. Lili May 23, 2016 at 4:19 pm #

    I road a camel for the first time in Egypt. I’ve ridden tons of horses and so thought I’d be fine, but I didn’t factor in how tall Camels are! I’m afraid of heights, and we were going up/down some dunes and I just freaked out. I felt like I was going to fall over at any moment. I was so terrified, I gripped onto the hand hold thing at the front and back, but facing away from the Pyramids, so I never saw that traditional “all in line” view. I just couldn’t switch around. While we were waiting to take group photos, one camel in my group went wild. It was running in circles, and then disaster struck! The saddle unbuckled and the male occupant was dangled precariously since his foot was stuck in the holster on the other side. Round and Round they went, me watching my worst nightmare. Finally the guy was able to gracefully fall to the sand (mostly because he was very tall). He was fine, his camera was fine. His phone died (crushed by the camel’s hooves). I couldn’t believe it got back on after they “adjusted” the saddle and calmed down the camel. I’m planning a trip to Jordan, but I certainly will not be riding a camel every again!

  35. Melissa August 11, 2016 at 8:55 am #

    I think you and I have been fortunate enough to experience several of the same experiences…although yours are a bit more than mine 🙂 I made sure to do a camp out in the Bedoin desert and do the whole dinner thing but the next day my friend and I rode camels out into the Wadi Rum with nothing but us on our camels, the guide, and his dog. It remains one of the best times of my life. Sorry about yours but it does make a better story 🙂 I am an green spacious loving kind of person (Ireland being my favorite place), yet I fell in LOVE with Jordan and can’t wait to go back, so much more to explore. I was there for 7 days and could have stayed for another 7! Next time, the Wadi Mujib is mine!

  36. Playstore download January 4, 2017 at 9:06 pm #

    camel riding is very exciting … they are huge and it feels good when you see things from that height .


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