Travel Misadventures: Panic at Midnight

LashWorldTour - Travel Misadventures - panic

LashWorldTour – Travel Misadventures – panic

Travel Misadventures: Panic at Midnight 

Instantly, I let loose an deep, gut-wrenching, morbid scream as pure panic swept over my body. I quickly swept the giant creature off my body.

I was astounded that such a loud and clearly petrified scream did not bring one single person to investigate. Not one single guest in all the rooms surrounding me nor one of the owners or staff came to find out who had screamed so frightfully in the middle of the night or to see what was wrong.

However, that was merely a minor puzzling detail. More importantly to me was my current state of mind and the horrid creature in my room. I focused on myself, feeling pure adrenaline surging through my body and my heart thumping in my chest. I realized that at any moment I could easily burst into tears or else begin hyperventilating or peel out more blood-curdling screams.

Lash panic in greenInstead I tried to get a grip on myself and calm down. I did not in that instant remember to take deep, slow breaths as I’d been trained in my rescue courses. But I did initiate thinking – logical reasoning to assess the situation and latch onto some concrete reasons to calm down instead of fly into pure panic.

I don’t generally have phobias of creatures. No fear of snakes or spiders or bees. In fact, I quite like all of those creatures. What’s more, I actually really love insects in general. I love gazing at the metallic sheen of beetle wings, the kooky dots covering the backs of lady bugs, the crazy alien-like preying mantis.

I enjoy watching ants, bees and other insects going about their business. I don’t even mind insects crawling on me most times. I actually like the feeling of ants crawling on my skin, kind of tickle-y and light. I’m really very fond of insects and other critters.

Brachypelma boehmei Mexican Fire Leg Tarantula  or Mexican fireleg or redleg

The only two insects I do loathe are mosquitoes because they bite and carry nasty diseases and flies, which are filthy and also carry disease. I’ll happily kill those two pests. But any other insect, spider or creature I don’t kill, preferring to simply shoo them away or ignore them.

However, there is one insect that I have a semi-phobia about: cockroaches. Somehow I just find them incredibly disgusting and creepy. It’s phobia in the true sense of the word, with no concrete reason behind the fear.

At least phobias of spiders and snakes have some real basis for fear: many of them are poisonous, even deadly to humans. There’s some bit of sense behind those phobias. Not so with cockroaches. They don’t bite, sting or scratch. They’re not poisonous or dangerous to humans in any way. (Please, please do not tell me if I’m wrong about this).

Waterdrops on cockroach

My phobia of cockroaches is simply inexplicable phobia. It’s not even a full phobia. I can stand to watch them crawling around, to hear them clicking and even to watch them fly, as I’ve seen some roaches in Asia do.

However, if any roach dares to crawl on me, I freak.

This creature that had just landed on me in my small room in a remote town in northern Myanmar at midnight looked just like a giant cockroach. But it hopped. It hopped like a cricket or a grasshopper – suddenly, without warning, and seemingly in random directions. I’d seen them in the guest house hallway the night I’d arrived, surprised to see cockroaches hopping randomly against the wall, and feeling slightly creeped out. They all fling themselves about six inches into the air before falling back to the ground.

Two Crickets - Dos Grillos

At this critical moment, in order to control my threatening panic and to calm down, I told myself the story that this creature was not a cockroach at all, despite its appearances, but a type of cricket. I like crickets. Crickets are cute, fun and cool to watch. I repeated over and over again to myself, “It’s just a cricket. It’s just a cricket”. I took a few deep breaths.

I needed to get that ‘cricket’ out of my room and into the hallway. I couldn’t possibly kill the thing. It would crunch and then ooze. Eee, gads! Those sounds and the image of the resultant mess would haunt me for days. No, the best tactic was to whisk it out into the hallway.

I grabbed a notebook to shove it along and took a deep, calming breathe. Then I bent down and whisked it along the wall towards the door, holding down a ready-to-explode panic stirring in my stomach. That thing simply must not land on me again or I’d freak for sure. Despite my ‘cricket’ chant, it was hard to believe that hideous thing was merely a cricket with its gross anatomy.

蟑螂合租  Yunnan Cockroach Roommate

After the first swipe I quickly stood up and assessed its new position. It was a bit hard to see in the room’s dim light. It’s dark brown color perfectly matched the wood floor. Yes, there it was, a bit closer to the door. I made another gentle swipe, always holding down the verging panic as I bent over. The creature obligingly moved towards the door.

I repeated my careful swipes, edging it closer and closer to the door. Finally, it was right against the door. But before I could open it to swipe the gross thing outside, it suddenly disappeared with a single hop.

 Oh, God, where did it go?!

travel misadventures - panic


I stepped back and slowly surveyed the area near the door with my torch. The creature evaded my gaze for several minutes, but then I found it. Oh, no, no, no, no! It was on top of my bag! That creature thing had its body on my bag and was now a foot higher off the floor. Even worse, it was now quite close to my bed. Oh, shit!

I took a deep breath and quickly brushed it off my bag towards the door. It landed back on the floor, but then, to my horror, it quickly hopped a few times until it was under my bed. No!!!! Within seconds it had hopped to the far end of the room, under my bed, furthest from the door. Oh, crap. I’d have to start my whisking all over again, and from a much more difficult position.

LashworldTour - panic With another deep breath, I began carefully brushing it towards the door again. It was going well until I couldn’t see it for a moment. While searching for the creature, things suddenly became much worse: I found another one in my room! No!!!

Well, there was nothing to do but patiently swish one after the other out my door and into the hallway. So I set to it. After a few minutes I succeeded in getting the first beast out. And after a few more swipes I had the second creature out the door too.

I breathed a sigh of relief. But I carefully and thoroughly scanned my entire room to make sure no more of those disgusting things were in my room. I couldn’t possibly sleep wondering if any more were there, ready to potentially land on me while I was sleeping.

Luckily, I didn’t find any more. But I did zip all my bags firmly closed just in case any were inside. I didn’t know how those two cockroach-cricket things had entered my room, with its solid wood floors, walls and ceiling. Perhaps they had been hiding in my bag? I zipped it very tight indeed.

When I felt absolutely sure none of them were in my room, I finally completely calmed down and heaved a very relieved sigh. Then I bravely turned off my light and climbed back into bed to get some much-needed post-panic shut eye.


You might enjoy some of my other travel misadventures: 

Travel Accident: $23 Cup of Coffee

Tent Escapade



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  1. Talon

    You are not alone. I’ll hold a tarantula, but if a cockroach touches me I want to freak out and swing at everything. When I see one crawling, I hit it so hard with something that it becomes embedded into the surface.

    1. Lash WorldTour

      Same! Tarantulas are way cool!

      thanks for your desciption. I can just imagine you thrashing your arms around… tee hee

      Thanks for stopping by.

      cheers, Lash

  2. jennifer

    GUUUUAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH. I am the same as you. Cockroaches FREAK me out. I know its irrational, they don’t do any harm, etc. But those antennae just make my skin crawl.

    I once had an extremely large waterbug* in my apartment. I screamed bloody murder and had the same experience as you – no response from anyone. So now I know I could be murdered in my own home and no one would do a thing.

    *waterbug – I used to think that “waterbug” was a term used by people who did not want to admit they had roaches. Now I realize there is a difference. Roaches scurry and hide from the light. Waterbugs do not. This is why when one appears in my apartment, it boldy struts around in front of me. They are also way larger than regular roaches.

    Just typing this is making me want to die.

    1. Lash WorldTour

      Hi there,

      Thanks for your amusing comments. Make me laugh.

      Oh, waterbugs, eh? Maybe that creature in my room was a type of waterbug/cricket?

      Thanks for letting me know the difference. I’m sure I’ve seen both.

      cheers, Lash

  3. Wendy Chin

    oh geez… cricket only la… from the picture, it looks more like grasshopper or locust. Imagine if you had a rat jumping onto your face in the night like what I had experienced during one of the camp-outs.

    And yes, I hate cockroaches… my number 1 public enemy in the insect world. And geckos love cockroaches :)

    1. Lash WorldTour

      HI Wendy,

      Well…those pictures are NOT what was in my room that night! (do you think I’d have enough calm -and foresight on a story- that night to pull out my camera and take photos?! No Way!) Instead I had to borrow photos from Flickr CC… Yeah, the ‘cricket’s look like grasshoppers to me, too… but they’re labeled as ‘crickets’ so?

      Rat on your FACE?! Eeekss… I did have a rat run across me one night in Thailand.. DAmn thing ate right through my tent, came in and ran all over me. What nerve!

      Yeah, more people who hate roaches. Now I don’t feel so stupid. :))

      Thanks for stopping by.

      cheers, Lash

  4. Suzy

    I’m not a fan of cockroaches either. I probably wouldn’t have screamed just as you did. They are disgusting!

    1. Lash WorldTour

      Hi Suzy,

      Yes, they’re very disgusting!

      Thanks for stopping by, as usual.

      cheers, Lash

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