Travel isn’t always as seamless and trouble-free as Instagram would have you believe. To prove it, our featured contributor Leon McCarron asked his adventurous friends to share their most memorable travel stuff-ups.

There was a time in my life, in the middle of a long bike tour in Asia, when I got excited about camping in odd places: Sleeping in the middle of roundabouts, on top of unfinished shopping malls and inside kebab shops broke up the occasional tedium of the task.

In southern China, I spotted a large concrete pipe near an old quarry and unloaded my gear just as the hailstones started. It was fantastic, I thought. How clever I am! Unfortunately, the pipe was a lot narrower than I thought, and I couldn’t straighten my shoulders.

Immediately, my back began to cramp, but it was raining outside. What kind of idiot would go out into that? What followed was one of the most miserable nights of my life—made worse by the local rat population who decided to cosy up with me…