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Meet Melanie Waldon, a digital nomad who travels the world alone. Melanie has visited all 50 US States and 35 other nations. The 16th of December 2022 was her most terrifying travel horror story, which blew everything into the river. On Travel Radio Live, we share travel tales with a focus on travel horror tales, which are uncommon occurrences for most people.

Malanie wrote while she was telling her story;

DO NOT. I REPEAT. DO NOT. TRAVEL TO TURKEY.
DO NOT LISTEN TO ANY WOMAN TELL YOU IT IS SAFE AS LONG AS YOU FOLLOW CUSTOMS AND GOOD TRAVEL ETIQUETTE.
IT IS PATENTLY UNSAFE.
MAKE YOUR DECISION BASED ON WHEN SOMETHING GOES WRONG, NOT WHEN EVERYTHING GOES RIGHT.

I WAS KIDNAPPED BY AN UBER DRIVER YESTERDAY WHO STARTED THE DRIVE BY HUSTLING ME FOR CASH. I asked him to stop so I could find another ride, but he refused. In the end, I just paid him a cash tip that was 1.5 times the fare in an effort to end the harassing. He canceled the ride after entering 10 times the fare on the Uber app. A 40-minute trip had only been underway for 10 minutes. As nothing could find me, I was at his mercy. For 20 minutes, I begged him nonstop to take me to the police station.

He warned me that he would return and beat me up if I didn’t quit. Eventually, he made a remote stop at a bus stop on a three-lane motorway and began throwing my bags out of the car. To prevent him from leaving me stranded and fleeing, I leaped into the driver’s seat and stuffed his ID in my shirt. I then kicked him into the motorway lane as he came over and attempted to take my top off.

There followed this for five minutes. No one halted. I simply honked the car horn and told him to call the cops. His friend finally showed there after more than an hour, and they declined to call the police. When I dialed the Emergency Services 911/112 line, the dispatcher seemed unwilling to accept what was happening and listened to my location explanation. She kept talking over me and accusing me of not telling her where I was or acting politely enough to have her believe me, so I kept calling back. Numerous police vehicles passed by. The cab drivers persuaded a policeman who had stopped far behind on a motorcycle to leave. I came here to receive medical care.

I was the most ill I had ever been. I was heading toward the hospital. By using WhatsApp, I informed my doctor of my whereabouts, spoke with his translator about what was happening, and requested that they call the police.

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The doctor arrived on a motorcycle and listened to the cabbie accuse me of stealing his wallet. The doctor got in the passenger seat and started screaming at me that he was my doctor. I was trapped between him and the car door until I finally got out and had to stand at the edge of the freeway lane of traffic to get away from my own doctor who I had received care from 12 hours before screaming at me that he was there to help.

But he refused to call the cops. He was unable to transport me, my luggage, or my case anyplace. He was left with little choice but to accept the cabbie’s lies, which is completely absurd.

The police eventually arrived after at least two hours. I rushed to their car after getting my bags. Both letting me in and taking me to the station were refused. The doctor yelled at me, accusing me of not treating him with the respect he deserves as a doctor and warning me that the police would not assist me since I was a suspect. I was finally taken to the station by the police once the interpreter came and finished his explanation.

The doctor returned to the operating room angry that his medical expertise somehow did not provide the perfect solution to the issue at hand. Despite the fact that his position as a doctor was his only explanation. Six police officers who were stationed there took the cab drivers’ lies seriously and sought to pin everything on me and the female interpreter for her poor translation skills. I added that I was intimidated and assaulted to every element of the account. I provided all of my video footage, along with my Uber and Google Maps logs.

The taxi driver told them he had threatened me. It wasn’t until the cab driver mentioned that everything was captured on his car camera that I knew to demand that they gather it and view it all. I informed them that I wished to initiate legal action and requested that they gather all relevant documentation to support my claims. They instructed us to visit a separate police station. There was another round of police complaints against me and the translator at the new police station.

They advised me against doing so because I would have to remain in Turkey for the duration of the investigation. The translator then revealed that, like me, she had recently graduated from law school and was a former member of the Air Force. She was the most astute person I could have ever dreamed to meet, let alone as my guardian angel in that situation. She assured me that her area is not a place where she feels comfortable.

She stays away from other people and the police, and her top priority is to protect herself from everyone else. She informed me that she had opted not to pursue a legal career after learning there was no justice to even fight for within the system after completing law school. She reassured me that even if I persisted—something I am financially able to do indefinitely—and despite the abundance of evidence and video evidence surrounding the entire incident, the justice system would, at the very least, render it completely neutral. Most likely, however, they would choose not to press charges.

The translator informed me that no matter what the evidence showed, they would distort it to make it appear that way. It would take a very long time, and a dozen individuals assured me that nothing would come of it. I asked her what the proper cultural course of action should be, and she responded that I should let the cab drivers try to apologize and make a present offer. We agreed to join them for lunch after they offered to buy us a meal. I hoped we might have a discussion so they could have a chance to think about the situation they are placing their riders in.

This is true even though I had been watching my cab driver the entire time and thought he was as icy as a black hole. His one and only goal was to demand money. Before giving me my passport back, the police made me sign a letter they had written by hand in Turkish stating that I would not pursue the matter further. I therefore made an effort to preserve my one and only chance of connecting with them on a human level by allowing them to perform their apologies act.

The cab drivers detailed how they demand cash from their Uber customers and cancel the rides to avoid having to pay Uber the commission on the way to the restaurant. That has never happened throughout my international Uber travels. The fundamental purpose of the Uber system is to prevent this from happening. The Turkish translator was attempting to normalize the situation for me since she is so accustomed to having every man she encounters gaslight her and make the women the problem. Bless her kind soul. But the cab drivers couldn’t even get through twenty minutes of a hurried meal before their lack of regret was evident as they pretended that the bowl of soup they had eaten was their fault.

By the end, I felt so uncomfortable that I simply wanted it to be over because it was obvious that there was no hope of anything positive happening. But now that we were back in their hands, they forced us back into the car with the unreliable driver so he could drive me to my hotel.

The cab driver was screaming and honking at them when he had to press the brakes hard into a skid and almost rear-ended two more automobiles. He demanded payment from the translator when he arrived at my hotel because, according to him, his phone was damaged while he was attacking me (I felt the plastic cover chip under my protective hand, but the phone was unaffected and still worked fine), and he wanted reimbursement for the day’s worth of work he missed out on while kidnapping me. He was fortunate to not be in jail when I told him to unlock the trunk so I could grab my bags. I described his character to the translator, but she wanted to make an effort to fix the problem using the only method we had.

You know, the cab drivers naturally approached me begging for a ride when I arrived at the airport the day before and went outside to catch my Uber. But compared to other places I’ve gone, this one was unique. They began to come at me more forcefully when I said “No.” I immediately became adamant in my No’s to be absolutely clear. The Turkish males, though, were unique. They wouldn’t give up. Before they backed off, it would take six progressively furious “Nos” and my silent gaze fixed on the ground.

The Uber driver wouldn’t cancel the ride and kept driving by me in the cold without stopping. I repeatedly warned him that if he didn’t comply with my demands or directions, I wouldn’t get in his car. He simply kept saying he will take me, but he continued going and I was feeling more and more afraid. Such a strange power move, didn’t it? I’m not sure. Finally, I was able to cancel that ride, and the subsequent one also failed to arrive or stopped short.

The third Uber vehicle pulled up next to me. The other might do it for any reason. And nearly every man I’ve had to interact with has had the same experience as me. When I respond, they immediately react in the opposite way as a blatant denial of what I said as they rush past me in line very closely. It is not omitted. The handling here has a really unique invalidation to it that I haven’t seen anyplace else.

And I’m telling you! I’ve NEVER been afraid like this before. I am afraid when men enter the room behind me because they are so aggressive to make their power known across my personal space. I’m afraid that they are behind me and I don’t hear them. I’ve NEVER ever felt like this before, anywhere. And I’ve not shied away from locations or situations that others have chastised me about. I’ve always been fine.


DO NOT TRAVEL TO TURKEY.

May this be my most amazing trip horror tale.

Five years ago, I visited Prague and Berlin and met some great Turkish men. They were quite kind to me, so of course I wanted to visit this mingling of cultures. Why wouldn’t they? But because I was aware of the misogyny, I hesitated. And recently, as the situation for women in my own nation has drastically deteriorated, I’ve been considering whether or not I should give Turkey a chance. I don’t think they are exhibiting respect in the same manner I did in the Maldives, but I did feel comfortable there.

Perhaps when I arrived everything was as gorgeous as I had hoped for and all the solitary female travelers who had advised staying wise and safe had been correct. Even Turkish ladies I met with indicated they felt safer there than in the US. I therefore made an effort to believe they were correct with all my heart. And I sincerely regret not being able to tell you that. I’m unable. And now I have to choose whether or not to overlook the surgeon’s chauvinism in order to receive the medical care I came here for.

He is a medical genius and a byproduct of his society. I can try to make the best of it by pretending that I offered the cab drivers a chance to act honorably. May the doctor show himself to be more honorable when he isn’t involved in a kidnapping.

They all desired for me to be insane. But what if the cab driver had made a different choice? He had the option to leave the car with me at any time. Or abandon me at any time and anywhere. The police also refused to arrive. That was amply demonstrated for hours. If no one would stop even when they saw a woman throwing a man off of her, how would I manage to leave the side of that freeway? To a random pull-off on the side of the freeway big enough for one bus, where automobiles aren’t supposed to stop, call another random cab.

After 20 hours in the nation, taken a bus I knew nothing about? I didn’t think about that alternative because I assumed the police would soon arrive. I was unaware that the cops and 911 would decline to respond. That they would keep me on the side of the motorway and decline to take me to safety at the police station where I could file a report and locate a safe exit was something I didn’t know until the translator eventually got them there. Everything about this encounter was out of this world.

Numerous distinct things could have occurred in a variety of ways at any time. And you couldn’t have known what the possibilities may have been until you had been there to live it. It’s amusing to think that the individual who threatened me, tried to take my clothing off, and extorted money from me could never have been more desperate. Anything may have happened.

And how, while being at the mercy of all those factors at once, could I have realized what it may be? Armchair quarterbacking is largely irrelevant, so use this knowledge however you see fit. As a seasoned, capable, and comfortable single traveler, I would never have imagined that anything like this could ever happen to me. I have my tale now.

Turkey is unsafe, I’m trying to say. IN PARTICULAR FOR WOMEN. I really wanted to report something different, but the truth is that I’m fine and can just give this warning.

Melanie Waldon is a member of Digital Nomad Around The World, where she shared her travel horror story in Turkey. It appeared though, that the post have been pull down on the community. First, comment section was closed, secondly, the post can no longer be found. Melanie’s Facebook has been linked to her name in this paragraph.