Traveling is such a joy and something I value deeply in my life, so I felt conflicted when thinking of writing this post. I want to present travel in its best light to help as many people as I can take the leap to go on their travel journey. But we all know at times things can go sideways when traveling, as in any situation in life. A couple quick tips for dealing with travel mishaps:
- Don’t Panic: No matter how dire, scary, or hopeless a situation may feel it is important to not panic and keep a level head. You are going to need to keep your mind clear to make sound decisions in order to mitigate the impact of any travel challenge. Take a breath. Gather your wits. Move forward.
- Seek Help: Everywhere we have been in the world there are always friendly, helpful people who are more than happy to assist you in your time of need. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, even if the first couple of attempts don’t prove fruitful. Keep an open mind and don’t let your pride keep you from someone who can help.
- Keep Perspective: In the throws of some unforeseen incident that threatens to derail your adventure, it feels like the worst thing ever. Try to take a moment to put into perspective what is happening. No matter what, it could always be worse.
These are great tips, but there is one thing that above all else will aid in dealing with a travel test:
Find The Humor
In all of the challenging instances I have found myself in during travel I have discovered the best thing we can do is find the joy and humor in it. Being able to laugh, even if you want to cry, goes a long way in keeping things in a manageable head space and help to overcome challenges. In the spirit of bringing humor to hard situations, we thought we would share some of our favorite travel blunder stories. In the moment and looking back it is good to laugh at things.
Mountain Biking In Nepal
It started off a glorious day. The sun was shining and we were excited to set off on our adventure. We rented our bikes and headed out with a local guide to the outskirts of the Kathmandu Valley. This ride was called the “Marijuana Loop,” taking us around the valley where Marijuana used to grow and up high to get a glimpse of the Himalayas and overlook the city. The whole day could not have gone better, we were all laughing and having a great time. As we were heading back into the city we crossed through a field and had to navigate a small concrete bridge. As I approached the bridge our guide decided he wanted to stop in the trail and take a selfie (not a joke.) I was forced to stop on the bridge, which was too narrow to put my foot down. I proceeded to tip over and fall head first into a ditch. If that wasn’t bad enough, the ditch was filled with what I will call “mud” and I got covered head to toe in it. I try not to think about what it actually was, but let’s just say it smelled like something other than dirt. The ride back to the hotel was not fun and at the time it was difficult to laugh. But once I got cleaned up we had a good time reliving the hilarity of the scene.
Getting Lost In Chile
At the time this situation was a bit stressful, but it is now one of my favorite memories. This was my first time in Chile and my friend and I caught a local bus and were making our way to a National Park not to far outside Santiago. We wanted to do some hiking and looked forward to being outside. We looked up directions and did everything we thought possible to get ourselves there on public transit. When our stopped arrived we got off the bus and were excited to be there. We made our way to the next bus stop and waited a good while before we started to question the situation. It just felt like the shuttle to the park was taking too long. We decided to ask a few people in town how to get to the park. Come to find out the park was closed at the time for some work to be done. So there we were, stranded in this little town a few hours out of Santiago, no shuttle, and the bus was not coming back until the next day. We tried to stay calm and thought about what to do. Let’s ask around for alternative options, maybe someone knows a way out of here. Luckily we met a very nice taxi driver who was from the town. He offered to spend the day showing us around and teaching us about his community. It truly was a gift meeting him and having this experience. He was also kind enough to get us to the closest town to catch the subway back to Santiago at the end of the day. If we had panicked or lost our sense of humor we might still be there!
Missing All OUR Connecting Flights
We had just ended an incredible trip in Kolkata, India and were waiting to catch our connecting flight back home through Germany. Sitting in the small airport in Kolkata we all of a sudden hear that our flight has been canceled due to worker strikes. Great, we thought, well now to make a plan B. As we were trying to make plans to maybe take the train to Dehli and fly from there, or fly back to Kenya and home from there, or take a donkey cart or something we again hear the loud speaker; our flight was boarding! Wait, what? Wasn’t it cancelled? We didn’t ask questions, grabbed our bags, went back through security and just made the flight before it left, albeit four hours late. We were happy to catch the flight, but realized we were going to miss our connection in Munich and would have to spend the night. We found a nice hotel and got a good night sleep. The next morning we were scheduled to fly out to Washington DC, then home to Seattle. Just before we were to board our flight it was announced that it was delayed due to weather in DC. So we left late, got in late and missed our connection in DC… Another night in a hotel and another try the next day. As we sat in the DC hotel that night we couldn’t help but laugh at how everything possible had gone wrong. We decided that we built up enough travel Karma that we would be good to go for some years. We eventually made it home and were able to find the humor after the fact.