Travel Thoughts by Kim
Let’s go on an adventure together…when things don’t go as planned!
I tend to paint a joyful, easy picture of traveling and probably 95+% of the time, that’s absolutely correct. But…..it would be unfair to not tell you about some of the times traveling did not go exactly as planned. Oh, those times can certainly be challenging, upsetting, frustrating, and, yes, even a bit scary at the time! But, every one of them turned out to be times that I look back on with a chuckle and a reminder that sometimes it’s the not so perfect things that become our most interesting of memories! You’ve got to try to keep calm and keep your sense of humor or you can risk totally ruining your vacation for something you have absolutely no control over. Here are just a few examples that I now laugh about:
First: the issue of lost luggage. I’ve heard stories about this, but honestly, I’ve flown a LOT between all the years of off and on business travel and traveling for pleasure and it has only happened to me one time. I was flying from Raleigh to Buffalo when I lived in NC to come home to Albion for Christmas. I got to Buffalo and my luggage didn’t join me. The airline was great. They told me they would find it and bring it to me as soon as they got it back. Luckily, I was visiting my Mom and it wasn’t an issue to not have my luggage – just a minor inconvenience. The airline found it right away and delivered it to Mom’s the next day! I discovered that it went to California!!! I had a serious talk with that suitcase – I told it that I am nice enough to take it with me everywhere I go and it had the unmitigated gall to go to sunny California and let me continue on to snowy Buffalo! Hahaha But, seriously, this is something that happens from time to time…..it can be a lot more than a minor inconvenience, depending the situation. But, there isn’t much you can do about it – the airline will usually find it and get it to you as quickly as they can. Plus, it’s a good reminder to pack at least one good change of clothes and your medications in your carry-on bag. Also, ensure you have your name, address, and phone # on your checked bag with other visual things to distinguish it (stickers, ribbons, something)…..AND – ALWAYS take a photo of your luggage with your phone before you leave in case you need to give it to the people who will be searching for it.
Getting lost: I am one of the most directionally challenged individuals on the planet. I have gotten lost all over the world – I used to say “all across the country”, but I recently got lost trying to find my way back to my hotel in Rome, so I’ve upgraded the reference. One of my favorite stories was when I was in Colorado in 2019. A tour guide told me that Cripple Creek and Victor were wonderful old cowboy towns and I should definitely put them on my agenda. So I did! I found my way there and visited both towns – it was not a good day to go because everything I wanted to see was either closed or I just plain couldn’t find it. So, I looked around, got some great photos and tried to head back to Colorado City. Well….my GPS kept trying to put me on questionable looking dirt roads and the one highway it kept directing me to was the one between the two towns with no exits. I literally drove that one highway EIGHT TIMES between Cripple Creek and Victor and could not find my way back to Colorado City. I found myself singing the words to the Eagles’ Hotel California – “you can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave!” Since the towns were literally closed, I couldn’t find anyone to help direct me – I was on my own. I finally gave in and took one of the dirt roads, thinking my GPS must know what it’s talking about. It ended up being a STEEP windy one lane path with lots of big boulders to maneuver around that ended with a fence that said “No Trespassing – Do Not Enter!” I had to do a very precarious three point turn and climb back up out onto the paved road – luckily I had a SUV that managed the climb and the boulders very nicely. I did find my way back – without the help of my GPS, which I threw into the back seat after that mess – I just kept turning in the direction I thought would get me there and bam – there I was! Moral of that story: I was pretty scared and worried at the time, but I survived and I now have a story that I really enjoy telling and I think of it every time Hotel California comes on the radio.
Flight issues: Flight delays and cancellations are never fun. But, please remember that it isn’t the fault of the poor airline personnel who you have to deal with. Don’t take it out on them. It only makes them less likely to help you and puts you in a foul mood. One example were I was actually the only one to blame was when I went to Hawaii in 2020. I somehow misjudged my time and arrived at the airport too late to make my flight. The airport staff were great and got me on the next flight, but I was a bundle of nerves and my imagination went wild on me. I ended up with a very tight layover that even the slightest delay would have caused me to not only miss my connecting flight in JFK, but also the first day of my cruise to Hawaii! It all worked out, but it was the most tense few hours of my life. Another recent example was when I went to Scotland earlier this year with 19 others on a group trip. Our flight out of Glasgow was delayed enough that we knew before we left that we were likely going to miss our connecting flight in Amsterdam – and we did miss it! We lucked out having Mitzy from Orleans Travel actually traveling with us – it wasn’t easy getting 17 people rebooked (2 didn’t need to stay with us), but she worked her magic and got us all home. It wasn’t without much more drama and the need to stay overnight in Amsterdam, but we all survived and eventually got home and we all have an awesome story to tell.
These are just a few examples that stick out as times things didn’t go as planned for me. My point to this is that things are bound to happen from time to time. The important thing to remember is to not let it totally ruin your trip or your well-being. It is usually just one of those things – you’ll survive – it will work out somehow. Just try to stay calm and don’t shoot the messenger – getting all upset won’t change the situation. Remember, you’ll likely end up laughing about it when looking back at it.
For more details on the stories behind these examples, check out these blog posts:
Drama At The Airport: https://thoughtsbykim.com/2020/02/14/drama-at-the-airport/
Scotland Flight Delay: https://thoughtsbykim.com/2022/05/24/2022-scotland-adventure-part-three/