Why I Travel: To Strengthen My Skills in Handling Adversity

When traveling, I've learned that there are two words that are bound to hit me at some point:

Scheisse Happens

From Around Lima, post wedding

It is inevitable that something will go wrong. Whether it's something little like forgetting my toothbrush on a business trip (done that), or something that threatens my chances of entering a foreign country like being detained at Heathrow in London (done that, too). It doesn't matter, I've learned that somewhere along the way something will test my patience, my sanity and my creative problem-solving skills. My history is a tad demoralizing:

+ I got separated from my friends, stuck on a train in Italy and ended up in Milan instead of Venice

+ I came down with some kind of intestinal issue for 3 days in Vietnam, one night of which I spent convinced I was being eaten up from the inside out

+ Through some computer glitch, I booked an non-existent flight to Cusco, Peru; then my replacement flight was delayed due to weather, and I ended up never leaving Lima to visit Machu Picchu.

+ I somehow completely forgot to arrange for a visa to visit Australia until the gentleman at the United Airlines counter asked to see mine.

+ Most recently, bipolar British Airways has been putting my emotions through the wringer as I prepare to fly BA to Europe for Elise & Matty's wedding. Since March, the BA cabin crew has gone on strike, off strike, threatened to strike again, canceled their strike under government pressure, and now has gone back on strike just in time for my departure next Tuesday evening.

Surviving and getting through each of these hassles has helped me to learn how to work through adversities of many kinds. I've learned how to roll with the proverbial punches and take on a "this too shall pass" attitude toward various stresses in my life. That's not to say that I don't get worked up a little now and then. Happy hour with my girlfriends tonight was mixed with not-so-happy concerns as soon as I got a text from a friend telling me about the on-again BA strike. But a few deep breaths, and some positive encouragement from my friends kept me from going into stress-mode. And sure enough, when I checked the status of my flights when I got home, all my flights to Europe were confirmed to fly as scheduled.


My return flights back to the States? Those are up in the air (or will they be? ba dum ching) for now. I will depart Phoenix for London, Amsterdam and Oslo next Tuesday, without the confirmation that I will be returning as scheduled. Looks like I'll continue to roll with the punches until those flights are announced on June 1. And that's ok by me. I've had plenty of practice so far.