Sunday, April 8, 2018

When Things Go Wrong (Travel Edition)

We are very lucky to travel frequently and to many different parts of the world. Regardless of where we go, though, some "travel truths" remain constant. One of those truths is that things don't always go as planned, no matter how much planning you do in advance. I post many of our vacations on this blog, but I usually don't dwell on the things that went wrong. In some way, I feel I might've contributed to the overall effect of our era of social media, blogs, and travel lust: filtering our life experiences in the rosiest possible way and obscuring the challenges.

Well, here I am doing my part to bust that myth! M and I have missed trains we booked in advance, showed up to restaurants that were closed, trekked to the top of famous vistas only to find the clouds were so white and thick we couldn't see anything, and chosen a hike we thought would be nice only to get bogged down in mud halfway. Our most recent iteration of this phenomenon was our venture to Whakapapa in New Zealand. I was so excited to try the scenic chairlift ride to the top of Mount Ruapehu and to dine at the highest cafe in the country... But we learned the day we arrived there that the lift and cafe were temporarily shut down due to visibility and safety issues.

We tried our best to make the most of our excursion (and the fact that we were already in the area) and took a short walk from the base of the non-functioning chairlift to Meads Wall, where they filmed part of Lord of the Rings and where we were hoping to catch a glimpse of Mount Doom. Of course, as we were walking, a freezing rain picked up and we could barely see anything due to the clouds and mist. I only captured one photo (above), where you can (kind of) tell that the terrain is similar to where Isildur cut off Sauron's finger along with the One Ring.

When you travel enough, it becomes inevitable that you run into these situations. They usually become funny stories later, but at the time they can be so disappointing! So, my advice to fellow travelers is this: especially if you're a planner, make back-up plans (especially when nature and weather are involved). When things go wrong, it's totally fine to be frustrated. You don't have to force yourself to be happy about it - there was probably a reason you included whatever it was in your plan from the beginning.

Once you've allowed yourself some time to process your disappointment, I've found it's easier to move on and discover something different and interesting to do with your newfound time. Perhaps you'll even find a hidden gem you couldn't have planned in advance, whether it's a tucked away nature trail or charming café or newfound friend. Who knows? Whatever life has in store for you that day might be even better than you planned.

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