If travel has taught me anything, it’s that unforeseen circumstances are bound to happen from time to time and it’s how we react to those situations that can make all the difference. As I continue my plan of visiting every country in the world, I’ve learned many things, including how to lie back and enjoy the ride — even if that ride takes you someplace entirely unexpected.
Yes, traveling itself can be tedious. The long lines, the delays — and don’t get me started on airplane food. Sometimes those sky miles can all blur into one big, boring journey best forgotten. However, I did take one plane ride that’s indelibly burned into my brain — thanks to my ex-husband.
Blame it on stupid husband tricks. My ex, who owned a plane, knew I’d been working very hard and burning the candle at both ends. I spent decades as an attorney and I was a partner at Susman Godfrey at the time, so he offered me use of his plane for a business trip. I asked my colleague Karl Stern to accompany me to handle a client’s deposition in Bermuda.
Hours later, we landed and hopped into a cab, asking the driver to take us to our hotel on Ocean Avenue. Puzzled, he turned around and said, “You are in the right country, aren’t you?” I answered, “Well, this is Bermuda?” He explained, “Ma’am, you are in The Bahamas.”
Talk about the cliche of how men never listen to women. This was quite a mix-up and proof my ex didn’t listen very well when I told him we were Bermuda-bound. It’s something I can laugh about now — but at the time, it was stressful because I completely missed the deposition.
In the end, life is too short to be preoccupied with stressful things, especially when traveling. Even some of my most frustrating travel experiences don’t keep me down for long. I was detained once in Turkmenistan due to a visa snafu, but in the long run, it was a minor inconvenience that now makes a good travel tale.
I have read that more Americans are traveling internationally this summer and I think that’s wonderful news. The joy of planning a trip and looking back at those precious memories is unmatched. Instead of filling our lives with stuff, it’s much better to focus on culturally enriching encounters. When I ask people what they wish they had more of in their life, they almost always respond with “travel.”
The benefits of traveling are endless. When I think about my many excursions around the world, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention how much joy visiting new places brings me. I’ve made numerous pen pals during these journeys and have not only learned about new places, but also connected with other cultures. I have seen, felt, and experienced things I never would have if I didn’t boldly make plans to visit distant new destinations.
Travel is not only a creativity booster and a tremendous stress reliever but it turns out you can learn lessons in the most unlikely places. While I have had perfect travel experiences, sometimes things don’t go as planned and you have to learn to just roll with it. I tend to preplan as much as I can so I don’t have to waste time while I’m exploring. I want to get the most out of wherever I’m going, and that includes researching iconic places to check out while I’m there and must-stop shops and dining destinations.
While it’s always terribly sad when a vacation comes to an end, there’s always the promise of the next trek to inspire us. I am delighted to be returning to Australia and Africa later this year. There is still so much to see, even on repeat trips, and I always look forward to meeting new people soaking up local cultural offerings. I can’t wait to snap more photos and escape in nature for a while. A serious case of wanderlust is beneficial for the soul. If you haven’t had an opportunity to travel this summer, plan to do something this fall. You never know how a trip might change your life. You could make a new friend in a foreign land or discover a favorite new food. You could come upon a band in a marketplace playing an unfamiliar song or learn something about history that completely shifts your perspective. Travel gives us the freedom to not only peruse new locales, but also catch a deeper glimpse into ourselves. You just have to be brave enough to pull out your passport and say yes to whatever might be awaiting you across the world.