I recently returned from a week-long trip to visit my friends in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. I booked my flight in advance, made a very thorough pack list, and seemed to have everything entirely planned out. Of course, preparing so much only paved the way for bumps in the road.
I mean this sincerely when I say, never eat a turkey sandwich from an airport vendor.
That soggy little thing made me so sick to my stomach that I was in a funk my whole flight. There always seems to be something like that when I'm traveling: the Cleveland airport computers get hacked, the screaming child next to me somehow simultaneously passes gas, or I miss a highway exit and end up in the wrong state.
I used to attribute it to the fact that I was an "unlucky traveler", but I've recently gained a newfound sense of appreciation for the irritating side of traveling.
The point of traveling is to get the hell out of your comfort zone.
Sure, it might be nice to get to your destination on time with very few mishaps. But I feel as though life has a funny way of drawing us to people and places we may never have found on our own volition. It's also important to recognize that many people in this world do not have to ability to travel, and that they would gladly deal with logistical annoyances just to get out there.
Some of my most memorable travel experiences started off in quite an unpleasant way. But I've learned- in my state of deep irritation- to take a moment to search for something good.
As I was sprinting through Charleston International Airport looking like a crazed pack mule, desperately trying to make it to the gate, I witnessed a young couple teaching their baby daughter how to walk in the concourse. The joy on their faces when she took her first clumsy steps was precious.
Driving around one night in San Fransisco, my parents were getting frustrated trying to find our hotel on the map (throwback to the pre-GPS era, what a concept). As it turns out, the clip-on reading light we were using washed out all the blue colored roads on the map, so we were lost. But we ended up finding our favorite restaurant of all time, Liverpool Lil's.
Flying home from Philadelphia on a December night, I just wanted to pop in the headphones and catch some z's. The elderly woman next to me asked, "Is it okay if I talk to you while we're flying to distract myself? I'm not good with planes." She ended up telling me her touching life story, and ironically enough, she grew up two towns over from me.
See what I mean?!
No place is perfect. But we often love a place because of its weird imperfections.
The same goes for travel. What's the fun in a trip that looks perfect on paper, when you have no laughable stories to tell to your friends when you get home?
If nothing else, I hope this article serves as a reminder to appreciate the unpredictability of travel.
It's thrilling. It's scary. It's even a little ridiculous.
But it's always an adventure. And who knows what's waiting for you?!