Can we just discuss for a moment here the fact that a picture of someone reading from the Kindle app on their iPad is nowhere near as artsy and appealing as a picture of someone reading an actual book?
In 2012 we decided to do our first “giant” trip that involved planes, trains, and automobiles, multiple weeks, and multiple countries in Europe. We started out in Brussels, headed to a fifth floor (EUROPEAN fifth floor, so really sixth floor. Don’t let them try to fool you) walk-up with narrow curlicue stairs in the Gambetta in Paris, then went off to Madrid, Barcelona, and back to Brussels before flying back to Zambia.
There are many things you can’t plan ahead for while traveling, no matter how dedicated, resourceful, and thorough you try to be. Like, for instance, a rotovirus outbreak.
You can’t plan for a rotovirus outbreak, people. YOU CAN’T PLAN FOR THIS.
I’m sure you’ve heard that what you do on the first day of the year will set the pattern for the year to come.
Actually, you may not have heard it, and I may have made it up. I did try searching that phrase, but I couldn’t find a Google link, which seems to indicate that I just randomly decided that it is a thing. Whatever. It’s a good thing.
So there I am, at the bottom of The Peak Tram in Hong Kong. I’m soaking wet. I’ve managed to wrench my back somehow and am in the sort of pain only someone whose back lived through a pregnancy resulting in a nearly twelve pound baby can be. It’s raining. And worst of all – the won ton soup I had ordered at the top of The Peak had smelled like someone took the shrimp for a sun-filled vacation in a rotting sewer. It was sent back, of course. And I got no won ton soup.
Sometimes you have these days when you travel. “But!” I told myself. “Hey! I’m in Hong Kong! That’s awesome! And we’ll just take a cab back to the hotel, chill and dry, then get some won ton soup somewhere else! Really, I’m totally ahead on this!”
It has come time for our family to visit our home. Home being, in this case, California. Which, to be fair, is most people’s idea of a vacation. So that’s kind of like winning the travel lottery, really, and it can be quite a money-saver when it all comes down to it.
We’ve traveled enough that we have definite airport preferences – because any traveler can tell you exactly how much an airport can make or break a good visit. Everything – from services, to concession hours, to cleanliness, to available connections, to the attitude of employees, to outside traffic, to the prices of rental cars – EVERYTHING in an airport adds up.
And when I say everything, I mean everything. Like Ebola hand washing stations. Those definitely add up.
Several months ago I went to hear a talk about travel. This one, one which I’ve had a chance to quote several times since, dealt specifically with the issue of travel safety. Plus, we got to play with some fun toys.
On the other hand, the vast majority of the world does not house terrifying specters of Jack the Ripper, just waiting to pounce on unsuspecting tourists and go all Sweeney Todd on their innards, either. Still, it doesn’t help to be prepared. But how does one do that?
It boils down to this: if you know a little about the culture of the place you are going to visit, you can probably figure out a lot of stuff that might stymie a tourist who isn’t as interested in a spot of adventure.
And sometimes the best way to know what to do is to know what *NOT* to do.