When Things Go Wrong

When Things Go Wrong

When I think of my upcoming travel plans, I imagine 50+ different ways I’m going to have fun and be blown away. The sights and sounds of Europe combined with the chance to meet both locals and fellow backpackers, a recipe for the time of my life.

I see myself eating croissants in Paris, dancing up a storm at a nightclub in Prague and maybe even sampling some of the treats Amsterdam has to offer. We all do it, focus on all the great things ahead of us and not even give a thought to anything going wrong. Why would you, when your concentrating so hard on heading overseas where everything is so new and exciting.

Crying ChildBut what happens when something goes wrong. Are you the type to panic, burst into tears and phone home to mum and dad or do you stand strong and tackle the problem head on?

My entire trip preparation has been a breeze, not a stumbling block in sight. That was until a volcano nobody can pronounce the name of decided to blow its top and fill the sky with ash. Now the once busy Heathrow Airport is deserted and the only thing you’ll see in the sky is a bird or two above Europe. Will I fly out to Paris this Saturday or not? I don’t think anybody knows the answer to that one just yet.

I’m lucky that everything planned for my trip is open to change and deviation. Another great reason to only ever plan a tentative travel itinerary. If I get to Europe this week or next so be it, I’m not going to loose sleep over something out of my control.

The same goes for when I land abroad. Bad things will happen, just like they can when your still at home. Maybe I’ll just screw up the time of my next flight like poor Lauren did when I caught up with her in Melbourne earlier this year. Sure it was an inconvenience and cost extra money but would getting all worked up about it have helped? Instead I scored extra time to chat with her and we relaxed with a few beers. Sure Lauren would have loved to be home that night but I’m sure she still had fun (I hope).

Worse still you might get robbed or caught up in a scam like Lindsay did in Southeast Asia. You always hear stories about certain places so if your going somewhere that is known for scams or pick pockets be sure to keep your wits about you and be prepared that it may happen to you.

Knowing what your in for and being willing to roll with the punches is all part of backpackers need to know guide book. Some things are easily overcome with copies of travel documents and a stash of cash and a credit card. Others like plane cancellations or your hostel burning down are going to leave you stopped in your tracks.

If I’m confronted with any of these while abroad I’ll be annoyed but know that it will just be another note for my journal, a story to be re-told and laughed about. Travel with an open mind and a smart head, then leave the rest up to destiny.

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37 Responses to When Things Go Wrong

  1. ANDI April 19, 2010 at 11:32 PM #

    It’s all about adaptability!!! You can’t plan change, it’s gonna happen if you like it or not, so might as well embrace it. If you can’t fly Saturday look at it as extra days to be with your family or to organize your backpack. 🙂
    .-= Andi´s last blog ..India: Day 1 =-.

    • THE AUSSIE NOMAD April 20, 2010 at 2:28 PM #

      Adaptability indeed Andi. Mum’s happy I could be home longer but also sad because my dad and her depart for a caravan trip to Darwin next week. She’s worried now she won’t be able to see me off at the airport.

      Just take it as it comes I say.

  2. SASHA April 19, 2010 at 11:18 PM #

    Great Post!!! It’s so true that you never think about all the things that could go wrong just all the things that could go right!!! I never expected to land in China to a supposedly guaranteed job only to have it fall through!!! But looking at the positives I got to spend an extra week in Beijing, accommodation and meal provided. Then to arrive at my job and new home, have my toilet explode and the same day the power go off for 19hours! lol

    I think its best always to expect the worst can happen so your never entirely shocked! At the sametime having an optimistic attitude will keep you sane. Look for all the positives in every situation no matter how bad it is, there’s always something to be gained or learnt!!! 🙂

    I hope the sky’s clear soon so you can be off of your way and writing about your adventures in Europe!!! Can’t wait to read them!!! 🙂

    • THE AUSSIE NOMAD April 20, 2010 at 2:26 PM #

      Hey Sasha. That’s so true, look on the positive side of things and just go with it. Nothing good comes from throwing a hissy fit. I used to deal with customers at work and them getting angry etc with me just made me less inclined to help them out.

  3. CHRISTINE April 20, 2010 at 8:23 AM #

    So true! Although I am pretty happy that I didn’t get TOO worried about the volcano since I just found out that my flight is clear to fly tomorrow–I’m sure yours will be set by Saturday 🙂 As I stressed out about planning things, my mom finally sat me down, looked at me, and told me that while money doesn’t solve all problems, it certainly can solve a lot. The jist of her point: enjoy the experience, even if you have to pay a little bit extra when things go wrong. There’s no point worrying about things if you can fix them or if they’re out of your control. Cheers to successful travel plans!
    .-= Christine´s last blog ..There’s no place like home =-.

    • THE AUSSIE NOMAD April 20, 2010 at 2:34 PM #

      I am so jealous Christine. Looks like I’m going to be delayed but still unsure. What ever happens, happens. Working myself up or getting worried about it all will only serve to stress my poor mum out even more 🙂

  4. CORNELIUS AESOP April 19, 2010 at 11:55 PM #

    Wow, I’ve been really out of the loop with no cable and not really spending time on the internet for a weekend I didn’t even realize what was possibly postponing your trip-a volcano! Hope all goes well, good to see you have a go with the flow attitude. I’m sure it will help you during the bumps in the road during your travels.
    .-= Cornelius Aesop´s last blog ..Savannah Riverboat Cruises =-.

    • THE AUSSIE NOMAD April 20, 2010 at 2:29 PM #

      Hey Cornelius. My no worries attitude is defiantly the way to go right now. Can’t stop the volcano from erupting so just going to accept it and spent more time at home with the folks.

  5. BROOKE VS. THE WORLD April 20, 2010 at 9:18 AM #

    I’m going to have to pull on the knowledge gained from watching the Mike Tyson documentary this weekend: Did you know that when he was training and fighting to be heavyweight champion, he went 5 years without having sex? He said it wasn’t a problem because he knew that after that it would just feel so good. haha. Your Euro trip is just like that 😉 Hopefully, though, it doesn’t take you 5 years to get there.
    .-= Brooke vs. the World´s last blog ..Learning Like a Child: Host Family Flashback Part 1 =-.

  6. SPUNKYGIRL April 20, 2010 at 12:58 AM #

    Great post Chris.

    There are always bumps in the road, and it’s how we handle those bumps that define us. It sucks to delay travel (believe me, I know!). But it can be for the better.

    Being open and flexible is a big part of travel.
    .-= SpunkyGirl´s last blog ..I inherited crazy genes… =-.

    • THE AUSSIE NOMAD April 20, 2010 at 2:31 PM #

      Bumps in the road for sure Pam. The delay doesn’t worry me its more the jacked up prices in Europe that could be a dent for my wallet when I do arrive.

      Such is life, I’ll get to Europe eventually 🙂

  7. MONICA April 20, 2010 at 10:36 AM #

    Things that go wrong are the kind of stories and memories that you will remember the most. Things go wrong when you travel. It’s a universal law. It will happen. You just have to accept it and go with the flow. Stop planning and start living. That’s why you travel in the first place.

    Hope you make it out to Paris with no delays. Bon voyage!
    .-= Monica´s last blog ..One Week Itinerary For Honduras =-.

    • THE AUSSIE NOMAD April 20, 2010 at 2:37 PM #

      Thanks Monica. All you can do is accept that things may go wrong. Loosing sleep over the problem won’t solve it and I rather enjoy a good nights sleep 🙂

  8. CAILIN April 20, 2010 at 10:58 AM #

    I think Brooke said it best!!
    Once something goes wrong there is really not much you can do about it, its already happened. you just have to try to get around it and prevent it if at all possible from happening again 🙂 Learn from your lessons. Smile and laugh. if you don’t want things to go wrong then don’t leave your house! 🙂
    Great post!

    • THE AUSSIE NOMAD April 20, 2010 at 2:39 PM #

      Hey Cailin. Even if you never leave your house things can still go wrong. Just part of how it all works really. I’m still happy and enjoying the fact I might get a few more nights with my parents.

      I know I’ll fly out eventually and will have a story to discuss with other travellers when I do make it abroad.

  9. SABINA April 20, 2010 at 11:32 AM #

    What a great attitude, Chris! Particularly in light of the fact that you really might not get your trip started when planned. I think you will, personally. But you’re right. The right outlook can make a black situation look just light brown.
    .-= Sabina´s last blog ..Through the Grey Eyes of Rain – Prague Undiscovered =-.

    • THE AUSSIE NOMAD April 20, 2010 at 2:41 PM #

      Oh Sabina. I spoke to Singapore Airlines and its looking like I might get bumped a week. So I don’t leave, at least I’ll have more time to ensure my backpack is stocked with what I need.

  10. MATT April 20, 2010 at 12:15 PM #

    Excellent post Chris. It’s all about preparing for the unexpected – it inevitably makes us (travelers) stronger and more balanced people at the end of the day. As for your flight, fingers crossed it goes. Cheers.
    .-= Matt´s last blog ..Friday Travel Photo: Cliffs of Moher, Ireland =-.

    • THE AUSSIE NOMAD April 20, 2010 at 2:42 PM #

      Cheers Matt. All we can do is prepare for the unexpected and roll with it. I might be disappointed I won’t fly on Saturday but I’m still going to get there. Could be much worse things happening to me.

  11. CAILIN April 20, 2010 at 12:48 PM #

    fingers crossed you make it and nothing bad goes your way! 🙂

    • THE AUSSIE NOMAD April 24, 2010 at 8:51 PM #

      All worked out so far. I’m sitting in Singapore Airport 🙂

  12. BROOK MITCHELL April 20, 2010 at 4:13 PM #

    My Dad has been in South America and has run into the earthquake in Chile, the recent mudslides in Rio and now the eruption canceling a flight to Europe. He just booked passage to Europe on a container ship from Rio to London (after being told it could be a month before he could get another flight). Maybe you could go old school, a 10 Dollar Aussie going the other way. Hope you can get going soon.
    .-= Brook Mitchell´s last blog ..6 Of The Best London Happy Hours =-.

  13. ASHLEY April 20, 2010 at 7:16 AM #

    The good news is I hear flights are starting up, so you should be fine by Saturday pending any more craziness! Also, things happen while traveling, but you having an open mind and staying calm in the situation always helps. You’ll be having fun before you know it and rolling with the punches!!! I’m jealous!

    • THE AUSSIE NOMAD April 20, 2010 at 2:33 PM #

      Hey Ashley. Flights are suppose to start up today I think but that was decided before the volcano went and blew more glass and rock into the sky.

      Just spoke to Singapore Airlines and I could be bumped back till the 2nd of May. Going to call again later as I had trouble understanding everything they said.

      • ASHLEY April 20, 2010 at 10:03 PM #

        Yikes! Best of luck!!!
        .-= Ashley´s last blog ..Finding a Piece of Home Abroad – How do you cope? =-.

  14. HEATHER April 20, 2010 at 9:01 PM #

    You’re maintaining a really positive attitude about it all. You have to! And this perspective is going to help you cherish all of the fun, good, or easy moments to come and take on the challenging ones that may still be out there.

    It’ll be that much sweeter when you do get to Paris 🙂
    .-= Heather´s last blog ..noplacelikeoz: Not sure how I’m doing to do with my eye doc appt today when I’m so tired. =-.

  15. KIRSTY April 21, 2010 at 8:29 AM #

    Who could have ever predicted this one? It’s crazy and I have a lot of friends stranded in various parts of the world at the moment as a result. But your attitude is great… there’s really nothing you can do about it so just hang back, hope for the best and if your departure date gets pushed back, accept it and look forward to what’s in store because it’ll be great!
    .-= Kirsty´s last blog ..Checking in Again from Haiti =-.

    • THE AUSSIE NOMAD April 24, 2010 at 8:53 PM #

      So far its all worked out Kristy. I’m in Singapore and awaiting my connecting flight to paris. As long as that volcano stays quiet for the next 24 hours I’ll be one happy little aussie.

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