Let me start this off by saying that I am not a horrible Grinch of a person.
I AM horribly sarcastic. Sarcasm is the purest form of punching someone in the face with words that I have discovered. Unless they don’t understand and then it’s just awkward turtle (is that still a thing?). But until I find a better way of passive-aggressively dealing with my utter inability to communicate in a normal manner…sarcasm is my ride-or-die.
Anyway, I was adulting today and while updating my calendars I realized I have a bunch of traveling coming up. Cue the celebratory trumpets: adventures await!
With adventures comes…well. What it takes to get to your adventures. Basically, you have to earn your adventures these days. It’s like the pre-test to make sure you can actually handle a great trip.
And really, there is no way that it’s just me whose blood pressure goes up a few ticks when this stuff happens.
Or maybe I am a horrible Grinch of a person. With that, here are a bunch of super fun (see? sarcasm!) things I adore about today’s travel! In no particular order. I hope you like GIFs.
1. Bad landings. I am a pilot’s daughter, and rank all landings on a scale of 1-10. If the entire flight is smooth but the landing blows? Experience ruined. The Emirates landing below would be in the Arctic cold NEGATIVE range on my scale.
2. Side note on bad landings – IF, and ONLY IF, your plane landing was this epically awful are you allowed to clap upon coming to a screeching non-fiery halt. Otherwise? No claps.
3. Baggage claim weirdos. The sole purpose of the baggage claim carousel-of-high-hopes-that-my-spectacularly-indistinguishable-suitcase-made-it is to deliver said bag. Not to stage medieval warfare over who gets to post up closest to the moving carousel, not to demonically glare at everyone around you, not to lean so far over that your jacket gets stuck in the moving parts and you have to run around the entire carousel attempting freedom. That last one was not me.
You can, however, ride the damn thing if you practice tai chi the entire time with a straight face. Thank you Michelle Rodriguez.
4. At the gate, if your unpronounceable name is called 17 times over the PA before the door is closed and boarding is over because you were too studious in the vodka selection of Duty Free to realize that you have now missed your flight…you might be an alcoholic.
But really, they were calling you for the last 23 minutes. You probably got upgraded to business. Instead, Standby Lindsey is now gleefully sipping your (free) vodka tonic in seat 5B.
5. Coming to a dead stop in .0001 seconds in the middle of a stampede of pseudo-coherent travelers. I do not recommend this under any circumstances if you value your spinal column. If you are lost, slightly unsure, or legitimately airheaded, calmly crawl your way to the far side of the herd to choose your next move.
6. DONOTTOUCHMYSEAT. Ever. I’ve already wasted precious antibacterial wipes on every inch of this 2 foot radius. Unless you are going to supply me another wipe to track your every germy move, stick to your zone. (Side note, hats off to Herban Essentials Eucalyptus wipes which both clean and create mass confusion as to why this section of the plane smells like zen spirit.)
7. While we’re at it, more plane rules: No toes. Please don’t scream, I’m nicely begging. Here, have a mint. I don’t think your body bends that way, let’s not test it. And for crying out loud, remain fully clothed.
8. Your body parts on ‘my’ plane parts. This includes but is not limited to the half inch piece of plastic dividing our seats and the area in front of each seat where I will be cramming my carry-on AND half of my 5’11” frame. If you choose to manspread your way into my zone, prepare your upper thigh for a meeting with my flimsy plastic airplane utensils.
9. Fellow travelers with a lack of emotional restraint. This is not the time to launch into every detail of your recent breakup to a perfect stranger, and I have zero good advice for you. I do not want to watch you drown your sorrows with every available Jack Daniels mini bottle on the plane. Trust me, I’ve tried this before while sobbing goodbye to Sydney, Australia. That warm and fuzzy feeling is short-lived and is probably vomit.
10. The flight attendant is not your mother, your maid or your minion. They have direct control over almost anything you will consume on this plane and you are their sole source of entertainment for the duration of this flight. Dwell on that.
11. Harrowingly loud personal conversations about the vast amounts of pot you’ll be consuming in Colorado. Extensions of this conversation include how many other places you have illegally smoked, snorted, ate, drank, or rolled in marijuana. Dude. True Coloradans don’t care about your ganja intake – it’s LEGAL. What we DO care about is the large number of douchebros invading our state.
12. Someone always manages to lose any aiming ability of their urine and ends up peeing all over the bathroom. I’m glad I got a Japanese encephalitis vaccination. I’ll never understand why the ceiling is dripping.
13. Lost luggage. Enough said. I’ve been pretty lucky, but really? Bag handlers: you had ONE JOB. On the flip side, at one time I had an entire wardrobe of classy ‘Stanford’ screen-printed attire because we lost all luggage in San Fran. Is it funny that the Stanford stuff was the cheapest?
14. Treating travel like a checklist. And bragging about all of the places you’ve been and how experienced you are and the big touristy destinations that you’ve “knocked off” said list and you’re just such a traveler! I will roll my eyes at you and my face will probably get stuck that way someday. See side rant below.
15. Ethnocentrism. It’s a big word to describe the belief that your culture is superior to others. Americans are typically guilty, especially when we travel – we are loud, proud and usually naive to our surroundings. We are not BETTER than anyone, and if you expect to wander abroad acting like a complete savage in stars and stripes swim trunks, please save the rest of us the unnecessary blood pressure medication and stay home.
(Yea, you’re not likely to find anyone abroad this excited to meet an American. The first part, where Ben Stiller looks slightly terrified? That’s real. The rest? 1 in a million chance. Foreigners pay more attention to who we have in office than Americans do, and if you haven’t checked out our current representation lately…we’re not high on the lovable list.)
My tip regarding ethnocentrism: BE NICE. The fact that I have to suggest that expressing interest in food/language/history to locals in their city/country/region abroad might help them accept your Americanisms is actually baffling, but smiles and acknowledging that you may not speak fluent Dzongkha usually goes a lot better than forcibly screaming English three octaves higher than normal speech.
16. I’m a travel agent, and love talking about travel and planning travel and sending our clients off on great trips around the world and hearing all about it when they get back…but this stuff takes TIME. I value my time, and there are days I’d really rather be peeing in privacy (don’t worry, my phone has a mute button) than answering my phone to answer your 37th question about what the weather will be like in 112 days when you’re on your vacation. When we build quotes and compile information and you lead us on for weeks before telling us you’ve already booked the trip with your Dad’s colleague’s teenage son, we CRY.
I feel better. That was fun. After all that, do you think I let this stop me from traveling? Nope. Nada. Not even a little.
My ultimate point?
Travel is not a list of things to DO. Travel is about the experience, which includes your sling bag being pick-pocketed in Paris (Mr. Thief nabbed my business card instead of my credit card and I’m still holding out hope that he or she will book a trip with me one day) and that long bus ride across the Dolomites in the wrong direction (where we met a local whose regional roots went back hundreds of years and then had lunch with his family in the Middle of Nowhere) and when you walk in on someone else cooking breakfast in your Hawaiian honeymoon accommodations (true story, but nothing a Mai Tai didn’t fix).
THESE are the things you will remember from your travels, not the countless monuments you’ll stand in front of to take a quick selfie and check them off with a big ‘been there, done that’. Attempt the local language, accept that your tongue doesn’t do those things, and laugh about it. Find a cafe or a bench and watch the locals interact with each other. Invite the neighboring dinner table to join your party (maybe avoid talking politics).