The Eternal Optimist

The Eternal Optimist

I’ve been writing this blog on and off for a year now, and my friends and family have been very supportive (Thank you, guys!).  However, I have received a very accurate criticism lately that has made me reevaluate my writing style a little bit.  The criticism was that I never really talk about any challenges I face when travelling.  I completely agree with this statement. I have always been hesitant to complain about anything, because I don’t want to put anyone out, or be negative.  For example, my mom always likes to tell people that when I was younger, I would wait until my big toe was sticking out of my shoe before complaining that they were too tight.  I guess it’s just the people-pleaser in me.  So, after mulling it over, I’ve decided that if bringing up the negatives will help the lovely people who read this blog when they travel or bring a little more depth to my writing, then I’ll do it.  I realize I have some catching up to do with my old blog posts, and I will edit them, I promise.  But in short form, here are the Top 7 issues (and solutions!) I’ve faced this past year of traveling:

  • New Orleans: My boyfriend and I traveled to New Orleans over Labor Day Weekend last year. We had so many things we wanted to do, that some of the more time sensitive things were pushed to the end of the trip.  For this reason, we were not able to go to Longue Vue House or Saint Louis Cemetery, which both were very high on my must-see list.
    Lesson: You don’t have to plan out your whole trip, but pay attention to operating schedules of attractions when prioritizing what you want to accomplish.
    Jean Lafitte National Park, New Orleans, LA
  • New Orleans #2: It is very hot and muggy in NOLA in the summer months, which is a given. If you’re smart, you know that you should hydrate more when it’s hot.  Especially after physical activity, like hiking through a swamp.  Unfortunately, we hydrated with rum slushies and very little water one day during our trip.  This resulted in an early departure from a tour and a number of stomach problems for both of us.
    Lesson: Hydrate!!!
  • Salt Lake City: I booked this trip through Frontier Airlines during one of their (many) sales, about a month before I was to fly out. In my hurry to beat the curfew of the sale, I purchased a ticket to fly back a day later than I was supposed to (having to be back to work that day).  I didn’t realize my mistake until the my last day in SLC, or so I thought, when I checked my email and noticed I didn’t have anything from Frontier to check in for my flight and I pulled up my booking summary.  As a result, I spent an hour on the phone with a representative from the airline and had to pay an additional $100 to change the date of my flight. Not really a fun way to spend my last night.
    Lesson: Reign in your travel excitement until the booking process is complete and correct.
    Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Shanghai: This one is not so much of a mistake as a cultural misstep. I was in China during Chinese New Year, which, in Chinese Culture, is typically a time to be family.  For us (my coworkers and I), this translated to very large crowds in the popular areas and everything closing earlier than normal.  One of my coworkers and I were trying to get something special for our managers, a task that we had thoughtlessly waited to do until Chinese New Year’s Eve.  We cabbed and trained to three separate locations only to find that everybody had already closed.  We got so frustrated with it all that we ended up going back to the hotel and ordering cheeseburgers from room service.  Once we got over our pity party, we were finally able to go out and enjoy the rest of the celebrations.
    Lesson: Know a country’s culture and traditions before travelling there and it will make your trip infinitely better.
    Skyline, Shanghai, China
  • Starved Rock State Park: This day trip was mostly ideal, however there was one kind of major problem: multiple hours of hiking in Chuck Taylors. Yowch!!  I stuck it out for a long time because the surroundings were so beautiful.  However, by the end of our time there, my feet were so pinched and swollen I could hardly walk.  When we got back to the car I immediately took them off and vowed never to make that mistake again.
    Lesson: Wherever you go, whatever you do, bring the correct gear!
    Starved Rock State Park, IL
  • North Carolina: Two words: Lake Lure. I was there, I walked around, I took pictures, but I didn’t swim! Why didn’t I do it?? I had my luggage, with my swimsuit and a towel, in the car with me.  In my head, I was thinking “Oh, I don’t know, maybe I don’t have time.   I have to check into my next hotel all the way in Black Mountain, blah blah blah…” I should not have been so worried about time constraints and just done it.  Because now I regret not jumping into that gorgeous lake at least once.
    Lesson: When you’re on vacation, don’t hold back from doing things that pique your interest.  Do everything possible.
    Lake Lure, NC
  • Miami: Oh Miami, my solo travel before I knew how to solo travel.  I never blogged about it, because it was before rebeccawanderlusting’s time. Let me first say that Miami is beautiful and vibrant, and if done right, highly entertaining.  I chose to go there because I needed to be on a beach and it was a cheap flight.  Overall, it was a perfectly average trip, but it could have been so much better!  I was so timid about going out on my own that I spent most of my time there around my hotel.  As a result, I came back feeling like a travel failure and regretted not seeing more while I was there.
    Lesson: Don’t be afraid to head out on your own! Do what you want and trust your instincts.
    Miami, FL

I am very aware that if these are my worst problems when travelling, that I am very lucky.  And I’m positive mistakes will keep happening, but I will continue to learn from them, I promise.

What is a travel mistake you’ve made? How did you move past it?

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