Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Expecting the Unexpected When Traveling

We hit the jackpot last weekend traveling to New England, specifically Vermont, in a years-long quest to witness fall colors at their peak. Hub and I have been visiting the state since our son started college at the University of Vermont in the 1990s.

Vermont is a beautiful state, renowned for summer hiking, biking and mountain greenery, winter skiing and other cold-weather sports, spring mud, and fall color. Several times over the years we hoped to view nature in all her autumn beauty. Usually disappointment followed.

* There was the year of drought. Dull and drab best describes that season’s colors.

* One year we made it north immediately following a major storm. Wet leaves created a soggy mess.

* Another time, showing up in late October, the scene encompassed brown leaves and barren trees, but we experienced the season’s first snowfall. Of course we had not properly prepared, winter gear remaining in the closet at home hundreds of miles away.

Hub and I from time to time experience disappointment during our travels.

A family trip to Hawaii years ago included a cruise around the islands, an anticipated highlight observing a volcano erupting at night and the lava flow in all its raging glory. Except the week we visited the volcano suddenly fell asleep. No eruptions, no lava, nothing visible in the night sky. (The volcano woke up a week later.)

Then there was a trip to Switzerland. I looked forward to walking through Europe’s largest covered bridge, a 558-foot span built in 1333 across the river Reuss in Lucerne. However in 1993 a fire destroyed much of the bridge. Rebuilt in 1994, I was lucky enough to visit in the eight-month period between destruction and reconstruction. No bridge to view or stroll across.

We hoped to introduce friends to a favorite restaurant in San Francisco last month. Following a day of walking and touring, tired, hungry and battling sore feet, we looked forward to comfortable chairs and a late lunch. Approaching the restaurant we once again faced disappointment, discovering the place closed for a private party.

Sometimes I wonder if spending a lot of time and effort to see a site is worth it. One year, traveling with another couple, the guys wanted to view the Tour de France. We drove through the French countryside for hours. Stopping on a bridge overlooking the race route – along with dozens of other spectators - we saw the men zoom by in one massive group, the peloton. They were down the road, then speeding under the bridge, and gone. In seconds.

When traveling a dose of flexibility ought to be thrown in the suitcase. Predicting that things may not go exactly as planned, expecting the unexpected, the surprises, the ups and downs, annoyances and OMG moments make fascinating experiences and memories great, not so good, possibly bad, sometimes disappointing, but always interesting.

I would like to view a volcano in action one day… 
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  1. I agree about travel. I don't think I've ever been disappointed by missing something because I usually go for the experience rather than something to see. I hope I'm not tempting fate. :-)

  2. I am glad you got to see some Vermont color!

  3. Beautiful New England isn't always so beautiful it seems. However, in those years when everything comes together its stunning. Have fun on your travels, and i hope the weather pleased you.