Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Vacation That Never Was

I really lived up to my nick name this time! For over six months I’d been planning a trip to Europe. I was at the airport with my new clothes, hair freshly done, new skate wheels, snacks, Euros and maps of each city I was visiting including directions to everything I wanted to see and do. As you can tell I spent a lot of time preparing for this trip. I pride myself on being well organized and prepared. So as I excitedly went to the airport ticket counter to get my plane ticket an amazingly unbelievable thing happened. My passport was expired!!!

I couldn’t believe this was happening. It just seemed surreal. After a slight bout of sadness and anger…ok so I acted like a two year old throwing a tantrum...I decided to work on a plan to get a quick passport renewal. The next 24 hours were like something out of the amazing race except no fun and no big cash reward. After driving around town for forms, info and pictures I found out you could drive to Miami and possibly…maybe…if the moons and stars aligned just right…get a same day passport.

I headed to Miami at 3 a. m. After only two hours of sleep, a three and a half hour drive and waiting at the passport office for nine hours I FINALLY got to speak to a passport ‘agent’ or whatever you call them. And I was promptly told there would be no passport that day and no passport over the weekend either. I’d have to drive back down on Monday or have it mailed to my home on Tuesday. This was extremely disappointing news and I’m sadly disturbed by our passport office’s lack of concern or motivation. Yes I was the idiot who made the unbelievably stupid mistake but there should be a way to fit in a same day passport in emergencies like this. Especially considering you pay enough extra money for a same day passport to fund the extra man power it would require.

For a while I contemplated joining my friends six days later but I decided the extra flight money and shorter vacation time made it not really worthwhile. Since I was very disappointed once I made this decision I tried to be more Zen and realize everything happens for a reason. For some reason I was not meant to go to Europe at this time. (I know the reason…I was stupid). We tried to make light of it and decided it was the butterfly effect at play. Somehow by me not going to Europe over 100,000 lives were saved! I have no clue how but it kinda put the missed trip in perspective and made me laugh.

Once I made the decision to bail on my Europe trip I decided to still take a week off from work for a staycation. I felt bad that I let my two vacation friends down and that I wouldn’t get the change of scenery but this seemed like a decent back up plan. Especially since I live in Orlando which is one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations.

Since I was on vacation, even if I was still in town, I changed up my normal routine. I spent my week off zip lining, orienteering, snorkeling, kite boarding, reading, movies, water parks and mountain biking. So it wasn’t all bad but was probably the most expensive staycation ever since I still had to pay for much of my Europe trip.

Every time I find something I prepared for the trip I get a little reminder of my big mishap. After yoga I used the special conditioner I purchased for the trip since I didn’t want to bring a full size bottle. Thankfully this wasn’t very good conditioner so I joked it’s a good thing I didn’t go or my hair would have looked bad and it would have ruined the whole trip. Then while skating I played music on my phone and had yet another reminder as I had uploaded tons of extra music to enjoy while on vacation.

After this fiasco I was debating if I wanted to keep traveling in the future. I love the adventure but it’s so costly, time consuming and stressful to plan a trip. Plus I get motion sickness which takes away some of the fun and limits what I can do. As I was contemplating this information, a friend asked me to go on a skate trip to Thailand. Instantly I was happy and excited and looking forward to this new adventure opportunity. I realized I would not stop traveling but will be more careful in the future.

I had a lot of support along the way from friends just wishing me well to friends providing valuable information and especially driving me to Miami. Thanks to all of you! I truly feel blessed for my friendships and I won’t let a little thing (ok not so little thing) like missing Europe get me down for long.

Cat “10 More Years” Cathy

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