No matter how much detail and organization you put into your travels, sometime things just don’t go as planned!
Have you ever had an experience while traveling that made you feel like your trip was ruined? Maybe you got lost trying to get back to your hotel, missed a connecting flight, or even forgot your passport when taking an international trip.
After experiencing a few of these situations myself, I realized that if you keep 3 simple things in mind you can improve any difficult travel situation. I like to call them “The PRL’s of Travel”: Patience, Resourcefulness, and Laughter.
One of my favorite examples of when the PRL’s were key was on my honeymoon in Brazil. Our first stop was an island called Fernando De Noronha, also recently recognized for having the most beautiful beach in the world!
Getting to this little island (7 miles in area) in the middle of the ocean is a 1-hour flight from the coast of Recife, Brazil.
Norohna is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and that means you’ll find the clearest water and incredible amounts of wildlife like dolphins, sea turtles, and even sharks. Cool fact: There has never been a shark attack here because the sharks are well nourished by the preserved environment.
You’re lucky on the days you catch Wi-Fi signal. There are no major resorts, only little bed and breakfasts called Posadas spread across the island. We stayed at the Posada Alta Mar Guest House – highly recommended!
One of the best way to get around the island is with small cars they call Buggy’s (pronounced Booogies).
We rented one for the day and drove it all around, visiting every amazing beach and beautiful view.
Our last stop that day was at a beach bar to enjoy the sunset and a beer before heading back to the hotel. The waves in the ocean were getting huge and Andres could not resist going to jump in.
Andres comes back to join me, we enjoy our drinks and decide to start heading back to the hotel.
As Andres digs into his bathing suit pocket to grab the Buggy keys, he notices they are no longer there. And at that moment we realized: the car keys fell in the ocean!
Patience – bearing provocation, annoyance, hardship with fortitude and calm
I practically wanted to kill him! Usually I would get pretty upset and say something, but in this situation I stayed quiet. Possibly because we have only been married 4 days? Literally, the honeymoon stage…
But in all seriousness, Andres was already feeling upset about what happened, and me getting angry would have only made the situation worse. Patience was key for helping us keep the situation under control.
Resourcefulness – ability to deal skillfully and promptly with new situations, difficulties, etc.
Ok we are calm but how the hell do we get home??
There were not many people left at the beach and luckily we flagged down a taxi driver who was willing to help us. We explain (in Portuguese) the embarrassing situation about our lost keys to the driver (who happens to also drive a Buggy) and ask him for a ride back to the hotel.
But instead of giving us a ride, he turns off his car, walks over to ours and turns it on with his keys. Apparently, all of the Buggy’s on the island can be started with the same key! These Brazilians sure are resourceful…and trustworthy.
Our car is now turned on and we can finally go back to our posada. On an island where Wi-Fi and hot water are only available every few days, we are wondering how much it is going to cost us to buy a replacement key?
The posada owner greets us with a big friendly smile, as he excitedly wants to know how our day went driving the Buggy. And so we nervously share the story again of how we dropped the Buggy keys into the ocean…
Instead of being angry, he laughed, grabbed a Popsicle stick from the ice cream he had just finished eating and said, “Oh those keys, don’t worry… you can turn these cars on with anything. Even a Popsicle stick!”
Next time you’re in a sticky travel (or life?!) situation remember the PRL’s: Be patient, think creatively, and laugh it off. Because there is almost always a way to make it better!