Humility in Travel…Just when you think you’re the Expert

The Itinerary

Last night I returned home from a five week jaunt through a couple of destinations. It began as a simple 11 day trip to Costa Rica to check out one of the top dive locales in the world, Cocos Island. It turned into a 31 day sprint from Montana to Los Angeles to three locations in Fiji for diving and zip lining, meeting with the chiefs of two villages we support through our non- profit, Ocean of Hope, three different stops in Costa Rica including shark diving, zip lining again (I’m becoming a fan! Is there a zip line fan page on Facebook?) and the National Symphony, two days in Orlando for business meetings and ultra light flying ( a natural combo!), a week in New York city for a diving trade show (and getting a book signed by one of my diving heros!) and two days in Connecticut to check in with a worldwide tour agency and old friends. Holy Cow! No wonder I’m exhausted today!

So during the course of the trip we met up with four friends we haven’t seen in ages, wrote blog posts while winging our way through two red eye flights, made over 15 transfers in everything from rental cars, taxis, trains, driving services, boat shuttles, the cramped front seat of a luggage truck, local vans, subways and even the New Jersey transit authority. I changed our air tickets twice during the course of our trip, only had one flight delay and arrived home exactly when we expected. We had dropped our truck off at the dealership for a tire rotation so we didn’t pay for airport parking for 31 days (see my blog post on getting to the airport). EVERYTHING went as planned……well almost. Just when you think you know it all in savvy travel planning and execution you get attacked by the “left item” bug.

Losing it!

It started innocently with a pair of reading glasses that I simply couldn’t find while on the dive boat. I looked for about 3 days then just chocked it up to lost pair #27 and moved on. (Oh well) . On the day we dis-embarked the boat, I walked off without my shaker bottle for my protein drink. (Oops, silly me). We boarded our transfer and happily went ziplining. At the end of the day, we realized we had left a pair of running shoes somewhere??? Thinking they were crammed into a bag, we went on our way. After arriving in Orlando and making a search the shoes did not turn up. Oh, and by the way, where is the camera??? (we traveled with three). (Oh, crap!)….left on the transfer bus!! Oops! A few e-mails later they were located and someday someone from Costa Rica will bring them to us. Ok, found..not to worry we said and headed out to dinner. After dinner with friends, we arrived back at their house only to realize I had left our point and shoot camera at the restaurant. (Damn, what was happening?) Back to the restaurant for camera number two.

How much more could I lose on one trip???


In the morning, I couldn’t find my hairbrush… (oh no…NOT AGAIN!!!) and by the way, where are my OTHER reading glasses?? Now I was thinking I was beginning to unravel.

Due to the fact that the camera had fallen out of a HUGE hole in my backpack, we set off for JC Penny’s. Why? New running shoes for Ridlon and a new backpack for me. (What a pain!) On the way we stopped at a sandwich shop for lunch. While we were in Penny’s I saw Ridlon on the phone. “Who are you talking to?” I asked. “Oh, just the man at the sandwich shop on YOUR cell phone” he replied. (OH S&%T, Again??) I had left my cell phone in the restaurant! Back to the sandwich shop.

So now the total of misplaced items including 2 pair of reading glasses, one hairbrush, one pair of running shoes, two cameras, one cell phone and a shaker bottle. I was beginning to think about duct taping my passport to my body! It wasn’t over yet!

As we began to get ready to leave for the airport, I went to grab my sweatshirt since I knew the plane would be cold and we were about to head to chilly NYC. No sweatshirt (No Freakin’ Way!)….I had left it on the plane. No chance to recover that one!

What was happening???? The “travel expert” couldn’t keep track of her own head if it weren’t attached!!!


So the logical thing to do here was to tell EVERYONE I was losing it….I’m sure my brain was next! And have everyone keep an eye on me. I told everyone I met, please don’t let me forget anything at your house, in your taxi, on your airplane! Two days later….I found my hair brush and one of the missing reading glasses….things were looking up! I made the last two days of the trip without incident…..

The Lesson

The lesson here? Expect the unexpected when traveling and realize that even the pros screw up! In the end it just became hilarious and I had a good laugh at myself. What else was I going to do? I was traveling and diving and adventuring, the passions of my life. Why would I let a little thing like lost glasses, shaker bottle, two cameras, running shoes, hairbrush, sweatshirt, and a cell phone get in the way of my travel fun! Get off the couch! Go and enjoy….and lose a couple of things, no big deal!

Share your travel humiliation stories…come on!  We all have them!!

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