I’m pretty free spirited. But when it comes to my travels, I’m a type A planner.
I monitor airfare prices for months before I buy to make sure I get the lowest fare possible. I budget. I plan each day’s activities on an Excel spreadsheet, along with details of our accommodations, and places to eat. All of which requires extensive research. I probably spent more time planning our honeymoon to Iceland than planning for our actual wedding. #priorities right?
But what happens when life throws you unexpected circumstances that force you to change and abandon your plans?
I was faced with quite a few of those circumstances during our trip to Canada recently. It felt like one thing after another was going wrong and it wasn’t a pleasant experience.
On Tuesday evening we went to pick up our ski rentals (for which reservations had been made two weeks in advance) and they didn’t have all the gear we needed ready. So we had to scramble to find a place that had ski rental equipment for us.
Then there was the issue of my calves. Oh, my calves… In my family we jokingly refer to this predicament as the “Grable Curse” because we all have big, muscular calves. They can cause issues, such as never being able to find ski boots that fit you comfortably. Well I had totally forgotten how many issues this caused me when I lived in Germany and was skiing on a regular basis. This combined with the whole busy season slim pickings rental situation ended in disaster. On Wednesday (our first day on the slopes) I didn’t even make it to the lift before I was on the ground, basically crying, because I was in pain from the boots and had lost feeling in my feet. It sucked.
So we went to return my ski gear and switch it out for snowboarding gear, since those boots sit lower on the calves and have much more room to accommodate my legs.
I didn’t want to ruin the trip for my husband, who had been so excited to hit the slopes and was extremely disappointed at prospect of not being able to do it. So I put on a smile, continued to be the eternal optimist that I am, and decided to re-learn how to snowboard. I spent a few hours on the slopes of Mount Norquay and ended up with a very sore bottom. Soreness aside, I knew I was making progress.
On Thursday, we woke up early and planned to get to Sunshine Village right as they opened in order to maximize our time there. As we approached the exit to Sunshine, we saw that traffic was backed up all the way onto the highway. All the cars were heading to the ski resort. There was a line of cars almost 9km long of people trying to get to up there to ski. We gave it about half an hour before we decided that we were going to ask for a refund on the lift passes and bail. After hearing that Lake Louise Ski Resort was even more crowded, we just decided that this trip was no longer a ski trip.
Feeling very disheartened, we went on our way to return our ski and snowboarding gear. Our trip was quickly becoming a huge disappointment. We were angry and discouraged. But I was still hopeful.
I had to remind myself that I was in a beautiful new place, surrounded by so many possibilities. I stopped feeling sorry for myself and starting to making back up plans.
We snowshoed around Lake Louise.
We hung out in castles and chateaus.
Our Canada trip was very different from how I had been envisioning it for the months leading up to it, but does that mean I enjoyed it any less? No. I still got to spend a week in a beautiful national park with my favorite travel partner.
Travel won’t always be a smooth and easy journey. Your plane won’t always arrive or depart on time. The weather can’t always be perfect. No matter how well you plan, things can and will go wrong eventually. You can either learn how to make the most of a seemingly unfortunate situation, or be give up and be miserable and disappointed. This trip taught me the importance of being adaptable and open to possibilities, as well as the importance of having a back up plan (or two).
Sometimes it’s good when your plans go wrong. Because sometimes the unplanned turns out better than the planned.
When we were supposed to be on the slopes at Sunshine Village, we actually ended up ice skating on Lake Minnewanka. This was actually the coolest thing we did in Banff!
Be open to the possibilities. Sometimes things go wrong so they can go right.