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Your Most Important Travel Accessory: A Sense of Humor

Carolyn Fields is a lifelong learner, musician, author, world traveler, truth enthusiast, and all around bon vivant.

On the road again . . .

On the road again . . .

Murphy Is Right

Just about everyone has heard of Murphy’s Law: Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. While traveling, this law becomes amplified by being in strange surroundings, among people you don’t know. And occasionally you literally won’t know the language. The only effective antidote that I’ve learned over the years is to remain flexible and adaptable, and always keep your sense of humor.

In the age of COVID-19 restrictions, I think that a sense of humor is even more important. Everyone is under a lot of stress and uncertainty. And traveling will only make matters worse. Keeping a positive outlook, and trying to roll with whatever comes up is essential to your sanity, and the sanity of everyone around you.

Speaking From Experience

I will share a couple of quick stories to illustrate my point. The first one was traveling in the fair state of Georgia, around Kingsland. If you live in the West or Midwest, you’ve probably never heard of Waffle House. It’s a chain of restaurants located primarily in the South, specializing in – wait for it – waffles. They serve other things of course, such as sandwiches and other breakfast items. But the big allure is waffles. Don’t ask me why they are so popular. It is what it is.

On a trip to visit relatives, we went to a Waffle House to eat. As we placed our order, the waitress informed us that they were regrettably out of waffles. Yes, you heard that right. Waffle House was out of waffles. Apparently, it takes a number of minutes to prepare the batter and allow it to settle, or whatever it does before they can cook it up. The employee in charge of waffle batter had neglected to start the next batch before they ran out. Fortunately, there was another Waffle House across the street. Literally, you could see the other one from where we were. At the time it didn’t seem like a laughing matter, but since then we’ve gotten a big kick out of the Waffle House that ran out of waffles.

Later on that same trip, we were tired of having instant coffee in the mornings (our hosts were not big coffee drinkers, and that’s all they had available). We found a local Coffee House. Eager for our first cup of fresh java in a long while, we placed our order for two large cups of regular coffee. Without any hint of irony, our server informed us that they were out of – wait for it – coffee. In a coffee house. Of course, she would be glad to whip us up a latte or mocha or some other specialty drink. Again, it wasn’t funny at the time. But looking back, we’ve had several good laughs about it.

Finally, and I’m not making any of this up, we went to a local Sonic to buy hotdogs. It was around the Fourth of July, and they had been running advertisements like crazy about their new foot-long hotdogs. If you’ve been with me so far, you can probably guess the outcome. When we placed our order, we were informed that they were out of hotdogs. Unbelievable! They promised that if we came back in a few days, they would give us free hotdogs. The manager even put our name on the whiteboard, so that we could claim our compensation at a later date. Unless somebody eventually erased it, our names are still there.

Finding Humor in Ordinary Things

When you encounter customer service or other employees during your trip, try to find a reason to lighten their load. Smile, and say something humorous. Just this morning I had a customer service person ask my name. Without hesitation, I responded with my name, and quickly added, “All day today anyway.” It was a silly joke, but she smiled and laughed just a little. It set the tone for the entire encounter. If you don’t like that, find something else to lighten things up. It’s well worth the effort.

The Moral of the Story

My point is this: rather than letting any of these situations ruin our mood, we just laughed it off and went on to something else. In each case, it wasn’t life-threatening, just annoying. If you let these little things get to you on a travel trip, you are likely to ruin what could otherwise be a fun anecdote down the road. So just roll with the punches. Who knows, maybe you’ll discover something even better than the original plan!

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2020 Carolyn Fields

Comments

Niks from India on November 03, 2020:

What a great accessory you have mentioned. If you love traveling or you are a writer, you must understand the importance of carrying a good sense of humor. I loved reading your article.

Viet Doan from Big Island, Hawaii on October 09, 2020:

Thanks Carolyn. Your article really made my day! It also reminded me to look at the bright - and funny! - side of any bad situations.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on September 28, 2020:

Sometimes the things that went wrong, or at least not smoothly, become the most memorable things to remember with smiles. Your illustrations prove that point. Thanks for sharing your funny stories.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on September 28, 2020:

Got the message. Laughing instead of fussing could make a world of difference. Your illustrations are humorous. Thanks.

Abby Slutsky from America on September 25, 2020:

Well, I did smile from this. I think we have all had those instances.

John Hansen from Queensland Australia on September 25, 2020:

I enjoyed this Carolyn. It certainly brought a smile. Waffle house out of waffles, a coffee house out of coffee, same with hotdogs haha. There is a famous old Australian country song sung by Slim Dusty called "A Pub With No Beer," based on a true story too.

Helna on September 24, 2020:

Good stories. Thanks for sharing. Jesus Loves You. Blessings

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on September 24, 2020:

Carolyn, this is so funny! Maybe we cn blame it on the COVID virus. Actually, my husband was born in GA and likes Waffle House for their eggs and hash browns. LOL This is a great article, with humor.