I’m big on travel. I have boxes of travel journals that document great trips. But I could have lived without the following:
1. On a propeller plane from London to New York in 1958, one of our plane’s engines died. We detoured to Iceland where we landed on a military airfield covered with foam and surrounded by fire engines. Safely.
2. In 1971 on Tortola, a British Virgin Island, Peter and I drove down a dirt road, ignoring the “four-wheel-drive-vehicles-only” sign. Our brakes didn’t hold, but luckily, the car rolled over into the mountain, not down it. A road engineer happened by and drove us back to town where I had my gashed forehead sewn up.
3. On a country road in Brittany in the mid-nineties, I was the last in line on a bicycle ride. My friend Christa noticed that I wasn’t behind her and she, her husband and Peter rode back to find me regaining consciousness by the side of the road. I have no idea what happened, but I spent the night in a French hospital with a broken clavicle. The hospital refused to let me leave until a surgeon came by in the morning. I didn’t want surgery, so Peter and our friends helped me sneak out of the hospital. Two days later, I was back on my bike. (The hospital did manage to bill me, however.)
4. In the summer of 2000, on the Zimbabwe/Zambia border, our son Seth decided to bungee jump into the boulder-filled, fast-moving Zambezi River. I told him that he would have to pay the $90 fee. His father and brother said my face was whiter than a sheet as I watched him jump. He survived. (2012 update—a young woman jumping off the same bridge had the bungee cord break. She plunged into the crocodile-filled river—and lived.)
5. In 2010, traveling with the same fearless son, this time in Nicaragua, our car sunk into hub-cap-deep mud on a country road. We tried everything that three people could do, but remained stuck until a bus packed with locals came along. The driver attached a thick rope to our car and towed us out. We spent the afternoon in a car wash.
I could write about all my great travel experiences, but the bad ones make better stories.