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Travel Experiences I Could Have Lived Without

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.



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