For someone who loves colors and funky things, buying a zebra-like suitcase was certainly in character. It also happens to make good traveling sense as it is easy to spot amid the sea of black appearing in the baggage claim area.
But alas, even our “zebra” didn’t make it to join us on our Italian adventure. We were promised its arrival the next day…. And then the next day….and then the next…..until the end of our 10 day vacation was upon us and we flew home carrying a few colorful, shiny shopping bags filled with our necessary purchases.
A few days after arriving home, we had a sighting on our deck: our suitcase sitting by the flower pots. It too apparently had an eventful trip, with luggage tags displaying its cities of travel – Venice, Rome and Milan.
How did we manage to have a great trip despite this inconvenience?
After aggravating and waiting on line at the airport for hours to try to deal with this, we made the conscious decision not to let this problem put the “kabash” on our vacation.
Self- talk message #1 – This was not going to ruin our brief first-time stay in the beautiful city of Venice. We would wash out and deal with the same clothing for the night and day. And hope it arrives the next day, as we were told.
Self- talk message #2 – This was not going to ruin our hiking trip. After our weekend in Venice, we left, “baggage-less”, up north to the Dolomites. Our one week hiking adventure was about to begin. At least we had taken the good advice from our hiking leader and wore our hiking shoes/boots on the plane. But our hiking sticks were another story.
In the quaint, Heidi-looking town of St. Ulrich (Ortisi), we did our minimal but extravagant shopping: five hygienic necessities at a local pharmacy for a whopping $100 and some basic clothing for $1000. We bought just enough to be able to wear one set of clothing while the other was air-drying.
Self -talk message #3 – They are only things. We truly experienced the saying, “the most important things in life are not things.” We acclimated to the reality of not having all our stuff. I admit I missed not having my traveling staple – cans of tuna fish. (Keeping Kosher and being a picky eater are traveling challenges to begin with; but it doesn’t stop us from anything. We make do.) We played around in conversation with the what-ifs: what if we didn’t have our cameras, our medicine, the prayer shawl. At least we had these. And we reiterated again and again the old, “it could’ve been worse” mantra.
Our health and attitude were our daily cherished possessions.
Self-talk message #4 – “Don’t sweat the small stuff.” Hiking through the Dolomite mountains, with their handsome ruggedness, provided us with the utmost joy and satisfaction. We were in magnificent country doing what we loved. This was the Big stuff.
After our seven hour days of adventure, we dealt with the mundane, but necessary phone calls to the airlines and travel insurance company. More often than not we hung up after listening to a half-hour of music. Where was the human being? Perhaps looking for our lost luggage!!!
Self-talk message #5 – Find the humor in it all. And we did. We minimized our agitation levels and maximized our laughter levels.
Finally opening up our suitcase at home and seeing those 2 sets of hiking sticks, all I could think of at that point was, “if only those sticks could talk.”
“The happiest people don’t have the best of everything. They make the best of everything they have.” (Anonymous)