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 sometimes 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.
I will share a couple 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.
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 Joe 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.
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!