The first stage of a trip, the planning, is a bit like a honeymoon with travel. It is a lovely time with the best kind of dreaming and wishing and hoping. Everything is new and a bright future lies before you.
On this trip I was to learn all too quickly about the misfortunes, irritations and problems beyond your control that comes as part of the package. I had thought I was ready for the challenges that lay ahead. I prepared for delays, illness, arguments, getting lost, hostel living, changes to my itinerary, cultural differences and language barriers.
When events unfolded otherwise, I could only laugh at myself. After all, part of the fun of travel is its unpredictability. It leads to both dreadful situations and wonderful experiences. Even on my darkest days on that trip, when I was bedridden with chicken pox in Mexico or having a public temper tantrum at the train station in Milan, I would remind myself of how fortunate I was to be able to travel.
The only time that this fact did not console me was when I thought I would be sent to prison in Jordan. That was not a good time. Still, if I had been given up and gone home then, I never would have had gelato in Florence. Or watched the fountain show in Barcelona. Or experienced the Oktoberfest Miracle. Or attended a coffee ceremony in Ethiopia. Or explored the Pyramids in Egypt.
I would do everything the same all over again.