Anyone who has done extended overseas trips knows that even the best of plans are subject to unforeseen developments. On the my last trip to Europe I had changing train schedules, a holiday I didn’t know about, museum closures, historic sights sealed off for restoration and several instances where I decided to redirect my path and go somewhere other than where I had originally planned. There were also a few things that I brought on myself by failing to properly research ahead of time or by just being stupid. In those times all you can do is try to roll with whatever comes your way. It’s not easy, but you have to decide if you’re going to let this new development hold you back, or if you’re going to keep moving forward and make the most of it.

Let me give a few examples from my last trip. When I was in Paris I had originally planned to leave on a certain day but found out that the trains to my destination were already booked up for that day. I was discouraged, but the two-day delay allowed me to take a day trip out to the American Cemetery at Omaha Beach in Normandy. In Madrid I didn’t realize that May 1 is the Spanish equivalent of Labor Day. With the major historic sights closed, I spent the day walking around Madrid and getting to know the city while also visiting places that are always open, like Retiro Park. Lastly, in Croatia I injured my foot while swimming in the Adriatic Sea. While this greatly reduced my mobility for a day, it also resulted in my having a long, sit-down lunch right next to the sea and eating what might be the best burger I’ve ever had.

Life happens. You can’t predict or control everything that comes your way, but if you have the right attitude and the resolve, you can bounce back and still have a memorable experience on your travels.

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