Matt and I have done quite a bit of traveling together at this point in our lives, and while nothing truly catastrophic has happened to us (fingers crossed), we have had mishaps, some comical and some not so comical.
We wanted to share them with you because we appreciate that, even though we are promoting a business and wanting to show our best selves, the internet is full of the polished, perfect versions of people’s lives, which is only a small part of the truth. No matter where you go, disappearing off into the sunset is something only for Hollywood and cannot reflect the inevitable hurdles of real life. This is our real life and we thought you'd appreciate a few not-so-flattering stories.
Back in 2011, when we were newly dating and visiting New York for the first time together, we spent a few days in the Big Apple at Matt's father's apartment in the West Village. As wonderful as that was, we decided to walk to Central Park and ride in one of those beautifully picturesque horse drawn carriages. Did I mention it was February? Do you have any idea how epically cold it is in NY that time of year, especially when you're out in the open area of Central Park and not sheltered by the massive skyscrapers of the City. This has become one of our favorite cringeworthy stories, retelling it to friends often. Back then, we were both smokers and, of course, we took the opportunity to have a couple of smokes. We were shivering under a blanket that was closer to a large napkin than any blanket I’d ever seen, fumbling to even hold the cigarettes in our frozen fingers, dropping them all over and burning ourselves, totally unable to enjoy what was supposed to be a romantic moment. It was far more painful than romantic, but the unpleasantness is minute when compared to our entertainment from telling about this small disaster.
A few years later, while on our West Coast trip, we stopped for dinner with friends in San Francisco, and we had a blast! But we needed to hop on the road and get to our hotel in Santa Rosa that night, so you can only imagine our frustration when we couldn't find an entrance to Highway 101. All we needed to do was get on the Golden Gate Bridge. So simple, yet totally impossible for some reason. I mean, it’s one of the most well-known landmarks in all of San Francisco and, despite the fact that we were driving underneath and around it, we couldn’t seem to get on the thing. I have to point out that this was right when smartphones were becoming a thing but neither of us had one yet. We called our friend for advice but he had no idea where we ended up. We asked a taxi next to us at a stoplight and he was more than eager to show us the way, but we had to bail when it was clear he was not helping, but leading us to a sketchy neighborhood and probably planned to rob us (it was easy to see that we were heading the opposite direction of the bridge). Eventually, we found our way to Santa Rosa and the next day Matt proposed, but this is still one of our favorite incompetent traveler stories. We both bought smartphones as soon as we got back home.
When moving from New York to Seattle in 2015, we created an amazing road trip that would cover a large portion of the US as well as meandering in and out of Canada so, of course, we brought our passports. We each had new, valid ones, but Matt, being his father's son and overly prepared, also brought his expired passport. Well, when we were leaving the NY side of Niagara Falls and heading to the Canadian side, I hopped out at the border to retrieve the passports from the trunk. There I was with more passports than travelers and totally innocently (in my mind anyway) asking Matt which of his passports was the right one. This clearly made both Matt and the border security guard uneasy. Then, when I did get it sorted out and handed him the passports, he opened mine and immediately handed it back, saying something with a very thick Canadian accent I didn't understand. After what seemed like a very awkward few seconds, we realized there were some Euros left over from our Finland trip tucked in there and that such convenient placement could easily be construed as a bribe. It wasn't until we finally were let through and drove away that we chuckled at how stupid he must have thought we were fumbling with too many passports and accidentally trying to bribe him with Euros, especially because Canadian dollars would have been the appropriate currency.
Our biggest and, by far, least funny travel blunder to date was when preparing to move to Mexico. We made the decision to migrate south back in April and, by May, Jude had his very own passport and we had all of our Temporary Resident Visas months in advance. We had no worries other than selling and donating all of our belongings and fitting our whole life into 10 suitcases (not a simple task). We had always kept all of our important documents in a safe place with copies in the file cabinet but then the time came to get rid of those pieces of furniture too, so we had to move them into a temporary storage cube. I cannot accurately describe to you the madness that is having a furniture-free apartment with all our household items sorted into piles (sell pile, donate pile, storage pile, give to friends/family pile, pack here pile, pack there pile), with a curious toddler constantly undoing all of them. Well, come September when time was really starting to speed up, we went to check on our paperwork only to find everything, including the passports and visas were gone! Everything else totally safe but the most important documents had disappeared. Did I mention Jude's love of throwing things in the garbage? Before this fiasco, the worst I would find in the trash would be several-day-old sippy cups of milk. Those were bad, but this was way worse. We were hopeful that wasn't the case and that we would find them. We called and searched every inch of the local Goodwill looking for our file cabinet and other furniture to no avail. We rushed ordered our new passports and put them in a Ziploc bag that we duct taped to the wall so we had eyes on them at all times. While we were thankful that we had exactly enough time for our new paperwork to be processed, we found out that we would not be able to get a new Visa appointment until the day after we were already supposed to be in Mexico. Thankfully, in the end, we were able to drive the 6 hours each way to the Mexican Consulate in Boise, Idaho and get new Visas that same day (Jude was shockingly very well behaved for each trip). So, we got it done, but it cost us around $1,000 and a lot of anxiety and maneuvering once all was said and done. It was not a pleasant situation and we are still not sure how it happened. Could it have been Jude? Possibly, but we will never know.
Thankfully, since moving to Mexico our biggest faux pas have been messing up our Spanish, like when I was trying to tell the chef at one of our favorite restaurants how much I loved his cooking but accidentally told him that I loved him instead, or Matt confusing his French with Spanish and saying 'Qu'est-ce que c'est se dice' instead of 'Como se dice' when asking how to say something.
Here's hoping we continue to have many adventures and more good stories than bad.