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Ever plan a good vacation and then have bad things happen? Negative events can definitely have an impact on your entire trip especially if you let it. I have a hard time when vacations don’t turn out as planned. I’m sure lots of moms are great at going with the flow, but spontenaity is something I haven’t mastered yet. But with every vacation my family takes, I learn a little bit more about how important it is to let go of my grand ideas and just enjoy the moment. Our recent trip to San Francisco has been the most eye opening experience in more ways than you can imagine.
I am totally a Type A personality. When it comes down to organizing a trip, I spend hours researching the best hotels, restaurants, and attractions. I write everything down and then I make a schedule, a very precise schedule! (I guess I missed my calling as a travel agent because planning a trip is something I can say I’m pretty good at.)
As a mom, I realize that no trip is going to go perfectly, especially when traveling with the kids. I expect fighting, crying, and complaining. Just because my boys have moved to a temporary location, doesn’t mean they won’t act like their normal everyday selves. It’s normal, I get it.
But, after all the whining has commenced, the laughter and joy picks right back up. A few minutes have been wasted but our vacation is still on track.
This is usually the case, except for our most recent Summer Vacation. On this trip, the gloom lingered a little too long, and I learned a lot about just how vulnerable the kids and I really are.
A few weeks ago, we traveled to San Francisco. Every year my family picks a new place off of our Summer Vacation Bucket List to visit and explore. This year it was the Golden City. We couldn’t wait to see the Bridge, Alcatraz, and the Presidio. The cooler weather was an added bonus, since we live in South Florida where it is almost always hot.
On Day 1 of our trip, we headed straight to the California Academy of Sciences and spent the morning learning about earthquakes, space, and ocean life. After lunch it was raining, so we decided to sight see from the car. We drove around looking at crooked Lombard Street, the Haight Ashbury, and ChinaTown.
When Things Turned Bad…
As a Full House fan, I wanted to find the famous Painted Ladies (the row of houses featured on the show located across from Alamo Square.) As we turned onto Steiner, I fully expected to just drive by the homes to snap a quick photo. But, the rain had stopped and magically there was a parking space right in front! I asked my husband to pull over so I could go across the street to get a better photo from outside of the car.
You know how they say hindsight is always 20/20! It’s true!
If you look closely in the picture, all the way to the right, you will see our white Hyundai Santa Fe rental car parked in front of the houses. And do you notice that unrecognizable person standing by the car?
That is a bad guy! No other way to describe him.
In the literal 5 minutes it took us to walk across the street, up a small flight of stairs, and take a photo, I was robbed!!
Yup, that person broke the passenger side window and grabbed my purse off the front seat, taking my wallet and innocence with him!
I know what you are thinking….Why would you leave your purse in the car? You’re in a big city? And San Francisco has high crime!
That is all true, and my only answer is that I wasn’t really thinking.
I wasn’t thinking that in 5 minutes, someone would come along, break our rental car window, and run off will my favorite purse and all my credit cards! Sure, if I was planning to be away from the car for any length of time, then I definitely would have brought my bag. And I actually did cover my purse up with a sweater on the seat. But it wasn’t good enough.
The bad guy won!
Want to know what the worst part of this whole experience was?
It wasn’t the hours spent in the police department, or on the phone with the bank and credit card companies.
It wasn’t finding out that this happens to lots of other tourists who visit San Francisco.
And it wasn’t the lost money!
It was the tears of fright rolling down my boys faces. It was the screams of horror in their voices. And their not understanding why someone would do this to us. My boys were scared to sleep in their bed that night at the hotel. They were scared someone would come rob us again. They kept having visions of the broken car window and kept hearing the sadness in my voice upon discovering the scene.
They saw me cry!
Why would someone want to ruin our family vacation? What are we supposed to learn from this bad experience?
After several conversations that lasted late into the night. And more conversations in the morning. We explained to the kids about the ways of the world. And that not everyone is as fortunate as we are. And that some people only care about themselves. We reenforced the fact that things could have been much worse, and that we were thankful no one got physically hurt.
And after the tears were dried, and our hearts felt better, we were determined to have a fun vacation in San Francisco!
We visited the Rock.
We watched a Giants Baseball Game.
We hiked through the Redwood Forest.
And admired the Golden Gate Bridge.
We had lots of FUN!!
On this family vacation, I learned a lot. I realized that no matter how hard I try to protect my children from the “real world”, bad things will still happen. Also, you can never have too many hugs after a bad day! I definitely learned how to go with the flow! A lack of credit cards will throw a major wrench in your plans. I learned to never leave my purse in the car, even if it is just for a minute. And I am pretty sure I will never bring my favorite purse on vacation again!
I guess sometimes, we just need a little adversity to help us reflect upon our own lives. To help us see our flaws and recognize where we need to improve. To help us realize all the good that is in front of us.
So we can see that living life is more important than having life plans!
Summer Vacation 2017 will go down in the books as one not to be forgotten for many reasons!
Some people leave their heart in San Francisco, I left my wallet!
Have you ever had a bad experience while on Vacation? I’d love to hear your reflection on the event!