Departure Day Disasters

Motion sickness, getting lost, peeing in the car and miscommunication in retrieving our cabin key is how our getaway to Ucluelet begins. In the midst of it, doomsday headlines of ‘The Worst Vacation EVER!’ flash through my nauseated vision, though I should known better. You see, disastrous starts are a tradition.

  • My first day in Korea is filled with pages of me saying basically the same thing, “What the bleepity, bleep, bleep am I bleepin doing in this bleep-filled place?” I didn’t write another word in my journal that year for all the fun I was having.
  • After landing in Guatemala city at night-time, I get driven to some dodgy hostel and in my flustered state, leave my trusted Lonely Planet in the taxi. Lovely people get me on a bus to Antigua the next morning where I buy another guidebook and Guatemala rocks my world.
  • Road trip with the family, in the summer, commences on the hottest day of the year. We do not have air conditioning. Bickering, bitching and a whole lot of sweating later, we buy ice water, and ice, and soon enough make it to the promised land of lakes, ac, ice cream and water parks.

You get my point. As I sit here remembering, seemingly every single trip started as hell on earth. Also, every single trip ended up being, well, the adventurous, magical, romantic, relaxing, joyful, and/or life-changing journey I had imagined it would be.

Of course, when you just got off the stormiest ferry ride ever, head 20 minutes past the turn-off to your destination, then follow that up with a windy, bumpy road, which results in Kaya puking all over the car and discover Brennyn peed all over her seat (I thought then- turns out she just poured her entire water bottle on her lap!), you can forgive me for not relaxing into the notion that everything would turn out great.

Which it does.

But first there is vomit to clean. Which I make Bal do since I am still nauseated from the ferry ride. About the time he is dry heaving, I vaguely recall a conversation I had with the owner of the cabin we were booked in. Seems she was going to be away and that I was to call Michael to get the key. Only the jotted note circa 1990, before iPhones and emails kept track of all my important information, was long forgotten and sent into recycle no doubt as whimsical scribbles.

So now I have one kid sitting in vomit, one sitting in pee, a husband dry heaving beside me and freezing cold air blasting through the windows rather than the warm, stuffy vomit air that is our only alternative.

And nowhere to go.

Since a local lady had me write the archaic note in the first place without following it up with a reciept, I take a gamble, and hope random Ucluelet folks may direct us to Michael. “Oh hey,” I ask the info centre worker, “do you know Michael?”

Had she said “Yes!”, what a delightfully quirky small town story I would have for you.

But she didn’t.

So we find the (closed) office via GPS (see people, technology works, not note taking!) hoping to see a note. There is nothing. We then find the actual cabin. Nothing.

Puke, pee, panicky me…

We decide to head to the lighthouse for a little outdoor fun to pass some time, hoping we arrived just a little early. Only it is cold. Really, really cold, and windy, and the girls are miserable. Well, that’s not entirely fair, we are all miserable. And oh how we must stink. We go back to try again.

Eventually Bal invades another resort, accosts one of their house cleaners, who calls someone, who knows the owner, who in turn calls me.

She is rude and blames me and is saying exactly all the wrong things to someone who is sitting in a car filled with smelly bodily excretions. So much for the customer is always right.

At any rate, Michael arrives and he is sweet and lovely and small-town quirky. He is also chatty, wanting to share with me the history of Ucluelet and the intimate details of how it came to be known as the ‘Graveyard of the Pacific’. I try to be polite. Really I do. “Hmm, Oh, Wow, Really?, Cool…” until I can take it no longer. “Dude,” okay, I don’t think I really say dude but I want to. “Puke. Pee. Nausea. MISERY.” and I think he thinks I might add myself to ‘the graveyard of the pacific’ if he doesn’t get me to my cabin, now. Or if he didn’t, he should have.

We arrive.

We change, refresh, snack and jump on beds.

We breathe.

And since the sun is out and this is the last sun forecasted for our stay, we head out again (with a stop to buy febreeze) where we brave the sharp, cold winds to explore,

to dance,

and to play.

Grumpy tourists turned quirky explorers.

Hardships happen. They just do. They knock you down and if you let it, you can just stay there and wallow.

Or, if you’re like a brilliant kid I know, we can dust the sand off, turn away from the blistering winds, and lift ourselves even higher.

Had our vacation started with smooth sailing (in so, so many ways!), I am certain I would not have appreciated this moment quite so much.

Nor felt such immense gratitude for the wine and hot tub that would soon follow.

Without the lows, the highs would simply not be so high. A fair trade and one I’ll make time and again.


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