You're Going to Make Mistakes...and That's NOT a Bad Thing!

If you follow me on Instagram you’ve likely noticed that I recently spent some time in Africa with my husband, Scott. I was so excited to visit our friends who are traveling the world, and this was a trip that both Scott and I were really looking forward to!

But, like most things in life, our travel plans didn’t go exactly as expected (gulp). Here’s how it all went down...

Our flight was scheduled for 8 pm. At 5:15 I was feeling pretty good about our timing as Scott and I prepared to leave for the airport. Just to be sure, I double-checked our flight status only to realize that our flight was scheduled for 5:50 pm, not 8:00 pm!

My stomach dropped. I felt hot and faint; how could I have messed this up!? Usually I’m so organized!

“Scott!” I shouted, “Our flight is at 5:50! Our flight is at 5:50!”

Better Late than Never

We travel a lot, but for some reason I didn’t check us in for our flights earlier. I didn’t double check the time of our flight or even look at an itinerary until that moment.

As Scott called the Uber, I found myself desperately hoping that somehow we could still make the flight. Maybe it’s delayed! Or maybe there’s another flight in an hour that we could catch. Honestly, I didn’t think we’d make the flight, but my brain reached for any solution that didn’t end with us canceling the trip.

When our Uber picked us up a few minutes later, I felt awful. I apologized over and over to Scott, but Scott being Scott, he didn’t chastise me or act angry toward me. He even apologized, saying that there were things he could have done, too!

Both of us tried to stay calm and kind to each other as we got on the phone with the airline to see if there were any solutions. In situations like this, it’s so tempting to fly off the handle. You can bet that the booking agents get a lot of flack every single day from frustrated travelers, but Scott and I always try to be nice to them (hint: you’re a lot more likely to get your way if you’re kind to the people on the phone!).

It Could be Worse...

At some point during the ride, we reached the inevitable conclusion that we just weren’t going to make the flight. Our next option was to take the same flight 24 hours later.

Sean, our Uber driver, turned around and took us back home. “You know,” he said, “it could be worse. No one is dead.”

His words stuck with me. How true! So we missed a flight, but it’s not really that big a deal, in the grand scheme of things.     

Sean went on to say, “I’m sorry you missed your flight, but I’m glad I was here to witness this. I’m going to go home and hug my wife. I need to treat her the way you two treat each other... I really needed this today.”

It was a win for Sean and his wife even though it was a setback for us.

In life, we love to feel like we have control. It would be pointless for me to berate myself and think, “If only I’d checked the itinerary! If only I’d checked in earlier!” Truly, none of us can really control what happens. We could get hit by a bus tomorrow and it would all be over, we don’t know!

We can’t control the grand scheme of things, but we can do our very best in every moment. For me, and hopefully for you, my very best means forgiving myself and others, and treating all with kindness and patience. 

"We can't control the grand scheme of things, but we can do our very best in every moment." Share on Twitter.

Our Round the World Couple friends say that travel mistakes like this only cost us time and money. It did cost us both, but Sean was right: nobody died! And heck, maybe it was all worth it – because who knows what might have changed for Sean and his wife thanks to my misstep. 

Although I’ll definitely be checking our itinerary earlier on the next trip!

Courtney Rioux, The Whole Artist, coaches actors and other creative talent who feel stuck in their career and want more out of life. She's here to help you shift your mindset from stuck and unhappy to empowered and joyful — all while making it feel fun and easy. It’s like therapy without the therapy.