Surrendering Vacation is part of the Rum Rum Caribbean Castaway Trip Report.
Stick to the Plan! is my best travel advice. Trips, no matter how last minute, take a degree of planning. Along the way, bumps and bruises are expected. In China, I misinterpreted the visa policy and was detained all night in the airport on my birthday (see China 72-hour Visa-Free Transit Disaster (again)). I was told I could either go to Hong Kong for the day or return to Japan where I had just come from.
I couldn’t find any award availability (see British Avios Trickeration: No Online S7 Booking, No Cathay, No Dragon) and contemplated scrapping the rest of my trip and heading home to the US via Japan. I would have had to give up my tailor-made clothes that I ordered when I arrived in Shanghai earlier in the trip (see TPOL’s Guide to Bargaining Abroad), and, most notably, I would have had to give up my business class flight home and fly revenue in coach. I thought of it as penance for my critical error.
On account of the fact that it was my birthday and that Ms. TPOL said we came too far to give up, I paid $650 for two round trip ticket to Hong Kong (see TPOL’s Worst Flight Experiences). The result was the best birthday in recent memory. I had Dim Sum by day in Hong Kong and partied by night at M1NT Shanghai (see TPOL’s Guide to A Night in Shanghai).
This leads me to my most recent trip where I experienced bumps, bruises, and one nasty laceration I planned a last-second Caribbean Island Tour (see How to Book Trinidad’s Carnival Last Second for Free*) which started in Trinidad for Carnival, by far the most enjoyable thing I have ever done (see Last Minute Trinidad Carnival Guide! Everything You Need to Know And Stuff You Will Figure Out On Your Own!). After Trinidad, I went to Grenada which was supposed to be relaxing (see Grand Anse Beach Grenada: Detox After Carnival). While the day of lounging was a great time, I had a small accident in a pick-up game of basketball. My Ben Wallace block was clean but my landing was not.
As you can see from the photo, I was in good spirits. My face, on the other hand, was not. Wounded, I still went to the bar and tried to power through the injury. I must’ve looked a lot worse than I thought because people were giving me troubled looks, and some even told me it was best for everyone if I went home.
Ostracized like the Phantom of the Opera, I retreated into the shadows. The next day, a quick visit to the doctor confirmed that the only thing hurt was my pride, so I again attempted to socialize. Again, I was met with strange looks and a few, “Hey man, who beat you up?” Nobody was buying the basketball line. Depressed, I decided to stay in that night. The next day, I looked outside at the happy people at the beach, and then I looked in the mirror. My face looked worse than before.
Fed up, I searched for flights back to Puerto Rico but couldn’t find Avios availability. I then looked for revenue flights and found one that connected through Miami and would arrive early the next day. For $624 TFOL, The Freak of Life, could go home to hide and heal. Like my time in Iceland when I messed up my flight and had to pay full fare to fly home because Norwegian doesn’t fly from Reykjavik (see Flying Icelandair by Mistake), I decided that this was enough for one trip and booked my extraction home.
I’ve rationalized that I would have had to pay money to stay at a hotel in my next destination since there weren’t points options in those places anyway. I also factored in that I would be saving money by not having to pay to drink and eat. Finally, unlike being on the other side of the world like when I was in Hong Kong, Puerto Rico was relatively close by.
Overall, I figured that it would be worthwhile for Humpty Dumpty to put his face back together and his mental health back in order before heading out once again. I didn’t see it as a complete surrender. I saw it as a tactical retreat. However, like my beautiful face, my beauty of an itinerary which thus far had cost me next to nothing and my swagger as a savvy traveler, now has a black mark that will take some time to heal.
What say you?