WOW Word-Of-the-Week #324: Predictable

November 15, 2010 by  

Predictable – to know in advance.

Is it important for you to know things in advance? Do you plan and prepare so that you can predict your outcome? Are you okay when things turn out different than you predicted?

I have spent a considerable amount of time traveling for work and for FUN over the past 35 years. I have flown over one million miles just on United Airlines. And as much as I plan and prepare for my travel something always unpredictable seems to happen.

I learned the first time I flew internationally, in 1984, that you can never leave your bags unattended.  Somewhere between checking out of the hotel in Paris and arriving at the airport my camera bag with all equipment and film was gone. You must always count them and keep an eye on them every time you are in transit.

In 1994, I learned that pickpockets are smooth and fast and will throw away any items that have no value to them. We got a call from the Mexican Embassy two weeks after that “learning lesson” saying they found the passport in a trash can.

In 1996, in Rome, I learned to never put all valuables in one bag. While waiting in line for a taxi, I got distracted and almost had my carryon bag snatched out of my hand. All of the airline tickets, passports, jewelry and money were in that bag. I now split those items up and put them in multiple places.

What I can predict for sure, tourists are targets. Their purses, their bags, their wallets, their cameras, anything of value.  I never carry money or credit cards except in transit, and they never leave my possession. I assume everyone is out to rob me and I always put everything in the safe immediately upon arrival. (I have also learned not to check out before clearing out the safe.)

I have never been violated in my hotel room until this trip. In broad daylight my purse was taken. I was in the bathroom and the door was open. New lesson learned: never stay in rooms that are vulnerable to the street. Every place we have stayed so far was gated and walled, clearly for that reason.

This week focus on what you consider predictable. Has there ever been a time when that changed to being unpredictable? How did that make you feel? Was it stressful and upsetting? Were you able to make it a learning lesson?

Reader Responses

“Thank YOU  Susan, I love to hear about your travel all over the world, through your WOW I learn a little about another place of the world, I had not had the funding to allow myself to travel, but hearing you it is my goal to take care of my funding so that  travel the world too. You have done well for yourself! You keep traveling and you keep telling!” – Brenda

“Yikes! I’m so sorry about your purse.  One of the hotels I was just in had a video on t.v. you almost had to watch.  It was on security and how to lock your door properly was the first thing.  It said, “Always keep your door locked”.  I think hotels are doing this now because they don’t want all the hassles they have to go through with having their vacationers being robbed. Hope you and Chris are having a grand time in spite of being robbed.  We’re never too old to learn lessons.  Thanks for sharing.” – Love, Elaine

“I never cease to be amazed at the things I learn from your travels. This column alone was worth so much from your firsthand experience. Consider expanding your writing skills to even more productive markets. You possess a wealth of personal information gained from your trips aboard. Each foreign country can challenge travelers in ways known only to people like you. Those of us back here learn from others! Best as always.” – PC

“As you noted in your column, the best laid plans of mice and men can always be turned topsy-turvy by our unpredictable world. My wife, Kristen, always is very good about planning for the unknown or unpredictable. As seasoned a traveler as she is, Kristen never leaves any stone unturned. She actually anticipates the unpredictable. On top of that, she does not like surprises. I, on the other hand, will take care of everything that are within my control and not worry about our unpredictable world. As I have grown older, I have learned that not only are people unpredictable, but they are careless and indifferent. As a result, many of those same people who are in positions of authority can ruin a good trip or a good time. So, while I keep those things in mind I try not to let the unpredictableness of people AND life upset me when on a trip or going some place. It is not worth the heartache. When we are disappointed by unpredictable people and events, it is best to let it pass. There is only so much we can plan for in life. So, we make the most of a bad situation and move on. Thanks, Susan. Have a great weekend. Take care.” – “Warrior” Joe


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