A month ago, a friend of mine who is an experienced traveler, sounded disappointed when I told her my husband and I had turned to a travel agent to help us plan a trip to Europe. Recently, however, she changed her tune when she realized that things can go wrong when I’m traveling even a few miles from home.
Here’s what happened just last week. She’s a freelance writer who had an assignment to describe a walking tour in Seattle’s Chinatown/International District. I’d accompany her. She could take notes and photos and I could shop. We set a date to take the bus to Seattle together.
She would hop on the bus near her house and I would climb aboard the same vehicle at a Park & Ride. I did board the bus, despite the fact that a closed road in my neighborhood led to a long detour to reach the Park & Ride. When I got there the bus driver refused to let me on because he had already pulled away from the stop. I pleaded and he gave in.
I found a seat on the bus, easy to do since there were only about six passengers aboard. None was my friend. I texted her. “I’m on the bus. Where are you?” I added a lengthy description of where we could meet in Seattle. Since I’m not a proficient texter –my thumb hits the wrong letter or number as often as it lands on the right one — five minutes passed before I looked up. Finally I pushed “send” and raised my head.
No. This can’t be, I said to myself. We’re traveling away from Seattle. The number on the bus is right, but it’s going the wrong direction. I pulled the cord for the next stop and slunk out the back door so the driver who had broken a rule for me wouldn’t notice that I was not only the last one on his bus but the first off.
The story had a mostly happy ending. Eventually I caught a bus to Seattle and my friend and I met. We learned a little history of the area, saw several new sights, including the community garden pictured to the right, and worked off a few calories climbing hills. Even better, she agreed that I had made a sound decision in seeking help from a travel agent. My only regret was that she had strict instructions from her editor not to write about restaurants or shopping.