You Don't Know What You Don't Know

planning travel Oct 11, 2021

Recently, I was heading home on the train after a weekend away, and, after departing one of the stations, the train immediately stopped.  For a brief moment, I wondered if perhaps someone had missed their stop.  And that got me thinking about my own experiences of missing a not only a train, but also a plane, and a really, really big boat.  

It was late January 2001.  My boyfriend at the time and I had been gifted a three night cruise to the Bahamas.  We were scheduled to fly from St. Louis to Miami, where we would board the ship.  I thought the most difficult part of trip would be finding a bathing suit in January.  I was wrong.

The morning of our departure, the St. Louis area had an ice storm.  We left for the airport extra early since we knew the roads would be challenging in some spots.  Shortly after we arrived at the airport, we were informed that our flight was canceled. 

A canceled flight was a new experience for both of us and we wondered what the heck we were supposed to do now?   

The airline booked us on another flight for later the same day.  The later flight meant that we would arrive after the cruise ship was scheduled to leave the dock.  And guess what…the boat don’t wait!

We arrived in Miami, found a hotel for the night, and worked on arrangements to somehow join the cruise the following day.  The next morning, we hopped on a small plane that took us to Freeport, Bahamas, where we were able to board the ship.  It was a three night cruise, so in addition to losing one night to poor planning, we also missed the cruise announcements and safety information.  We didn’t know we had to sign up to participate in certain activities, or where things were located, or the basic process for vacationing on this massive ship.  We had NO CLUE.  We fumbled along for the next two days, did a few free things here and there, and otherwise watched movies, ate ice cream and enjoyed looking at the ocean.  It ended up being a very odd experience and I would imagine that had we boarded the boat on time, we would have had a much different experience.  

When recounting the story - the canceled flight, the late arrival to Miami, the small plane to Freeport, and of course, literally missing the boat - nearly everyone told us that it's not a good idea to fly out the same day you are to board a cruise ship, in case something like that were to happen. 

Good to know…now.  But you don’t know what you don’t know.  And we didn’t know anything about cruising.  The trip had been a gift, so we didn’t have to plan much, either.  We were young and looking to save money by flying out the same day.  

I haven’t taken another cruise, but if I do, I will be much more knowledgeable and prepared the second time around.

 I'll save the train story for another day, but I will tell you that you can, indeed, find yourself on the wrong side of the tracks.

The point is, you won’t know everything.  And some lessons really stink.  But the good news is that what you don’t know, others do.  So take their experiences and your own failures, and learn from both.  And tell yourself that you can, and will, do better next time.  Be open to learn from others and be willing to accept your past failings as a part of the growth process.  There is certainly no shame in that! 

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