19 August 2006

Travel Stories - My Best One!

We were standing in line waiting to get to the airline ticket counter. We, in this case, would be me and the young couple standing ahead of me. I could sense their excitement as I eavesdropped in on their conversation. Their backpacks were brand new and neatly matched. I heard little tidbits about Germany, England and New Zealand. I heard him say how cool it was that they would celebrate December 24th twice after crossing the International Date Line as they returned home to America. My interest piqued, I decided to say something about how slow the line was progressing. So where are you going I asked? The response was that they were about to embark on a 4 and ½ month adventure of a lifetime. They were taking an around the world trip.

We stood online for nearly 1 and ½ hours that day at the airport discussing travel. They wanted to know about Hong Kong, China, Thailand and eastern Europe. I was able to tell them so many things during the time we had together. The joy of traveling is being able to share short stories about having been to a particular city somewhere in the world.


I was traveling in southern Uganda from Kampala. The ride was about 3 hours long and I had a lot of soda during the ride. We finally arrived at the Primary Teachers College in Bushenyi. There we were met by a staff member and I asked whether I could use the bathroom. They asked me to sit in the outer hallway across from the President’s office. After 10 minutes the urge to relieve myself grew stronger and I said to the staff person that I was willing to go out into the bushes if using the bathroom was a problem. They looked at me rather oddly and told me that the President would be there any moment. Another 10 minutes passed followed by another 5 and finally he walks in – the President. He shakes my hand and says he is pleased to have me visit the school and he then led me to his bathroom.

It didn’t take long for me to finish my business. I washed my hands, wiped them off using the towel I found on the rack. I exited the bathroom and thanked them kindly. The staff person and the President had an odd look on their face. I asked the staff person what was wrong? He looked at me and said "you didnt take a bath". It then dawned on me – BATH ROOM. They wanted to know why I asked for a BATH ROOM if I didn’t want to take a bath. I asked what I should have said? "Shortcall" he said, "if you need to urinate you say short call and the other one is long call."

It is the collection of travel stories, and a venue in which they can be shared, that makes travel worthwhile. I really loved being able to tell this couple little stories about some of the places they would be visiting. I also told them how hard it was going to be for them. With small backpacks I suggested that their level of frustration will grow quickly as they accumulate items with no place to put them. I gave them my business card and asked them to write to me when they have been on their trip for three months. I quipped that by then they will either decide to never ever travel again or they will, like me, have the travel bug and live the rest of their lives seeking out new adventures and looking for an opportunity to tell people their travel stories.

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