Normally when I travel I am paranoid I have missed a detail and somewhere along the line the itinerary will have me stranded or there will be some sort of catastrophe. But what’s life without a little adventure, right?
Like most people, I take an extra day when I travel. If I have an event on Wednesday, I fly out there Tuesday, get settled, attend the function on Wednesday and come home Thursday.
On a recent trip to Los Angeles, I did the unthinkable: no suitcase, no hotel, no car – just my backpack, a plane ticket and the address of the event (and my passport, of course). Even just writing that I relive it and my heart starts to race.
I flew out Saturday morning, got to L.A. in the early afternoon. I hopped in a taxi and was taken to the venue in Hollywood. The event started at 5 p.m. and went until midnight and afterwards I stepped out onto a busy Hollywood sidewalk and said to myself, “Gotta get to the airport now.”
I noticed a bus stop at the closest intersection and there was a guy sitting on the bench. I asked him if he knew how to get to the airport from where we were. He said it was in the opposite direction and that I’d need to take the Metro. All these years I’ve been going to L.A. I had no idea they have a subway system.
Luckily the terminal was a block and a half away so I hoofed it and made my way underground. I approached the ticket machine and asked some locals what to do. They said they were just pretending to buy tickets for the sake of the security cameras that were watching them but they said to just go right through without paying.
I made it to the end of the subway route and was guided to a shuttle bus aboveground that took me right to the airport and I got there less than two hours after stepping foot outside the theatre in Hollywood.
What was surprising to me was how receptive people were to a helpless tourist and how people essentially escorted me to where I needed to go just because they felt like doing the right thing.
While it is discouraging to hear about people’s rudeness and inconsideration it was very refreshing to be assisted as generously as I was in unfamiliar territory. There are still good people out there.