Posted on May 2, 2018
What to do when your travel plans fall apart and nothing goes as planned
Have you ever had a vacation where literally NOTHING went right? As in, you never even made it to your destination? That is exactly what happened to us this past week. For months we had been planning on going to Big Bend National Park. We weren’t even three hours outside Austin when smoke began billowing out of our engine compartment. Our vacation came crumbling to pieces before it had even started.
We sat there on the side of the road, frustrated, but quickly sprang into action and called roadside assistance for help. In this moment of being completely helpless on the side of the road we realized that we had a choice. We could be pissed off and angry, or we could CHOSE to be happy and make the most out of a crappy situation, which is exactly what we did. We watched movies inside the RV, and played in the wildflowers on the side of the highway. We remained optimistic that the next day we could get back on the road and only lose one day of our trip. Rather than just being angry, we made the conscious choice to just be present in the moment and enjoy it, because after all, everybody was safe and the truck wasn’t on fire (we later learned there was a fuel leak, and thank God we have a diesel truck).
In the past when we had roadside issues, we didn’t handle it so gracefully (but we also didn’t have good roadside assistance)! Kristy probably handled it better than I did, but I was visibly angry and frustrated. Even though I couldn’t change the situation, I let my emotions get the best of me, but this time it was different. I decided to stay positive.
After we got towed into the closest RV park, just a few miles down the road, we had to wait until the next morning for the truck to be towed to a shop. We thought there might be a good chance we could get back on the road quickly because we had self-diagnosed a fuel line leak. But our hopes were shattered…..and three days later we got the truck back….YUP! THREE DAYS!
Needless to say, nobody was happy about that. We were sad that our trip to Big Bend was shot. Neither Kristy or I wanted to risk going into the desert with a repair done by a small town mechanic. Yet the whole time we remained upbeat and didn’t let the situation dictate our emotions. We stayed present in the moment, and enjoyed it for what it was.
Had we broken down in a larger city, we likely would have been on the road in the same day. But, being in a small town we had to wait for parts. It was something we could not change though. The fuel line could have broken the week before, or the week after the trip, but it was providential to happen right at the start of vacation.
I’ve learned in the past couple years, not just through full time RV life, how important it is to be present in the moment. It’s super easy to check out when you have a computer in your pocket. It’s easy to be angry that things didn’t go as planned (things rarely do). The one thing you always have control over though is how you react. I like the Tony Robbins quote, “life is not happening TO you, it’s happening FOR you.” Meaning, that even if things are not going well, even tragic things, are all happening for a reason.
During or stay in the tiny town of Junction, TX, we decided to make a new family vacation plan. We booked a reservation at Garner State Park that was just an hour away from where we broke down. Since we had lost three full days we wanted to stay close and maximize our time together as a family (that wasn’t spent driving). It ended up being an excellent decision.
We thoroughly enjoyed the rest of our vacation, we hardly even thought about not being at Big Bend, and as far as our kids knew, we were at Big Bend. Had we gone down the path of negativity we likely would not have enjoyed the rest of our time away. I was able to enjoy checking out of work related things, everybody got to enjoy lots of outside time: we hiked, we swam in the Frio River, and the kids enjoyed LOTS of time climbing on the tree just behind the RV.
Despite being content with the situation, I feel I will definitely be getting the truck looked at by an excellent diesel mechanic to ensure our next road trip is break-down-free.