The one thing in travel you can never take for granted

The one thing in travel you can never take for granted


There comes a point when you have to think to yourself: Is this really a holiday? Have I really paid money to do this?

It's around the time you are hiking through wind and sleet icicles clinging to your hair melting snow trickling down your back and chest in icy rivulets the cold of a long day seeping deep into your bones. I actually shelled out cash to do this?

It's around the time you are staring at grass covered hills that should be laden with snow when you are clinging to a boat tackling towering waves when you are schlepping around a city that should be quite pleasant while covered in dust caked sweat.

Weather: Sometimes despite all of your best-laid plans mother nature strikes. Sometimes your holiday gets ruined through no fault of your own by rain or snow by sun or wind. And there is nothing you can do about it actually.

I have always loved the Crowded House song weather with You not just because of the tune but because of the sentiment: everywhere you go most of the time take the weather with you.

I'm sure there's some deeper, metaphorical meaning to Neil Finn's lyric but to me as a traveler it's just about weather about sunshine about clouds about rain. And everywhere I go I want to take it with me. Good weather.

That doesn't always happen of course. It hasn't always happened I have had plenty of trips affected by bad weather. These aren't so much natural disasters as natural annoyances: some have been minor others have been complete write offs but it's the can't be avoided aspect of weather happenings that ties them together.

I would not go on a ski trip with me I seem to have terrible luck when it comes to snow conditions: every mountain I go to people are telling me about how amazing it was just last week and how there is a blizzard predicted for the week after.

I have ridden sticky slush in whistler I have skied through pouring rain in Austria. I turned up in Thredbo once and there just wasn't any snow. It was a beautiful grassy hill with a whole plenty of disappointed package holiday ski bums hanging out at the base getting drunk.

And then I have been in Tekapo in New Zealand way outside of ski season and been snowed in when a freak storm hit and buried the town in a couple of meters of powder. Three days I ended up stranded there wading back and forth to the corner store each day to buy more pasta and wine.

I have had hiking holidays ruined too. I have been in Peru when the weather has changed when the sun has become dense cloud when the cool mountain air has become needle sharp sleet and hail. There is only so much your wet weather gear can do in a situation like that. You just have to plough on hoping to see the lodge around the next corner.

I have also taken a lot of houseboat holidays that have gone wrong when we have been hit with rain and storms when unseasonable cold weather has turned dreams of sun-baking on the deck into the harsh reality of getting from A to B on a largely vessel in the pouring rain. I have run aground because I couldn't see anything. I have sat up on deck shivering through 5 layers of clothing as I have tried to steer.

As a traveler there is almost nothing worse than when this sort of thing happens. You can't claim bad weather on insurance. You can't complain to the travel company to give you a refund. You can't try your trip again for free.

Your money for sure is gone. And your holiday as well is gone. All you can do surely is roll with the punches put it down to bad luck decide that next time you decide to travel you won't take a risk on a shoulder season or you will put more research into the likelihood of monsoonal storms or you will just hope that lightning does not strike one more time.

You have also to enjoy what you have when bad weather hits. This is after all the perfect time to bond with your fellow travelers to laugh at the ridiculousness of your situation to establish camaraderie over your shared hardship.

I have made some great friends on doomed hiking trips  ha've had plenty of good times on terrible snow days. You just stay inside. You have a laugh. You all ask each other have we really paid to do this?

Yes this is your holiday and unfortunately there is nothing much you can do about it.


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