I was recently contracted by Celebrity Cruise lines to serve as a speaker on their newly launched Silhouette ship destined for the Caribbean. Little did I know that the journey would require five flights and a number of delays just to get to Port Liberty in order to sail.
My first airplane ride took me to Calgary where I had been booked by US and Canada Customs for an interview to secure a NEXUS card. I had figured that having this would streamline the security process for me. What I didn't know was that you can't actually use the system, even if you are approved, until you receive the physical card which arrives in the mail about four weeks after the interview. Oh, well!
Next, I was off to Saskatoon. My luggage went to Vancouver! I told the airline that there wasn't really any point in sending it to my son's house that evening as my next flight was departing at 7:30 am.
My son and I arrived at the airport bright and early. We were eager to reach our New Jersey destination. We didn't know that we would be landing in Regina on the commuter flight to pick up passengers or that we would be delayed in Customs in Chicago so long that we would miss our next flight. This resulted in an extra five-hour delay!
We finally made it to New Jersey and quickly booked a tour of New York City for the following day. When the bus driver dropped us off at the ferry that would take us to Liberty and Ellis Islands, he stressed that we needed to be on the return ferry no later than 4:45 pm.
It was a beautiful day and we greatly enjoyed walking around the historic sites. When the time neared for us to head for the ferry's dock, my son indicated that he needed a bathroom. So, I stood at the dock and watched the ferry arrive - and then leave again. Where was my son? It turned out that he had been stopped by Security and had to show the receipts for his purchases because there had been some shoplifters in the gift store.
The next ferry arrived and we quickly found a seat and purchased a lovely pretzel to share during the ride. But something just wasn't right. My son decided to ask some questions of the crew and we soon realized that we were headed for New York instead of New Jersey! Wrong ferry! It took a few telephone calls to the tour company to gather information so that we could take a taxi from the landing dock across dozens of blocks in order to meet the tour bus again.
The next day we were determined to leave for our ship early enough to allow for any other unusual circumstances that might occur. Lucky, we did! The cab driver missed the turn! After what we suspected was some swearing in a language neither of us understood, he said "Driver sleeping" followed by some frantic and illegal turns and twists.
We made it to the ship and I arrived on time to do the television interview with the Cruise Director - but my luggage didn't make it on time for that - so I just carried on in what I was wearing for a broadcast that was replayed repeatedly over the next twelve days.
In a matter of four days, my luggage had been misdirected twice and we had missed an opportunity to streamline security, a flight, a ferry, a bus and the turn that would take us to our ship!
Sometimes life is like that. We set goals, make plans and begin the adventure with excitement. But then things can get in the way, delay us or just steal our motivation.
When life's troubles happen, we have a choice of crying or laughing. My son and I chose to laugh! And continue moving towards the goal.
As you stand at the start of a new year, my hope is that you will have a destination in mind, determination to succeed and a willingness to laugh at the things that will happen along the way!
Happy New Year!