Or maybe I should have called this blog post “How I Ended Up in a Sheraton in Des Moines.” Actually, I went through several possible titles for this post. More on this below. The disappointing truth of it is I’m supposed to be in Cuba, but I’m not.
An unexpected family medical situation presented itself and stopped the trip in its tracks. I’m OK and things have settled down now.
Let me explain what happened last week. I was scheduled to leave with my husband for Mexico City and Cuba on Wednesday morning. Just 24 hours before, it became a concern the trip might not be possible. With time passing quickly, I had to make a decision in order for the whole trip to not be a loss. I’ll be sharing more tips and lessons I learned when travel plans have to change or be completely canceled in an upcoming blog post.
It wasn’t possible to change the trip dates by even a few days. Flights to Cuba were booked and the Casa Particulares I planned to stay in didn’t have availability. I just couldn’t get all the pieces of an itinerary to fit. As much as I wished, it wasn’t possible to rework the trip with the dates I had to travel.
Within a couple days, though, it became clear I would be able to salvage some of my time off. My husband and I were determined to make the most of the days we had. So, we decided to move up our fall trip to the Utah National Parks. Just so you understand why this made sense let me explain how I booked our Mexico City/Cuba flights. Using miles (of course!), I booked round trip flights from New York to Mexico City. I added a stopover to our tickets for September out west to see Zion and Bryce National Parks. When I canceled the flights to Mexico City, it also canceled our National Park flights because all the flights were linked on the same award ticket.
Moving up the National Park trip seemed like a great way to stop this domino effect. As quick as can be, we hit the road and headed west. (Thus, the alternate blog post title above.) Why drive instead of fly? Booking last minute travel during the weeks when almost every child in the U.S. has spring vacation is no easy feat. We would need a car to drive from park to park. Mostly, though, the ultimate freedom of an unplanned road trip was incredibly appealing.
I’m not going to lie. After spending months researching and reading about Cuba, it’s really sad and hard to let go of this opportunity. But, it’s just for now. Life demanded something else from me and I’m grateful that everything is OK and for the chance to pivot to a different trip.
In the end, we’re using this time to, not only visit Zion and Bryce, but we were also able to add Arches and Canyonlands National Parks to our itinerary, too. The upside is we wouldn’t have been able to do this much in the fall. The Utah National Parks are gorgeous and I’ll certainly be sharing all the details of the trip with you. Everyone should make it out here to see the vast expanse of rugged natural beauty. It’s humbling, awe-inspiring, and a reminder of our place in the universe.
For those of you who’ve asked about the details of my Cuba itinerary, I’ll do my best in an upcoming blog post to share what I had planned in the hopes of helping you plan your own trip.
Have you had to cancel a trip? How did you pivot? Share below in the comments. I’d love to know how you’ve handled it.