I LOVE to travel. I go lots of places. I’ve seen a lot of weird stuff, but it seems to me that no matter where I go, who I go with, which mode of transport, I seem to attract the same kinds of somewhat painful, somewhat hilarious misadventures every time. After the fun of returning home from Mexico, I thought I should compile, to see if anyone else shares my “everything happens to me” disease of interesting.

When one travels, especially with me, you are guaranteed…

10. To get in the longest line possible. For everything. Ever.

Want a hotdog at the ball park? To ride a roller coaster? Get a coffee? Get through security in time to make your flight? Whatever you do, do not allow me to pick the lane you drive your car in, the clerk to buy your groceries from, or estimate an arrival time for your flight gate. It doesn’t matter if that line was zipping along when we got to the back of it, it will come to a screeching halt when my magical time stopping powers activate.

9. To experience some sort of diarrhea.

This can be attributed to my daringness to eat from grody street carts, pick food off the floor, and prefer to not wash my hands after the public restroom because honestly, touching that sink looks grosser. Or because I’m secretly trying to sabatoge myself and my traveling companions so I can add another funny poop story to my arsenal of travel tells that my students beg to hear.

<—-this is a “toilet” in a place I stayed in Panama. Thats the ocean underneath. You could watch fishes eat your number twos! Then eat fish for dinner. Really. Really.

8. To almost miss a plane/train/automobile.

Just trying to keep things interesting…I have often found my flight or even my name being called over the loudspeaker for last call boarding. I think I just enjoy a last minute sprint through the terminal, all eyes on me, a little workout and a little attention before being crammed in a seat for hours on end.

7. To find something amiss.

These “things” could range from your shoes (Mexico) to your toothbrush (almost every trip) to your plane ticket back home in time for Christmas (Peru). I like to leave my packing to almost the last minute. I am the one up at 2am when the flight leaves at 6am, making an ipod playlist, drinking a glass of wine to calm down for the panic that I and I alone have put myself in. Just to keep me on my toes.

6. To run into embarrassing Americans.

There is always someone willing to give into every bad stereotype that the worldwide syndication of shows like Baywatch, Hoarders, and Jersey Shore have permeated the international community with. Whether its the people who feel the need to wear the American flag as every type of clothing, or calling everyone in every Spanish-speaking country “Mexican.”

I also love the people who think that everyone should speak English, and get frustrated when people in other countries are sticking with their native tongue. Nothing like watching some guy saying “Can you get me more beer and pretzels in my room? More BEER and PRETZELS?! Por faVOR?!”  get louder and speak in a Spanish accent, thinking somehow that constitutes communication a Mexican will understand.

I also am embarrassed by and for Americans expecting to be waited on hand and foot, without ever offering an interest in the other peoples’ lives, cultures, or even saying “please” or tipping people who are living on a couple of dollars a day. They are employees. Not slaves.

5. To dance dance dance

We like, we like to party. But when you go out and dance at clubs, you are also exposed to a whole host of people who don’t know what they’re doing, and are cause for hilarity (see buses of middle-aged Canadians unloading at Senor Frogs in Puerto Vallarta and tearing up the dance floor to Black Eyed Peas for a better idea of what I’m talking about) and also foreign and domestic boys who think American girls are easy. Thanks, Girls Gone Wild videos.

I love to boogey on the floor, and one of my traveling rituals is to go on a downloading spree and make playlists with titles like “Mexico Spring Break 2004 Ultimate Getting Ready Remix.” But I am never in the mood to be inappropriately dragged, groped, fondled, freaked, or have my hair touched on the dance floor. And if you get aggressive and step on my feet, spill my drink, or knock into my friend? Prepare for a beat down. FACT.

4. To lament the lack of airplane food.

There were so many awesome jokes in that. I miss it. Now I have to pay nine dollars for a few pieces of wheat bread and a slice of turkey, just because we’re 36 thousand feet in the air? I live in a democracy!

3. To scour Skymall magazine and plan on buying several things.

Yeti garden statue? Waterbed for my grandma’s dog? Star Wars chess set? How about yes to all of the above!!

2. To encounter people with total lack of airport etiquette.

They crowd around the luggage carousel, like if they miss their bag the first time around, it gets sucked into a black hole, never to be seen again. They don’t know that they can’t bring liquids on the plane. They are wearing shoes with laces up to the knees that take hours to get through security. They spend twenty minutes trying to smash their clearly too large carry-on into the overhead bin, backing up the aisles. They allow their children sitting behind you to treat your chair like a springboard/punching bag/video game. They stand up when you’re taxiing the runway. They argue with the flight attendants. And if you’re traveling with me, they are seated ALL AROUND YOU.

1. To fall in love with everything.

I generally meet two or three men I could feasibly marry, if only to become a citizen of the country I’m in. (Oh Osvaldo, I still pine for thee! And Israel, thank you for introducing me to Mexican night cruises :) ) But its more than the Spring break flirtation. I fall in love with the culture, the food, the people I meet. Everyone is so cute and friendly, and excited that you want to know more about them and where they are from.

And so despite the crazy adventures, despite Security leafing through my makeup bags and dirty underwear (thanks, Al Queda) everytime I go anywhere by plane, despite the lack of running water, the bugs, the smells, the heat, the mishaps…there is so much to love about leaving this bubble.

Viva el mundo que Dios nos creyo!  (Yay for the world that God made for us!)