THE BEACHLESS BEACH TRIP
By Hannah Orr
One time when we were living in Haiti, we decided to go to the beach with a group of friends.
Now, despite living on the coast of an island surrounded by water, a beach trip actually takes a bit of planning. In order to find a sandy area that isn’t covered in trash, you have to get pretty far out of the overpopulated towns, which involves knowing the right place, arranging reliable transportation, and sending someone to check the route ahead of time to make sure it’s actually passable. So with all these things checked off our list, we hopped into the back of the truck we hired and settled in, hoping to be laying on beautiful sand within an hour or two.
But things didn’t quite go as planned on our journey to the beach; while our scouts had found the roads fairly drivable the day before, overnight rain complicated things. When we got off the main road and ventured towards the beach, we got stuck in thick mud. Multiple times. At first, our driver persevered, trying to still get us down to our destination. But eventually, it became clear that it wasn’t going to be possible. After spending half the day in and out of the mud and still just too far off to walk the rest of the way to the beach, we finally decided we should cut our losses and head home. Unfortunately, due to the excessive heat and rough terrain, our truck’s engine kept continually dying. This led to more waiting, more walking, and more wasted time in the hot sun. Eventually, as we neared sunset, we finally made it back to the main road where a replacement truck was able to bring us the rest of the way home. By this point, all of us were tired, hungry, sunburnt, and grumpy.
The journey we were supposed to take that day didn’t turn out the way we’d planned, which was incredibly frustrating at the time. But when I look back on that “Beachless Beach Trip” as we’ve come to call it, it wasn’t a total waste. We forged new friendships with people we didn’t know very well and grew stronger bonds with those we did. I still got a decent tan once the burn faded. And now, whenever I’m stuck in traffic or having car trouble on the side of the road, I don’t get nearly as upset as I used to - because I know that even if it takes longer than expected, in the ease and surplus of America, I’ll always reach where I’m going eventually.
Not every journey we end up on is a fun one. Not every trip we take goes as planned. But, if we’re paying attention, there’s a lesson to learn from every path we find ourselves on.