And then…I fell. Traveling as a clumsy person.
I fall… a lot.
When I met my husband, one of the first things he said was “Wow, you’re accident prone!” as I bumped my knee with the table for the 100th time the week we met. Do you know those kids that can’t have a cup of milk on the table because it will be spilled? Yeah, that was me. Or the girl that decides to dress up and wear high heels for a party, and falls in the middle of the dance floor? Yep, guilty as charged.
I’m not kidding.
I fall, bump by knees, my head, my limbs…a lot. I’m so used to it that it has become part of who I am. I like to look at it as one of my quirky, endearing qualities. Yeah….
For the most part, I try to avoid dangerous activities as I know what the outcome could (probably will/eventually/inevitably/certainly) be. Although I have run a 5k obstacle course without a trip to the ER! **insert proud face here** But then again the first (and last) time I tried paintball I got injured, like, bleeding injured. Well, there as that time I went ziplining and survived! (another proud moment of my life). So, from time to time, I do risk it a little…You’ve got to understand that what seems normal and fun for most, it’s risky business for me.
Now that you know how my limbs and coordination fail me from time to time, just imagine what happens when we travel. We have been horse back riding in the Andes mountains, hiked up to a natural hot springs waterfall in Colombia, climbed to the top of Notre Dame, and the Saint Peter’s Cathedral’s dome – 37 stories high!-, walked hundreds of miles on the streets of New York, New Orleans, Paris, and Rome…a lot of falling is bound to happen for someone like me.
I remember a couple of years ago when we spent our family Christmas vacation in Daytona Beach, FL. We rented a huge place to house 17 people for a long week. I was excited to explore the place, and as I was walking through the rooms and entered the playroom, I missed a step, fell forward, bumped my head on the table, and my knee bruised almost immediately. Oh well, what could I do other than laugh about it?. So I put myself together, limping through the rest of the house.
The next morning we drove a few miles south to visit some friends, and again, as I was outside on their back deck, I accidentally took a step backwards, missing the fact that I was up on a deck…falling down backwards and turning in mid air-matrix style-, landing on my knees. Bloody accident that was. I think I still have that scar.
One of my most memorable falls was while walking through the gorgeous gardens of Versailles Palace in France. It was a rainy day, but the rain had subsided for the most part. The gardens are so big, you can literally get lost in them. We did. For a long while. We stopped a few times to try to find our way by puzzling out a (French) map of the grounds. I mean, the place looks like a maze of beautiful plants and rose bushes (it smells delicious). The maze-like part where we got lost has high bushes that serve as walls, giving the illusion of large corridors of green walls, and dirt floors under the blue (cloudy that day) skies. A little science lesson here for you guys:
Dirt plus water equals slippery mud.
I learned that the hard way. We knew it was slippery. In fact, we were all walking quite carefully through the muddy patches. I think I was thinking to myself about how proud I was to make it so long without incident…and then it happened.
My thoughts betrayed me as my feet unintentionally moved in a skating motion. In slow mode, my brain was thinking “what is happening?” while my legs were trying really, really hard to keep the balance. All of a sudden, my whole body tilted right and my legs gave up to the idea of saving me from the inevitable.
I fell into a pool of mud.
I fell so hard I thought I broke my wrist. The entire right side of my body was saturated with brown, wet, mud. My shoes, my jeans, my very white jacket…brown. Good thing I know how to handle these things with a sense of a humor and a little decorum. I was not ashamed of finishing my day, walking through a French Palace, covered in dirt.
So, dear fellow travelers, and fellow dreamers. Don’t hesitate to go see the world, and to do risky things from time to time if you are like me. I’m the queen of clumsy, but life is good, and clumsiness makes for great stories.
What is your most memorable fall? Also, as you read this, can you guess how many bones I’ve broken?
***Read about our travel adventures here!***