Do you have any deep held fears? Of course, we all do. Although I feel extremely comfortable traveling alone and doing some semi-risky things on the road in search of an adventure, I always feel that I can extricate myself from most anything as long as I have my phone or way to contact a friend, a credit card and my ID.
Recently I found myself in a sticky situation which later caused me to chuckle after about a 2 minute period of OMG, how do I get out of this one…….I found that taking a moment to breathe, to be grateful for what was certain and then taking action righted my course.
I had traveled to Cuba to meet and work with a photographer for 12 days. The first 2 days were on my own, 8 days with my host then a final 2 days again on my own. Short of a minor few hours of unsettled stomach, my first 11 days were without a hitch. On my final day and on my own, I was feeling pretty feisty and confidant. Why not grab a pedicab to an unknown area to explore and search out interesting subjects to photograph? Again, all went well until I was ready to head back the 5 miles back to my little casa. Money for a pedicab? Nada. I must have flipped out the small wad of cash when I removed the 5 CUC note to give to someone. So here I am in Cuba with no more cash, US credit cards do not work, cannot use US bank cards at ATMs, and as I mentally listed my options also reminded myself the US Embassy was closed and vacant.
What to do? How about sitting down on a nearby bench, breathing in the sea air and loving where I was and doing what I was doing? What a privilege? And the money I had flipped out onto a dirty street? I imagined it being found by someone who really needed it. Long food lines and little on the merchandise shelves had given me a sense of gratitude for what I have-way too much. So in my hot, humid revelry I imagined the cash finder walking into a Mercado and buy chicken. And everything else his/her family needed. The amount I lost was not much for me, but for a Cuban family was the equivalent of 2 months wages. Suddenly all seemed better.
I still had a 5 mile walk back to the casa and a period of digging into my bag looking for my small stash of American dollars. My host gladly exchanged the dollars for CUCs, enough to get me to the plane the next day. Whenever I get too smart for my britches (my dad’s famous phrase) I just remember that I have a lot for which to be thankful. And at the end of the day, I am happy to share no matter what the situation.