Nope, we’re not talking about ourselves here. We’re far from professional travelers (for now).
Long-time Travel Channel host Samantha Brown (@SamanthaBrown) was in Washington, DC for the Travel and Adventure Show in mid-March. Her seminar, A Comedy of Travel Errors: My Globalization of Mishaps, was a journey through some of the more uncomfortable moments of her traveling career.
In one example, Samantha recounted going to Paris for the first time. She practiced with French language tapes leading up to the trip, but once she entered her first Parisian cheese shop and the woman behind the counter spoke to her (in rapid-fire French, not simple staccato nouns), she froze. Not only did all of those French tapes suddenly flee from her memory, she also lost her grasp on English. The woman offered “Anglais? English?” but Samantha’s brain had gone to mush. She ran out of the shop with tears running down her face.
It would have been easy to go back to her hotel room, cry it out, and decide she didn’t like Paris. Instead, Samantha hit the grocery store for a quick crash course in French language. It’s a tactic she still uses today, calling canned goods “colorful, cylindrical flash cards”. Plus, she notes, perusing the aisles in a grocery store doesn’t single you out as an obvious tourist. If anyone notices you, it’s more likely you’ll look like a cost-conscious shopper.
“Travel is imperfect, we are imperfect,” Samantha said, “and when the two come together you can have a wonderful time.”
Considering Samantha’s extensive travel-based career (and associated wisdom), we wondered whether or not she ever gets to travel with her husband and if they ever get to take a vacation (you know, for fun). As you might imagine, having a job that sends you on the road 200 days a year changes your perspective.