Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Not An Adventure Until Something Goes Wrong

When you read this, it will have been last night. So let's subtitle this with:

Last night

Tony and I are both packing an emergency bag and placing it beside our shoes and next to the bed.

We are, of course, hoping we won't need it.

This vacation indeed has become a little exciting.

Years ago, I learned from a Patagonia travel documentary that "Travel is not an adventure until something goes wrong."

This lone phrase has helped me cope with little inconveniences, or frights while traveling: once while fighting for a spot on one bus to reach a departing plane; once when a student had lost her passport the day of travel back to the US.

The phrase is helping me laugh (nervously) even now.

This afternoon we experienced a 6.3 earthquake in Lesvos. The epicenter was only off the coast of Lesvos, and it reached as far away as Athens. On the south of the island, there was considerable damage, but mostly frightened people and structures that can be fixed.

Tony was in a lounge chair on the shore, thinking I was behind him shaking the chair. I was inside feeling completely helpless as the floor swayed, the shelves shook and I was certain the roof was coming down. It felt like ancient history when Mount Vesuvias rumbled, blew, and covered the sight with ashes. I felt pure terror. Unprepared, I failed to make even the slightest reasonable move. **If we ever are technologically advanced enough to replay the moments of our life, this is surely one I will watch.

On February 6, 2017, the island was hit with three tremors, all fives on the Richter scale, causing seismologists to predict a fault line north of Lesvos that may be a side fault line of the North Anatolian fault line. This fault caused a 7.4 quake in Ismet Turkey that killed thousands in 1999. Soon after, another earthquake was predicted, and I hope today's shaker fulfilled that prediction.

Tony spent the next few hours perched on the shore watching for the big wave that sometimes follows an earthquake. Yes, we made an emergency evacuation plan and then went for dinner. And tonight we pack the essentials in our backpacks: passports, money, phones, and a change of clothes--we'll discuss our plan, and then we'll go to sleep, because one cannot live waiting and expecting the worst. However,  I will keep my mantra close..."It's not an adventure until something goes wrong."

How we love a jolly good adventure.

The next morning: All is well. No earthquake. Did we sleep well? Not bad--considering.

**...as it happens to every one of us, who, upon any sudden alarm of very ill news, find ourselves surprised, stupefied, and in a manner deprived of all power of motion...Montaigne, Of Sorrow-taken out of context to support my instance.

No comments: