Barcelona: A Travel Story With an Unexpected Wrinkle and a Free Gift

An inspirational travel story of how to deal with misadventure in a foreign land.

This is one travel story of misadventure where he came out a winner and you get a free gift, too.

Bad things can happen at any time. We don’t plan for them, that’s for sure. But they do happen. Welcome to planet Earth that’s teeming with goodness and brewing with people ready to steal and ravage with no thought for the ramifications to their unwilling victims.

It doesn’t matter where we are. Our travel stories can happen at the local grocery store or we can be in a foreign land where we don’t speak the language and exchange rates lull us into thinking we’re buying lunch with monopoly money.

What’s important is not that bad things happen, but how you react to them.

Inner Critics? Oh, that’s when they’re quick to pipe in their two cents worth.

“See? Everything’s ruined now!” It can moan with drooped shoulders as you wonder how you’ll ever deal with it.

“Uh oh. It’s panic time!”  Stomach muscles tie into knots and a burning flush makes you tremble.

Others cry out, “That sunnuvabitch!” with fists clenched against impotence and itching to strike out.

The more passive ones might shrug their shoulders and say, “Oh well. Ce la vie…” while they don’t deal with the situation at hand.


You can send your Inner Critic on permanent vacation in nether nether land. And handle the misadventure travel story with grace like Paul did on his trip to Barcelona back in 2009.

Here’s how the story went down. As you read, ask yourself how would you have treated it if it were YOUR travel story?  As a nightmare fueled by panic?  Or a gift of adventure in the guise of calamity?

Like all summer vacations planned well in advance, it was a big trip, one Paul was looking forward to. The last thing he expected was the kind of travel story you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy.

No, Paul’s headset was filled with all the great things he wanted to do in… Barcelona!

It was far from his Vermont home where he was habitually surrounded by the green abundance of nature. To the people who knew and respected him as a High School teacher and coach, even the sound of Barcelona was exotic. This was to be an amazing trip of big city lights, foreign flavors, Spanish classes, and new adventures with new people to meet.

He traveled alone since it wasn’t easy to find someone willing to take a month off during the summer. No worries, though. He left with the plans all set: airplane tickets purchased, the first hotel of the trip booked, and he was off.

What could go wrong? After all, his team had just finished a winning season and travel to far away places was not an unknown factor in his life. He’d even taken the kids on a field trip to foreign jungles where the insects were bigger than a baseball and the snakes were a common part of the scenery. All of those trips had gone off without a hitch.

In short, he left home feeling a winner.

What he hadn’t planned on was life in a jungle made of concrete.

The first morning in Barcelona greeted Paul with blue skies and burning heat as the summer sun beat down on the pavement. His optimism was high as he worked his way through the labyrinth of an unknown language and alien customs to buy a bus ticket and find the right bus stop.

This, in itself, was quite a feat considering his command of the Spanish language at that point consisted of “hola, gracias, and albondigas”. Hello, thank you, and meatballs are three words that can only get you but so far.

Standing there, surrounded by a tapestry of foreign people and feeling on top of the world, he looked around to take in the sites and thought, “So far, so good.”

That was when he had the misfortune (or was it the good fortune?) of meeting one of the locals in a rather dramatic encounter.

Actually, he never officially met the fellow in question, but the delinquent certainly did make good friends with Paul’s wallet. In fact, the two happily melted into the crowd and left Paul by himself in a foreign country with no money, no credit card, no ATM card, no identification. Oh, and no phone. Paul is an adventure traveler no matter what the destination.

Suddenly, his dream vacation had the potential to turn into a nightmare.

If you’ve ever traveled to Spain, you know that theft is not something that can be taken care of with one short phone call, despite what the commercials try to sell you to the contrary.

Foreign police stations became his #1 tourist attraction. Yes, plural. It took him a while to find the right station to report to.

Straightened circumstances of having to live off the loose change he had in his other pocket couldn’t sustain his original travel story. Dreams of good restaurants and an exciting night life went by the wayside. Not until his identity—and corresponding access to finances—could be re-established.


Your life’s travel story isn’t about what you do or where you go.

It’s about taking the voyage within to understand your participation in the circumstances around you.


I heard about Paul’s misadventure after he got back when we connected electronically.

“How were you changed by the vacation?” I wrote.

After all, what’s the point of leaving home and visiting foreign places if not to be changed by the experience? If you’re not looking to be affected by your travels, you’re better off watching the travel channel from the comfort of your own living room, right?

This is the reply that I got from him in an email:

“Good question about the trip. I’ll think more on it, but my immediate response is to accept the experiences as they unfold. There were some bleak moments after the robbery, but by reaching deep inside, I began to put things into perspective and took pleasure in the unexpected and the unquantifiable: the energy of the food market, the first taste of cafe con leche in the morning, the gargoyles adorning City Hall building, the smell of a bakery on every corner…”

That was his free gift. (Yours is coming up.) He might not have chosen it willingly. Resistance was the reigning king for a while. But he ultimately did make the choice to create the gift that came out of the mess.

In the end, he worked it all out and even got to see a side of Spanish life you wouldn’t normally see as a tourist.

That wasn’t a vacation he took. It was a journey.

This is true whether we’re talking about a holiday or everyday life. Paul went back home, still the winner, but in a different kind of ball game.

Now those are the best kinds of travel stories ever!

When living your travel story, experience is the strongest teacher.


(Click to tweet if your recognize it’s true.)

Make it Personal. Use the tips from Paul’s Travel Story. 

Whether abroad or at home, when something bad happens, do this:

  • Accept the experience as it unfolds.
  • Take steps to fix it if you can.
  • Tell your ego-intellect (Inner Critic) to calm down and breathe if you panic.
  • Release the event and dig down inside to find the simple pleasures of life:

Taste something new.

Find beauty in your surroundings.

Take in a new fragrance.

Look for the unquantifiable.

Be the Light in your life. Because YOU CAN.

In short, to make  your life the best travel story ever on planet earth: Be curious… release resistance… discover something new about yourself… and enjoy the changes. After all, experience is always the strongest teacher.


Now for your FREE GIFT so you can put this into concrete action…

Action plan cartoon: Ideas without action are just daydreams. Enlightertainment with Glenn Younger, author and spiritual coach on DivineLightVibrations, Inner Critic
"Get What You Want Because You Can" free EJournal opt in from Enlightertainment with Glenn Younger on and Waymakers Academy; Spiritual Reawakening; Spiritual Transformation; Unconditional Love;meditation

ACTION PLAN to get the changes you want:

Step 1: Do the 9 minute Basic Activation of Divine Light Vibrations guided meditation. Remember: Change is evolutionary, not revolutionary. The more often you do it, the better the results.

Step 2: Using the tips in this article, fill in the quick and easy eJournal “Get What You Want Because You Can.” This will help you stay on track.

Step 3: Follow through on your action plan. TAKE PLEASURE in the new freedoms.


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All this for about the price of a cup of coffee and pastry with a friend.


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Let’s chat!

How would you react if you’d lost everything in a foreign country? 

Or has it already happened to you?

Share it in the comments below.

(My apologies to those whose comments were lost when I switched over to the new commenting system.)

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