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Receiving Bad News During a Trip

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Condom KingdomBack in June (yeah, I know it’s October now), Patrick and I headed to the Gold Coast for a long weekend away, sort of as a late birthday celebration. For those of you that don’t know, the Gold Coast is about an hour south of Brisbane, and it is known for having quite the party scene. I was actually thankful that we were there in the off season because of it.

Pat and I hit the ground running, wanting to make the most of our time away. Just in the first day or so, we managed to eat lots of food, meet up with a friend, experience a vampire cabaret show that was way cooler than we expected it could be, and so much more.

However, the second day (it was a Friday) started off on a not-so-happy note. Pat received a phone call from someone at work, which was frustrating to have to pick up in the first place as he thought he would then have to take time away from the trip to deal with office matters. Only, the news wasn’t about work; it was about the passing of a workmate.

While he wasn’t a truly close friend, it was still really upsetting news. We both really didn’t know what to do, so we just spent the rest of the day in a mellow vibe reading and spending time at a cafe. On the one hand, the news hadn’t yet felt official, but on the other, it didn’t seem right to just go off and act like nothing happened.

I know everyone has their own way of dealing with bad news, but what are you supposed to do when you receive bad news while on a holiday? Losing a loved one is one thing, and obviously that should take precedence over a holiday, but what about receiving news that is bad at a lesser level.

For instance, what if you were on a holiday and you received notification that your house got robbed back home and they took your nice jewelry? What if you received an email from a love interest that said they no longer wanted to see you? Which takes precedence… the trip you paid for and planned on for a while… or thinking/dealing with the incident?

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10 Responses to Receiving Bad News During a Trip

  1. Cindi October 5, 2010 at 10:07 pm #

    When we were on our RTW trip – my grandmother passed away. It was Valentine’s Day and I was in Botswana. I had a flight home the first week of March. I decided to stay in Botswana and complete our trip – mostly because my grandfather had passed in November 2007 – and had he still been alive, I would have felt like I had to be there to support him. But knowing I’d be home in a few weeks time, I could be there to fully support my mom upon my return. It was really hard to be so far away from home (I was very close to my granny) – but I know she would have wanted me to stay. You’re right – either way – it’s never easy.

  2. Lauren October 5, 2010 at 11:05 pm #

    I’m weird in that when I travel, I tend to try to stay away from technology as much as possible. I don’t want to be bothered by anything, including bad news, because I almost feel like I won’t be of any use in handling whatever the problem or tragedy is if I’m on the road.

    I didn’t take a phone with me on a week long trip to Ireland in 2004 and came back to find out my very close friend’s dad had died suddenly the day after I’d left. It was still awful, and I’m missed the funeral and everything, but it was like I was better equipped to deal with it finding out at home instead of abroad.

  3. Luke Hamilton October 6, 2010 at 1:44 am #

    It’s an awful situation and I am sorry you or anyone else that has to go through it. I am thankful to say that this hasn’t happened to me and I am now in my second year of living abroad in a country far away from home. Of course, that’s not to say it won’t ever happen but I try to avoid thinking about it.

    I imagine that is why it is so difficult. It must be an utterly helpless feeling. You would have two options; return home, or continue with your trip/life abroad and grieve or deal with it in a way that suits your situation.
    Here’s hoping no-one has to go through it, though!

  4. Caz Makepeace October 7, 2010 at 6:23 am #

    It’s horrible to receive news like this. This happened to us on a family trip in Ireland. Craigs brother-in-laws mother died suddenly on Craigs 30th. They had to race home and the rest of us were very sad and shocked.
    Sorry to hear about Patrick’s friend and even though it wasn’t a good friend it was still close to home.
    I think you need to spend time to pay your respects but then i think you need to move on and enjoy your holiday. I think you have to think of what your friend who passed would have wanted. I doubt they would want you to be miserable.
    I wrote a piece recently http://matadornetwork.com/bnt/2010/08/26/when-travel-takes-a-friend-2/
    on when travel takes a friend. I wasn’t traveling at the time but my friend was and his death hit me hard. What I took from that was he lived life to the fullest and I need to do the same. I think of him almost every day and he continues to remind me of this truth.
    As to if your house was robbed. I would worry about that when you get home. What can you do about it anyway? Enjoy your holiday. Your problems will still be there when you get back so forget about them for awhile.

  5. Fida October 9, 2010 at 1:53 am #

    I am sorry to hear about Patrick’s friend. When my very close friend died while I was travelling and unable to return, I held my own little ceremony, just between him and I. It’s an awful situation but knowing that he fully agreed with what I did made the situation a little easier.

    I think one never knows what one will do if things like that happen. What will I do when one of my family members dies? I spend as much time as I can while I am with them, sometimes weeks at the time. Death is not really about the person who dies, it’s about the people who stay back. Will they need me in that situation? We talked about it quite often and they all reassure me that I wouldn’t have to come back, since we all have a great connection. But there’s still that nagging feeling if that really would be the right thing to do. So, would that be about me or about them then? Luckily, most of the time we have the technology to connect, and I think I will decide then and there what to do.

    I don’t care about ‘stuff’. A break in or stolen things, oh well – they wouldn’t be my problem anymore, they’d be the burglars 😉

  6. Dina October 12, 2010 at 2:06 pm #

    I’m sorry to hear about Pat’s coworker. Some family member passed away during my travel. Not the very close one, but still, the news hit. It was not a very surprising news, since she had been sick for a while, and she already passed the earlier life expectancy. I was just grateful that despite of my living and traveling abroad for the past 7 years, last Christmas holiday I went back to my hometown, and I spent some time already with her. She was already very fragile at that moment, but we were happy to see each other.

  7. Arun October 15, 2010 at 7:53 pm #

    I am the kind who is more likely to rush back, but it all depends on how far are you from home and how serious is the situation. If I were half-way across the world and my house was robbed, I would request someone nearby home to deal with it. There is nothing much I could do in any case. But if the house was on fire and completely gutted, I might as well return and start building over; I can’t have a peaceful holiday.

  8. Theresa November 16, 2010 at 8:28 am #

    Honestly, before we left on our RTW trip we had a talk with each of our family’s about what kind of bad news we wanted them to tell us and what we’d rather just wait to hear when we got back. We also discussed what we would come home for and what we wouldn’t. It’s not a fun conversation to have, but I think it made everyone more comfortable. My husband’s grandmother passed away while we were gone (not unexpectedly), and we didn’t return home. We did, obviously, mourn and remember her, but my husband inherited a good part of his traveling spirit from her, and we know she would have wanted us to continue on. Because this had been talked about prior to the trip, there wasn’t an awkward conversation about returning home at a time when everyone was already in bad spirits.

  9. Melissa December 8, 2010 at 4:15 pm #

    When I was in Paris this past October, my best friend called me out of the blue. Instantly when I saw her number come up on my phone I knew it had to be something major for her to call me, knowing full well where I was. I answered and learned that her sister had died suddenly in Costa Rica just a few hours before (she had just gotten the call from her parents minutes before she called me). I didn’t know what to say or do. This girl is like a sister to me and I couldn’t be there to comfort her. She assured me that she wanted me to continue on having a good time on my trip, and since I was coming home in 3 days, and no arrangements would be occurring until the next week, there was no rush for me to get back. I still felt like the world’s worst friend and I felt awful trying to “Have a good time”. I called my mom at home and told her to send food over and just be there for my friend if she needed anything. And she did, and in the end my friend was very grateful that I asked my mom to do that. I spent the rest of the day in that same mellow mood that you were describing, but I went to Notre Dame, lit a candle and (even though I’m not religious) said a few prayers.

    Totally sucks though, For the rest of my trip, it was constantly on my mind, and I definitely had a few overwhelming moments where my emotions took over. I bet I looked crazy while I was crying in the Jardins Tuileries, by myself.

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    […] to Timezone, and a lot of eating out. If it looks like we didn’t do much then that’s because we received some not-so-good news during our trip and decided to take it easy for a day in the middle. Pat checking out Condom […]

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