The difference between a happy traveler and a stressed out one is how she handles unexpected situations. I used to be the latter. Something as mundane as getting lost or being late would send me into a tailspin. I’ve worked hard to learn to let go of what I can’t control while traveling.

Yesterday on the van ride to Aix-en-Provence, one of my contacts tore. I almost heard it tear. I tried in vain to rectify it, but it was a goner. And so I was left with one good eye’s worth of vision, a pretty scary thing when you are as blind as me.

“Maybe you can find an optometrist,” Rose suggested. But I was in Stressed Traveler mode and only thought of the negatives. I don’t have my prescription. They might not use the same formula for prescriptions. I’d just have to suffer.

I decided to change my attitude when we arrived in Aix. I asked a cashier if she knew where an optometrist was, in French, no less. There were several not far from there, she told me. Good sign.

Ten minutes later, I was in an optometrist office, explaining my situation. I expected to have to proffer my prescription or have an exam, but she simply asked what my formula was. She went to the back and came back with a pack of 30 contacts. 

I put one in and ran out to my friends.

“Hallelujah! I can see!”

I was so grateful to have shifted my day to be a happy one, where I could take in all the sights of a lovely Provencal town.

Sometimes our vision is better when we allow ourselves to strip the “whatifs” and “buts” away and see our way to the solution, which is always easier than we think.