It is an interesting phenomenon.
I read about how all of these Millennials are getting super depressed because of social media. Twice I have linked to this article in The Atlantic, I guess it struck a cord with me.
Part of the problem is that we tend to present ourselves on social media in our best light. Not many really go around advertising their mundane interactions and ‘meh’ experiences.
Never fear, I am here to make you feel better about your sub par foreign trips. Or assuage your concerns that you don’t get out much and are missing out.
Puerto Rico was my Biggest Travel Failure.
It’s 1994 and I am 20 years old, I am sailing around the world on a big Navy Ship. I started in California, made it down to Guatemala. Didn’t actually get to go to Guatemala because they literally started a Civil War the day before and we decided to skip that port of call.
Next I passed through the Panama Canal, through the Gulf of Mexico and up into the Caribbean. Last stop before I fly home, Puerto Rico. The unofficial 51st state. One point of the infamous Bermuda Triangle. Island nation brimming with colonial and pre-Columbus history.
Did I soak up any of it. In a word, NO.
Here is what I can remember I did.
Went from the Navy base on the east end of the Island (Roosevelt Roads) to the capital, San Juan. Never really found the sweet part called Old San Juan.
Never consulted a map. There was no plan, I was just reacting.
Became disheartened at the lack of foreignness. Saw lots of McDonald’s and Radio Shacks and was unimpressed. I did not want Camel cigarettes, I wanted some sort of Puerto Rican cigarette. Dammit.
Hung out near the airport drinking. Not that this was part of my original plan, it is what my plan morphed into because I became frustrated, because I had no plan.
Ate what I thought was muy authentic food. It wasn’t. It was a lovely Media Noche sandwich, but alas, I later discovered this was Cuban and not Puerto Rican. Could not even do that right.
The bottom line is that this opportunity was wasted on a young man who did not appreciate what was happening. I just wanted to go home to a girlfriend I missed.
Looking out the window of the plane was nice, but I missed every opportunity to enjoy the moment. Including the cool fort at Castillo San Felipe del Morro.
This in and of itself is an important lesson and the reason why I shared. Memories are made. Yes, I technically have been to Puerto Rico, but have I really?
I will be back Puerto Rico. Just like I did eventually get to explore Guatemala.
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