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Travel Surprises

No Vacation Required Podcast

For fulfillment fanatics interested in traveling deliriously, living deliberately, and working virtually.

Travel Surprises

NVR Guys

File this under travel surprises we don't like.

Last week, we were leaving Madrid.

After all the: arrive three hours early, questionable profiling, laughable security theater, we were finally next to use the runway, FIRST for take off.

We were in 16 F & G (in a wide body / two aisle 767). As the engines are revving for departure. the guy in 16 C stands up, bolts down the aisle (heading who knows where) and declares that his wife is sick. The entire – e n t i r e – flight attendant team stands up and descends upon 16 C & E (while the purser frantically phones the cockpit and asks them to temporarily hit the pause button on, you know, the entire Madrid airport). 

We thought our co-passenger must be having a baby, or suffering from a ruptured appendix, or bleeding. 

Nope. She was a little queasy. We sat there, blocking everything from happening at Bajares, while the purser asked the couple if we should call it a day and swing the airplane back around to the gate. It was entirely up to them. 

We all stared (not flattering, I know) as she sipped a little bubbly water, collected extra barf bags and toyed with the idea of ruining 200+ passengers' days. Once we knew it wasn’t serious, it was, honestly, comical. She was eventually (and thankfully) good to go and – 20 minutes later – was asking if they had Tabasco for the bland entree. Go figure.

Although we’re not big fans of Delta, we were really impressed with how the crew handled the situation. One flight attendant in particular expressed extreme compassion and an above-and-beyond level of care. The woman was clearly comforted by the kindness. We should all be so lucky when we hit a low point on the road.

Onward. To travel surprises we do like.

So, yeah, we just got back from Spain.

Before we get to a few photos from there, we have to have you check out what we found when we opened the curtains in our Portland hotel room last month. 


One of the most gorgeous sunrises we've seen.

Surprises (like this one!) are sweet; they're even sweeter when you're on the road. For us, travel is all about uncovering new things and learning more about the world and ourselves along the way.

So, this moment – when we opened up the curtains – was perfect. We pulled ourselves out of work mode and enjoyed the rising sun. The pinks and blues were incredible as they opened up around Mt. Hood and on the Willamette River.

It feels good to slow down – to take the time to enjoy these things.

We also tried to do that in Spain. This was the first time in several years that we weren’t in the Pacific Northwest for Christmas and the ringing in of the new year. We needed to switch things up so jumped on the chance to spend time in one of our favorite places in the world. Here are a few of our favorite shots from Madrid (you can click for descriptions).

We also spent time with friends in Andalusia (outside of Almeria). Since we were doing some good 2014 plotting, we'll save those details for another post. Plus, in an age where there's so much pressure to share every detail of life, we like to keep some of our experiences unbroadcasted.

We were planning to spend more time destination-hopping (Seville?) but decided not to. What a good move that was. It allowed us to keep our snail's pace and allowed us even more time to uncover new things and to lean into a comfortable groove.

Our favorite activity was a day spent on a hunt to find a particular urban art project. We walked about six miles, into the burbs of Madrid, in search of the installation you see below. It was masterminded by a street artist, SpY, known to some as the 'Spanish Banksy.'

Some people believe the installation is solely a statement about the ubiquitous surveillance we're contending with in the modern world. Others believe it's more of a targeted statement because it is believed that a notorious drug dealer – largely ignored by authorities – lives at the location to which all the cameras point.

Either way, it was an awesome excursion. We got a great feel for many of Madrid's neighborhoods and got to see some thought provoking street art. And we may have been leaning against a drug lords house while doing it.


We enjoyed the slow pace and the surprises that presented themselves. We needed it, too, because we have a lot of adventures on the docket for the year ahead. Not all of them will feel slow-paced, but we hope that they all hold many surprises.

Want more of our take on travel? We're proud Expedia Viewfinders, sharing travel stories along with other travel fanatics. Check it out!