When vacation doesn’t go as planned

Do you ever take a step back and wonder why certain things happen at the time that they do?  I’m not a person that necessarily believes in fate, but this year when I was on vacation I sprained my ankle which put my on crutches for 2 weeks (while on vacation) and gave me a lot of time for reflection.  I found myself thinking, more than once, did this happen for a reason?  Is someone telling me that I need to slow down, take a break, and just chill out?

Slow Down

This July we had an active vacation planned, a self-guided trek through the Swiss Alps followed by another week in London.  I was really looking forward to this hiking adventure.  Last year we had an amazing and life-changing experience trekking to Machu Picchu, Peru and I had such an amazing time that I wanted to do something similar this year.  A trip visiting a bunch of cities and museums wasn’t what I wanted to do, I wanted to get out and explore.  We found the self-guided trek through a deal on The Clymb, and on a whim decided to go for it.  It was “lead” by Alpine Hikers which created our itinerary, arranged all of our accommodations and a large portion of our meals, and provided some really awesome resources for us while we were on the trip.  I  didn’t know that much about the Swiss Alps, and have never been to Switzerland and have to admit that it was even more beautiful that I imagined it would be!


So where the wrinkle in our plans came in was on Day 2 in Switzerland, which was actually Day 1 of our planned 5 day trek – about halfway into the hike I was taking in the view and then was chased by a mountain lion…uh I mean stepped on a divot on the trail and rolled my ankle, and it REALLY hurt.  After a few minute time out to regain composure and stop cursing I realized it was sprained, not so bad that I couldn’t walk, but it hurt and we still had quite a way to go.  We wound up going a bit farther to a hut that served food and gave us a trail update, and learned we couldn’t go through the mountain pass because it was still covered in snow, and would be too dangerous to traverse.  This too may have been a sign, because we had no choice but to turn around, go back to the town we started in and take the train to our next destination.  So with the aid of two hiking poles and a gauze wrap from the hut, I hiked out with my husband and then we made our way via a gondola, bus, and 3 trains to the next town.


Here is where the time out and the character building begins, instead of an active and nature filled trekking adventure, my vacation had turned into one that needed to be done with me on crutches.  I had a few low points, but did my best to enjoy as much of the scenery as I could from the town and inns, used the transportation that was available, and got creative with being pushed on a mountain bike.  Fortunately we were staying in a town that had a doctor, and I was able to get crutches, getting around on the crutches was difficult, but getting around without them would have been 100x time harder!




To take a look at some of the my photos from my trip, check out my album from Switzerland.

It’s been a little more than a month now, and I’m still rehabbing my ankle and working my way back to normal.  Before the trip I had a lot going on and getting hurt really forced me to slow down, whether it happened because I needed to slow down and have a little more time for R&R in my life or it was just a fluke accident, I’ll never know for sure.  This experience has made me more grateful for what I can do, for the simple things that you take for granted every day, like being able to get up and walk to the bathroom at night, get around town without a second thought, and being able to carry your own luggage.  I also want to go back and see the parts of the Alps I missed, maybe in a few years there will be a “round 2” of this journey.

How can you apply this to your life, take the time to slow down a bit, rake a rest day, blow off everything you were supposed to do and just do nothing (or take in some scenery and read a lot).  Be appreciative for all of the things you can do, all of the things you have access to and really just how fortunate you are.  When we were in Machu Picchu I left with a similar feeling, feeling humbled and grateful for all of the conveniences I had but with a new appreciation of what you “need” to be happy.  Switzerland gave me some perspective on life too, don’t take what you have for granted, appreciate and make the most of what you’ve got!


About Laura Pappas

Laura Pappas is a health coach whose passion is achieving optimal health and fitness. Her health coaching approach helps busy people balance their lives, training, and food choices in a way that is easy and sustainable. She believes in the power of eating real, whole foods, avoiding processed sugar, and applying the principles of the Paleo Diet to modern living.


  1. Kevin Carr says:

    Hey Laura,

    Just wanted to say thank you for writing this article. I was recently on an extended vacation/sabbatical, and twisted my ankle pretty bad while in Greece, and lightly sprained it. I had all of these ambitions of Scuba diving, running, hiking, etc. So, safe to say I was disappointed when I couldn’t do any of these things. After googling around, saw your article and it inspired me to enjoy a “relaxing” vacation and slow down. Like you said, maybe someone was trying to tell me to slow down. Slow down I did: I read books, enjoyed meals, took in scenery. It turned out to be quite nice to take a breath of fresh air.

    Again, thanks for writing this. It certainly helped my mindset while I was away.


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