Earth: “See, this is why we can’t have nice things…”

This article speaks for itself: Dutch fence off tulip fields to stop selfie-takers crushing flowers. Come on people! We can do better than this! It reminds me of a great quote from the Simon Pegg movie Hector and the Search for Happiness: “There’s a big difference between being here, and being here to be photographed being here.”

On a lighter note, you will surely enjoy reading of my “failed” attempt to visit the famous Dutch tulip gardens, recounted here:

Life Tip #62: When you screw up, allow your cooler head to prevail.

While serving in the military in Europe, our base regularly offered bus tours to nearby countries and popular sites. One such tour took some friends and me to the Netherlands for a day. The first half of the day was spent in the great city of Amsterdam, and the second half of the day at the famous Keukenhof tulip gardens. The way these tours typically work is that they stop at a tourist site and give you the option to either follow the tour guide or explore on your own. Either way, the tour guide will announce something along the lines of, “Be back to the bus by 2 p.m. or we will leave without you.” Hint: When they say things like that, they mean it.

You’re probably thinking, What kind of idiot misses the bus under those circumstances? Believe me, my friends and I were thinking the same thing as we stepped off the bus in Amsterdam that fateful day. Yet when 2 p.m. approached, we realized we didn’t know how to get back to the bus. We raced around Amsterdam, frantically trying to recall the location, but to no avail. The 2 p.m. deadline came and went. We feared having to call our military base in Belgium—yes, in a different country—and tell them we were stranded in Amsterdam. That would not go over well.

Thankfully and wisely, we gathered our respective composures and made a plan. We knew the bus was on its way to the Keukenhof tulip gardens, which was about thirty miles away, and that it would be there for a few hours while the group toured the gardens. So, we found the nearest Dutch railway station and figured out how to catch a bus-train-bus combo that would get us to the Keukenhof, and quickly.

We did just that. Upon arriving at the gardens, it still took us a while to figure out which of the dozens of tour buses was ours, but we succeeded. We tucked our tails between our legs and sat on the bus waiting for the others to finish their tulip tour. We never did get to enjoy the Keukenhof gardens, but at least we didn’t have to make that phone call to the Air Force. If nothing else, we learned how resourceful we could be in a pinch.

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