Travel Oops: People Really Do Win These Things…


A lemon cake. That’s what I won at a school carnival in third grade at Forest Hills Elementary in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, USA.  Contestants walked around a circle marked by numbers on the floor while music played until the cake walk ringleader stopped the song. If the ringleader announced your number, you won the cake.

Despite the fact I didn’t particularly like lemon cake, I was quite impressed with my prize and my luck. It’s a good thing because that is essentially the only award by chance I have received. I’m not really counting a pair of ski gloves I won at a raffle last year since, basically, almost all raffle contestants  were out skiing or in the lodge drinking beer when the tickets were drawn. Due to several no-shows, I claimed the gloves with one of the last remaining tickets.

However, my luck karma reached jackpot levels at the end of 2012. After entering a Facebook contest sponsored by Lonley Planet, Tourism Australia and Virgin Australia Airlines, I won two roundtrip tickets to Australia. Yeah. I know. HUGE. MASSIVE. MEANT TO BE!! People really do win these things.

And the winner is all in photo

The Universe must have been listening. Ever since my family and I returned broke in 2011 from my exchange teaching stint in Adelaide, I have joked that I need to find someone else to pay for or sponsor our travel. The Universe came through — BIG TIME.

The contest involved writing a 25-words-or-less bit about who you would take to Australia and why. Of course, I chose my husband, Kurt. I must admit that in my entry writeup, I didn’t want to admit that we had lived in Oz already. So I wrote something rather vague and cheesy. Here’s the spiel:

“A real homebody,  my husband Kurt has just recently given travel a go; I want to share the world with him!”

I figured the part about “recently giving travel a go” was vague enough to cover…”he hadn’t really traveled outside the country until we moved to Australia, and then we traveled HEAPS.”

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