Europe Was a Bust But the Caribbean Awaited

Kristen Marks

by Kristen Marks

Kristen Marks is a travel enthusiast, empty-nest mom to two young adult children, athlete, attorney, author, speaker, proud wife of almost three decades (to the same wonderful man!), and the founder of My Pink Lawyer®, Florida Estate & Legacy Planning attorneys. Kristen has been crafting professional estate plans for Floridians and their families for over 28 years.

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“Hi, Mom and Dad. Don’t panic. I’m ok but I’m currently at Urgent Care…”


So went the call from our daughter six days before we were leaving for our Christmas European vacation.


On her first run using her newly purchased annual ski pass to Copper Mountain in Colorado, Jill wiped out on an unseen ski mogul and had to be taken down the mountain on a ski patrol stretcher.


Concerned but ever hopeful, we awaited the results of her MRI the following day and her consultation with a sports orthopedist the day after that.


The verdict was not good.


A torn ACL and MCL in her right knee, a full leg brace, and scheduled surgery to repair the damage was the foregone conclusion from the doctor.


And just like that, with a Snap, Crackle and Pop (literally!), our long-awaited and long-anticipated European vacation evaporated into thin air.


There was no way Jill would be able to travel in a cramped airplane for ten hours and then hobble around on the snow and ice in Eastern Europe for two weeks.


Talk about the irony.


Jill was getting in one last ski practice before meeting up with her brother to ski the Alps in Slovenia the following weekend.


Needless to say, we were all initially devastated, especially Jill.


What’s that old saying?


We make plans and God laughs. Yup, that about sums it up.


Determined to not let our long-awaited family vacation slip away from us [after all, this could be the last one for the four of us!], and after a couple of private emotional breakdowns, I quickly scrambled to change our son’s plane ticket to fly home from overseas early and called the cruise lines.


The gods smiled upon us and I was able to book us two rooms on a Norwegian cruise ship out of New Orleans for a Caribbean cruise leaving three days later.


And so began the unpacking of the suitcase of my cold-weather gear, replaced with warm weather clothes instead—shorts, t-shirts, bathing suits.


In a full leg brace and having to use either crutches or a wheelchair (best invention ever!), Jill was able to navigate the cruise ship fairly easily. Offshore excursions were severely curtailed but the week could not have gone any better.


Jill bum leg and cruise ship


We ate, read, drank, visited, ate some more, played Backgammon, napped, attended shows, ate again. And the best part is that because Jill was in a wheelchair, we never had to wait in any lines!


Just like planning your estate, sometimes you just have to roll with the punches and update your plans as necessary to adjust to life’s curveballs.


I suggest to clients that we re-evaluate their plan after any major life event such as a death, birth, change of marital status, illness, disability, addiction of a loved one, etc.


Or, even if you think nothing has changed, your plan should be reviewed with a professional at least every five years. If nothing else, the laws may have changed during that time affecting your plan.


I am thankful that we were able to quickly salvage what started out at the beginning of last week as a major setback for our European family vacation into a fun-filled and WARM Caribbean vacation instead.


And the best part is that I was refunded every last penny of the Europe trip, including our plane tickets, hotel reservations and Air BNB bookings.


Jill’s surgery is scheduled for next Tuesday. Andrew and I, her brother, and my mother will all tag-team our visits to Denver to assist her with her recovery since she will not be able to drive for another six weeks thereafter.


From my family to yours, we wish you a fruitful, peaceful, and HEALTHY new year!


Kristen “European Vacation Bust” Marks


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