When Do You Let the Animals Out?

Keeping Your Sense of Humor When Traveling

As a former park naturalist in Banff, Canada’s most famous national park, I know first hand that one of the most important pieces of survival equipment a traveler needs to pack along is their sense of humor. Likewise, when you’re playing host to what seems like the entire planet, keeping your sense of humor can, at times, be a challenge. One way I nurtured and shared my humor with visitors was by collecting those silly, strange and sometimes baffling questions that visitors would ask the park staff. After 10 years, I amassed close to 1, 500 of these questions.

Now don’t get me wrong. I am not advocating laughing at our customers or visitors.  I know I’ve asked some bonehead questions when I’ve traveled out of the country (or heck, sometimes just down the road). Instead, I share these questions in the spirit of positive humor – to remind us all that we shouldn’t be afraid of asking any question when they travel and to remind them that we all need to keep our sense of humor when we travel. In fact, when many of the visitors posed these questions to me, they immediately burst out laughing when they realize what they have just said (or haven’t said) – providing both of us with a memorable story.

Here is a just a small sampling of some of my favorite gems.

That’s a lovely Canadian flag you have . . . does it come in other colors?animals_cover-180x300
How many undiscovered lakes are there around here?
To escape a bear, do you have to climb a tree that’s the same width as your head?
At what elevation does an elk become a moose?
Can you show us something we haven’t seen yet?
Are we allowed to stay overnight in the campgrounds?
How many hiking trails can I get lost on?
How do the elk know to cross at the elk crossing signs?
If we go back that way will we end up this way?
Why aren’t the mountains closer?
Where did we come from?
Is there a non-scenic route, we’re tired of the scenery?
When do you let the animals out?

So remember folks, the next time you travel, pack along your sense of humor. It doesn’t take up any extra room in your bags and you don’t need to check it, clear it through customs or cram it into the overhead bin. And if you catch yourself asking a “silly” tourist question, remember to laugh and remind yourself that you’re in some good company (including just about anyone who has ever strayed away from their home!).

Michael Kerr is the author of “When Do You let the Animals Out?,” “What’s So Funny About Alberta?,”  “The Humor Advantage,” “You Can’t Be Serious! Putting Humor to Work” and “Inspiring Workplaces.” Reach him at 1-866-609-2640 or mike@mikekerr.com. For humor at work articles, DVDs and other humor at work resources, surf on over to www.mikekerr.com

Copyright © 2016, Michael Kerr. All rights reserved.
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