Delayed flights. Missed connections. Grumpy airline crew. Wallet-gouging food. Ah, the joys of traveling. Another doozy is accidentally packing your Blackberry charger in your checked-in suitcase instead of carry-on bag. Unfortunately I get to experience all of these things in one long day. My original flight to Madrid from Miami is delayed by 3.5 hours, which means I will miss my connection to Brussels. The unfriendly guy at the ticket counter begrudgingly books me on another flight to Brussels. When I ask him whether my luggage will be transferred to the new flight he shrugs and moves on to another customer. Nice.
With five hours to kill at this point, I wander the airport to look for a spare charger for my phone. Of course the one that’s compatible with my Blackberry is conveniently the most expensive one. I think about the 3 spare ones I have laying around my office and decide to pass. I send emails instead to let people know about my new arrival then shut my phone down since I will need it more when I finally get to Madrid. So I pass on the $50 charger that feeds my lifeline (yes, the Blackberry has my life in it) but instead buy a $6 bag of pretzels. You know, the one that sells for $1 at the local grocery store. These stores know exactly what they’re doing to sleep deprived travelers. I only know I’m in Miami because there’s a juice stand grinding out passionfruit and mango juices. I’m salivating at the thought but the idea of risking an upset stomach on a long flight has me buying a bottle of water instead.Â
After visiting every duty free shop in the entire airport, I plant myself at the gate. CNN is covering the Obama pre-inaugural activities nonstop. It feels more like a coronation than an inauguration. If it weren’t for this trip I would have found a way to be in DC this week myself. Â And that’s the true cost of traveling. For all the opportunities that arrive from being on the road, there are so many other missed events. I’ve missed out on graduations, weddings, baptisms…all because I was somewhere else. Â Last year, when all of my girlfriends were planning events around the opening night of the Sex and the City movie, I was traipsing around Europe. Instead of getting all dressed up for a girls’ night out to enjoy the movie, I caught the movie a week or so later literally all alone. I’d snuck out for a matinee and there was no one else in the theater with me. The movie was completely dubbed in French. This turned out to be a blessing anyway because some of the dialog took longer to translate in my head, and by the time I laughed at the joke five minutes later, the movie had already moved on to another scene. Â I still enjoyed the fashion in the movie thoroughly but it would have been a bigger treat to ooh and ahh over it with my friends. The road often feeds you secrets from lives of strangers in distant lands, but by the same token it deprives you of every day, ordinary events occurring to those who are close to you.Â
But with this blog, I am no longer doing anything completely alone; I will feel like I’m taking you all with me on these visits in the next few weeks. See you on the road.