Phew! I finally have a chance to sit down at my kitchen table and drink a cup of homemade coffee. These past weeks, I’ve been busy with job stuff, life stuff, freelance stuff, and out-of-town stuff. I’ve been traveling like crazy — to St. Louis, to Florida, and to Minneapolis these past three weekends — and though this offered me the opportunity to knock out quite a few books on my reading list and spend time with friends and family I don’t see often, it’s nice to be home with the cat and bike. Yikes. That sentence was way too long. I think that speaks to how worn-out I am from all of this.
I have many stories to tell from these not-so-foreign travels. One of my favorites is this one.
My trip to Florida was to visit my grandparents. I spent a few days reading by the pool, being fattened up by grandpa’s cooking, and going through old photos with grandma. As these things go, it ended too soon.
My 7 a.m. return flight was packed. The Starbucks line extended all the way to the Southwest counter. I was in the end of that line when they announced the flight was in fact too-packed. They had oversold it. Would anyone like to give up their seat in exchange for a flight voucher? Although I was not in any position to order a skinny non-fat latte with extra whipped cream anytime soon, I was in perfect position to get that voucher. I saw people trying to hurdle over suitcases and baby strollers so they could give up their seats. They were too late. Because I had been the instant winner. As these things go, I was just in the right place at the right time.
I had to sit in the West Palm Beach airport for quite a bit longer to wait for my new flight, and I had a layover that would mean more sitting and waiting, but I was game. My voucher ended up being worth $429. I’ve been meaning to make it to San Francisco. Now I have absolutely no excuse because I have a free flight there. I celebrated my victory with a $15 Bloody Mary that tasted meh and even Instagram couldn’t make look delicious.
So you may already know that I love traveling and winning free stuff. Who doesn’t? But I suppose this voucher is meaningful to me because it represents the true nature of why traveling is awesome. You gotta be flexible and roll with whatever doesn’t go according to plan.
Sometimes it really, really sucks. Sometimes when things don’t go according to plan, you’re just so hungry and tired and it doesn’t help that you don’t speak German. And maybe things don’t go so smoothly as you try to figure it out and you end up in a yelling match under the Brandenburg Gate and then you burst into tears (that never happened to me, but I am sure it has happened to someone.)
It stinks when your friend’s dad’s friend said you could stay with him in Normandie then flakes out, and there are absolutely no hotels closeby so you have to rent a car just to find one. But you and your friends figure it out, and you end up staying at an awesome campsite where the owner cooks you chicken nuggets and plays the keyboard for you while you eat.
And I guess it kinda stinks that I got home to Chicago six hours after I initially planned, but it was certainly worth it for the trade off. I’m glad I had the opportunity to go with the flow in the West Palm Beach airport. I’m glad Southwest oversold my flight, and I’m glad I was lucky enough to benefit from it. Because now I get to travel to yet a new destination. And if that trip doesn’t go according to plan… oh well! That’s how these things go.