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Flashback Friday: My First Travel Misadventure

Friday, November 21, 2014

We are in full PCS mode here. For you non-Military-acronym speakers, that means it's time for us to pull up our shallow roots and move on to a new house in a new location halfway around the world, make new friends and find a new groove in a new life. 

All while taking the very best parts of this assignment with us. 
Because isn't that we do? Have new experiences, and if they change us for the better we keep those changes, integrating them into a better version of ourselves.

I have less than a month left in Germany (because I insist on being home for Christmas this year) and I'm not quite ready to list the things I'm going to miss most (or the things I will be happy to say auf wiedersehen! to), but look for that post in the not-so-far-off future.

For today, the post I had planned for you just hasn't worked yet so I went back to our old Shutterfly Website and pulled up another misadventure for you to enjoy. This one follows along with my travel tips, which seems to be my theme for the week:

"Travelling. Specifically, flying. It's always sort of an adventure all on it's own, right? In America, you've got the nice luggage, the curbside check in, the molestation by TSA, the incessant questions by Homeland Security (You're born in Memphis? You don't look Egyptian. There's a good reason for that, genius. <--- actual conversation, btw), and nice, orderly boarding based on your seat number (which if you didn't reserve is assigned to you in advance). 

It's not like that in Germany. At least, not with the less expensive airlines. Imagine a Southwest party plane on crack. People push, shove, kick and bite (ok, I wasn't bitten but I wouldn't have been surprised) to be at the front of the line to sit together on the plane because you pay extra to reserve seats. Insanity, pure and simple. Then you're on the plane (bonus: you don't sit on the plane waiting to take off forever. From the moment we sat down to take off was about 15 minutes.) where the children have the run of the place. They climb over seats, crawl under them, run screeching up and down the isles... sometimes being chased by mom or dad (and once by grandma), they open your backpack if you're not looking and ask you about the stuff inside. More insanity. 

Oh, and the parents get very upset when you tell their child that he shouldn't open other people's belongings, 
to put your stuff back and leave it alone. 

For a country so bent on following the rules, it's like their resolve snaps once they are 10,000 feet above the earth. They just can't take any more of their own strict regimen and all hell breaks loose. 

Oh, and the luggage is MUCH smaller here. "

I posted that in July of 2012, after returning from our Portugal beach vacation. It was my first time flying on a budget airline here and, as you can see, it was an experience. 

That was a fantastic vacation and I have zero regrets but what I learned on that trip has been pivotal to my life in Europe, and probably to my life beyond Europe.

It cemented my need to learn to pack in a carry-on. It proved to me that, although I am organized, I need to read that fine print over and overAnd over. 

(We may or may not have had to pay an extra 180 euros for our flight because I failed to do so. 
I admit nothing.)

It also taught me to let go of things beyond my control. By the time we were at the airport facing the extra fines (if there were any, of course), I couldn't change the circumstances. It was either pay it or don't go. 

I also couldn't change the train breaking down and sitting on the tracks for two hours instead of being on the sunny beach. I couldn't change finding the best restaurant in our little seaside village on our next to last day there. But you know what? If we'd found it the first day, we wouldn't have tried all of those other places. 

Without that vacation, I wouldn't have learned that a Nook e-reader and my Pentax DSLR can both take a swim in the ocean and keep on ticking. I wouldn't have learned 4 sentences in Portuguese. I wouldn't have learned how freezing cold the Atlantic can actually be (it's cold in Florida, but nothing like on the southern coast of Portugal). I also wouldn't have ever known Atlantic water can be just as clear as the Caribbean.  

So there it is- your daily invitation to laugh at me and learn from my mistakes. I am nothing if not a warning to others. ;)

2 Responses to “Flashback Friday: My First Travel Misadventure”

  1. Yes! This is travel and adventuring. If we aren't willing to be a wee bit flexible and maybe pay a fine here and there, we would miss out on half the fun.

    1. Exactly! You are so right. I'm always saddened when people let these little things make them miserable and they miss out on so much fun. It's even worse when they spread the misery. Just laugh it off as a learning experience.