You’ll Never Believe Where We’ve Been!
What started out as a few million dollar cocktails and snacks at the Detroit airport, turned into a bumpy 24 hour adventure. Our perfectly laid plans started out beautifully. After previous Atlantic Ocean crossings left us exhausted, broke(not really, but spending a fortune in each and every airport connection cost us $$$$$), and so gritty we felt like we needed a grinding wheel to get us properly clean, we changed it up.
We drove to an international airport to start our journey to save us one last step. We only had two flights to take and an hour and a half layover in Paris! How perfect is that?
Our drive to the airport was about 100 miles from our home and unknown territory for us to a car park a few miles away from the busy airport. Directions were spot on, minus a road closure, but we prevailed.
When we arrived at the car park, the automated gate requested our prepaid barcode, which we didn’t have. We were allowed access by getting a new ticket and bar code. We were hoping to remedy this confusion by email from England once we settled in.
Our shuttle service arrived quickly and we were dropped off at the airport in the arrivals section as they were picking up people returning from their own adventures. Not a problem. We made our way to where we needed to be.
This was our trip, our escape from working too many hours, paying too many bills, never having enough time for ourselves……your typical preholiday blah! We had saved and planned for a long time to make this happen.
We soon boarded our Air France Boeing 777. A very kind woman wanted to exchange us seats as hers weren’t conducive to sleeping. We gladly accepted as we had triple the leg room which is a huge win for Captain UK’s 6’5” frame.
We were giddy with excitement and then it happened. I turned to the Captain and said those now dreaded words, “wow, this trip sure is smooth sailing!”
As we laughed and agreed, the jet pulled out from its boarding dock and headed to the runway. As we finished taxiing to the line of “next takeoffs”, suddenly the French male airline attendant received a phone call and hung up angrily and dramatically pulled his hands through his hair. At this point we knew something was up, but just wasn’t sure of the circumstances yet. We kept our fingers crossed that this was just a minor and quickly remedied situation.
After about a half hour delay, people started to shuffle out of their seats, using the bathroom, stretching, and checking in with the flight crew. Still no explanation or reasoning from anyone.
We started to grow anxious. I just had to say those words, didn’t I? In case you’ve forgotten those famous words were………….”this trip sure is smooth sailing!” Ugh!
Stay positive I told myself. Finally, we were informed of our technical issue/reason for our delay.
Water! By now they had closed off the bathrooms and the passengers were growing restless. “You’ve got to be kidding me,” I thought. Ok, no big deal I told myself. We will make up the time across the Atlantic Ocean as we always do. We took off almost two hours behind schedule and then were told that we never ordered vegan meals.
We finally arrived in Paris almost 8 hours later, missing our connection flight to Birmingham. We then had to wait over an hour to be redirected to Amsterdam, then Birmingham. Our quick layover and only one stop was long gone. We arrived much later than originally expected to Birmingham. As we watched the now empty carousal go around and around, we were loudly informed that our luggage was still sitting in Amsterdam and the airlines would deliver our bags to us the following day.
By then we just wanted to get our rental car and drive to the flat for some much needed showers, food, and rest. Luckily, we had a few clothing items left in the flat from out last visit just for this reason. We headed out of the airport and walked to our car rental office.
As we checked in with our car rental company, we were informed that we essentially were canceled since we were over two hours late. We stood in their office tired, hungry, and filthy for over an hour while their employee redid our reservation. At first, he wanted to charge us another $700 to our credit card. We ended up getting the contract we originally started with.
Could our luck get any worse?
Of course it could have. The plane didn’t fall out of the sky. We had each other for support. We had a place to stay, family and friends to see, and a stocked refrigerator at the flat.
We drove to the flat almost NINE HOURS later than anticipated. We made food, shared cocktails, showered, and had a great night sleep.
The remaining two weeks of vacation/holiday were filled with mostly ups and a few downs. We made new friends, and ate and drank like Vikings (vegan Vikings of course). We travelled over the United Kingdom and Germany, touching base in Paris, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, and Hamburg to mention a few stops. We made memories to last a lifetime. We went out of our comfort zone to experience new adventures. We wouldn’t change that for anything. Our advice
- Step out of your comfort zone
- Try and experiment with new foods
- Talk to random people
- Visit different countries
- Hang with family and friends
- Embrace other cultures
We ate lots of new vegan offerings in the local supermarkets in both Germany and the United Kingdom. We ate Indian food delights twice at our favorite restaurant in Kidderminster, the Sher-E-Punjab and while doing so, chatted with our awesome waiter, Afjal, who couldn’t have been more accommodating and friendly.
We ate and drank homemade brews and meals in Germany thanks to our great friend Axel and his wonderful family.
We did “Christmas in October” with my sister in law, brother in law, and mother in law. We all decorated, put on Christmas music, pulled English crackers, and wore crowns. It was a fantastic day. It was my opportunity to introduce my family to a delicious vegan holiday meal and just hang out and get to know each other better.
By the time we arrived back in Detroit, we were once again tired, hungry, and filthy. We were missing a piece of luggage too, believe it or not. But we were ok. Life is precious. We are only here once. Enjoy all the ups and downs.
How in the Hell does any of this relate to veganism?
Too many people are afraid to step out of their boxes, try new things, eat new foods, travel to different countries, meet new people, experiment, and keep moving forward when issues arrive. Like Nike has always said….. Just do it! You won’t be sorry. Even if you get a little beat up or tired, the life experiences are worth the effort.