austin from above

In life, there are no guarantees particularly when it comes to travel. There will be inconveniences and last-minute decisions but there will also be lessons we learn. Lessons which we can use in everyday life when we return from our travels.

Much patience is needed when traveling, especially when you go through the screening machine and the agent informs you she needs to touch your hair. I let her know I did not wish my hair to touch so she instead put on another pair of clean latex gloves ‘just for you’, she let me know. People were waiting behind me as she struggled with her gloves. I was impatient as well and flinched when she grabbed my skull. In this case, the ‘search’ was unwarranted.

Delays are inevitable as are inconveniences. Somehow, whenever I fly from Chicago things are bound to get worse. We had been sitting on the tarmac in Chicago for close to two hours. I found it ironic that this trip I used the voucher from my last travel through Chicago when there was a delay returning from Ireland. I had written to United Airlines letting them know of my dissatisfaction with their service. In return for my letter, they gave me $50 to spend during the next year which expired this August.

No matter how much time we think we have before a flight, we always seem to need more. Seeing how I had an early afternoon flight to Shannon flying through Chicago, I dawdled until an hour before I was planning on leaving. The hour came and went and I then found myself scrambling to get showered and packed. I left at noon for a flight which departed at 13,56h.

I remember traveling on airplanes when smoking was allowed. Thankfully, that is no longer the case. However, it seems back in those days the space between seats was much wider than in today’s planes. Somehow rows were added to accommodate more people, the flight attendants got wider as well, and comfort is pretty much gone unless you have thousands of extra dollars to spend on first class seating.

Common courtesy is also missing as people in seats in front of us have no problem pushing their seats all the way back as you struggle to breathe within the eight inches left. This makes it almost impossible to move or eat or even watch something on the small screen on the back of the seat.

One of the many mistakes I made was buying a new camera bag the day before my flight. I had always traveled with my red Lowepro Fastpack which has space for my large laptop but I also carried the Passport Sling. Both bags did not have the special waterproof cover for which Lowepro is known, so I decided to get another smaller bag to carry around whilst hiking.

It wasn’t until I was at the airport that I realised the sling bag was meant for men and not women. At least not women with large breasts. Not only did the bag smash them but they made it difficult to breathe. Unfortunately, I had not brought along the other bags as backup so I am to use this bag for the next 11 days. When I reached my seat on the plane in Austin, I promptly wrote to Lowepro asking for advisement on a similar bag with two straps instead of one.

In life, there are no guarantees and no such thing as perfection. A perfect man does not exist, nor does a perfect woman. In my travel experiences, there is no perfect place and no perfect bag to carry all you wish to take. Life is about compromise and making the best out of the situation we are given.