Imagine yourself, a new traveler, sitting on a delayed flight from Atlanta to San Francisco, calculating exactly how much time you’ll have to sprint through the SFO airport to catch your international flight to New Zealand. 30 minutes: that could be enough, right? The plane still hasn’t taken off yet, and the window of opportunity is getting smaller and smaller, until you have barely ten minutes to carry ourselves and our carry-on bags half a mile through the airport. Our plane finally lands, the stewardess attempts to convince the other travelers to let those with connections off first, and we’re off. The three of us somehow all go in different directions. I have my backpack and am holding my carry-on like a briefcase (worst idea ever, bring a rolling suitcase if you can), and after attempting to sprint find that I feel close to passing out. I find an airport employee, stutter something about needing help, and steal a wheelchair nearby to throw my bag onto. I finally arrive at the terminal, with neither my companions nor any sort of gate agent in sight, and a big sign reading “BOARDING CLOSED.” My companions arrive, and we spend about thirty minutes coughing our lungs out from the exertion.
Great way to start our trip, right?
Following our defeat, we spent the next three hours negotiating with customer service. Pro-tip: if you can afford it, don’t fly United Airlines. Getting a new flight was no problem, but as the delay was caused by “weather” the airline refused to pay for us to stay in a nearby hotel. They gave us a number to call to refund our pre-booked hotel and bus ticket in Auckland and sent us on our way. After a lot of pleading they handed us some blankets and amenity kits. A super comfy night on the airport floor? No thanks. Thankfully my father offered to pay for a night at a hotel. And you know what? It was beautiful. Sadly we didn’t have the time to explore much of San Francisco, but our hotel overlooked the water and the incoming flights.
Thing is, the sh*t hitting the fan didn’t even end there. What’s written above is just a taste of how we’ve felt through this journey so far, but I won’t bore you with all of the details (I don’t think I even have the energy). If you’d like, there are some more snippets posted in the video below. But I am continuing to live by that mantra: Enjoy the Ride.
We’ve hit every wrong turn so far, but here we are, sitting in a little apartment by Auckland, ready to begin the next chapter. We lost some money and a LOT of time, but if we hadn’t missed that first flight, we wouldn’t have ran into a man who read our souls through our palms, and opened our eyes to a lot of things we did and didn’t know about ourselves. We wouldn’t have been able to do some gentle yoga in the San Francisco International Airport Yoga Room. We wouldn’t have eaten amazing burritos in the Los Angeles International Airport. Everything really does happen for a reason, and what’s important is not what life throws at you but how you respond to it.
While I’ve been messing around trying to capture video footage of this trip, my two friends have been taking some incredible photos, so if you would like to check them out then click over to their blogs!
Leyla Larsson: http://vsco.co/leylalarsson/journal/p/1
Kristin Andreassen: https://andreassenadventures.wordpress.com/