When we last left our hero (hereafter referred to as Joshua Tree), he was adrift in a sea of permafrost and Cree pysanky, slowly making his way back home. Our heroine (hereafter referred to as Sara) now rejoins the scene, emerging from the mire of second year Nursing exams and her final weeks as a health interviewer. After nearly three months apart due to Josh’s Northern adventures, we were reunited in a flurry of unpacking, repacking, saying hello to friends, saying goodbye to friends, and preparing to do what saratree does best: travel!
A bit of backstory: Almost as soon as we arrived home from Argentina, we started plotting our next grand voyage. While we have loved setting up our little apartment in Osborne Village and working towards ‘real’ jobs, we have also loved realizing how essential travel has become to our life and worldview.
In true Josh & Sara fashion, it wasn’t enough to merely plan a 3 1/2 month backpacking trip across Europe. No, in the week before we left, we also had to finish exams, go to Ottawa, finish practicum, drive 13 hours home from Gillam, celebrate Josh’s graduation with his Bachelor of Education, pack up our apartment, and, in the hour before leaving for the airport, record a CD to give to our European hosts.
And then the fun really began! I’m sure so many of you heard us bragging about how perfect our Winnipeg-Chicago-Munich-Naples flights were. “At such reasonable times of day! With such comfortable amounts of layover time!” Saratree Travel Rule #1: When travel plans seem too good to be true, they probably are. We tearfully hugged my mom goodbye at the Winnipeg airport and proceeded to stand in line.
And then we stood in line.
Yep, an hour later, still just standing in line.
When we finally got to the front of the line, we were told cryptically by the most helpful United staff that the flight to Chicago was delayed.
“Why?” we asked.
No answer from helpful Ms. United.
“How long a delay?” we questioned.
Ms. United remained mysteriously silent.
“Will we miss our connecting flight?” we queried.
Ms. United was mute.
We sat in Winnipeg for 3 hours, with no United staff even present at the gate.
Finally, at 8 pm, when we should have been finishing our chocolate malts at Johnny Rockets in the Chicago airport, we finally boarded our first plane.
The flight attendant, while still unapologetic and uninformative, was at least concerned about us missing our connecting flight, so made an announcement to the rest of the passengers that there were “two customers on board who needed to meet their family in Munich” (?? I’m not really sure where she got this information, but it won us sympathy, so we let it slide!) so to please let us off first.
Our poor family in Munich must still be waiting for us, because we missed that flight (although we literally ran through the airport to try and catch it, which was exciting!) We ended up in a Chicago hotel for the night, with $7 each for dinner (United apparently missed the memo regarding inflation).
Which brings us to Saratree Travel Rule #2: Mishaps are always adventures, just sometimes cleverly disguised 🙂
The adventure continued when our flight out of Chicago was delayed yet again (we’ve still got some angry emails to send!). We insisted, we cajoled, we got out our firm voices, we even broke out in Spanish. In the end, we were put on stand-by and made it on a flight to Washington, which got us to Munich in time to finally catch a flight to Naples, only 24 hours later than planned!
Except that our bags forgot to catch the flight.
Our bags eventually made it (only 60 hours in the same clothes, not too bad!) But what this ridiculous beginning to our trip proved yet again is that no matter how chaotic life gets, no matter how stressful or uncertain situations may be, the most important thing is to have someone you can count on by your side. Whether you’re in Italy, in Winnipeg, across the pond, or down the road, I hope this summer is a time of discovering new friendships and strengthening existing ones. We’ll keep you posted on how that’s going for us over here!
Arrivederci, amici… 🙂