Reverb10 prompt: Travel How did you travel in 2010? How and/or where would you like to travel next year?
In 2010, I had two major traveling experiences: getting to Passion 2010 and then going to Exuma.
Unfortunately, traveling by air was not as easy as it should be.
Our flight to Atlanta was canceled, due to mechanical problems. We didn’t find out until we had arrived at the airport. We ended up renting a van and driving down to Washington, D.C., where we were able to get a flight out to Atlanta.
Our next step from the airport was to get onto a MARTA train to the area where our hotel was. In order to get to the MARTA train, we had to take a shuttle train to a different part of the airport. Getting on was not a problem. Of course, we had to have a problem as we got off. One of the doors didn’t open, so everyone had to squeeze out through one door. Eight of us got off without a problem, but the last two got stuck as the door automatically closed. Derek ran over and grabbed the door so it wouldn’t close as we got Meg and Cherie out. Another guy was standing by, yelling at Derek not to hold the door and we all wanted to yell at him, “Don’t yell, just go over and help!” Finally, we all got off the shuttle train and headed towards the MARTA station. We got our tickets, got on the train, and waited.
A lady then came onto our car and asked everyone, “Don’t you know? This train’s out of service.” Clearly, we had not received that message. We got out and waited for a different train. Once on the train, we met with someone who had been at the session earlier that night. He asked where we were from, and we told him NJ. He asked about our travels, and we all just groaned, and then told him our saga. We took the train to our stop, then walked to our hotel, where we checked in. We then walked over to the Georgia World Congress center to check in and start an amazing four days.
Our spring break mission trip also had travel difficulties. We were flying out of the same small airport that we were supposed to fly out of for Passion. On a normal day, this airport doesn’t have crowds. When there are crowds, there are problems. This Friday, there were crowds. After waiting for what seemed like an eternity in a line that barely moved, we found out that our flight was canceled. Our group got out of line and prayed for guidance. Two of my friends from Passion 2010 were standing near me, so I told them, “We should just stop traveling together to big God-events.” It lightened the mood a little bit, but we were definitely disappointed. We couldn’t just hop on another flight because all of the flights were overbooked with other spring-breakers trying to get to their destinations. We piled back in the vans and headed back to school, unsure if we would be able to go or not.
After much waiting, killing time, praying, sleeping, and listening to music, we found out that there was one chance of a flight out on Monday. If we didn’t get that flight we would stay in New Jersey. If we stayed in NJ, we would serve others nearby and possibly go back to Exuma in May.
Thankfully, we were able to get the flight booked. I went home for the weekend and then came back to school. Our new flight was out of JFK airport. We had to leave about 3 hours before the airport security check in time (which by itself is at least an hour before the flight). We had a very early flight out, so you can just do the math. One of our team members lives near JFK, so he went there by himself and waited for us. He texted us that the airport was empty and that we shouldn’t really have any issues getting through security. It was just him and the cleaning ladies.
By the time we got there, however, everything had changed. Mobs of angry people greeted us. Many other flights that weekend had gotten delayed due to a nor-Easter and those people, along with the normal airport traffic, were all trying to board flights at the same time. We stood in a slow moving line for awhile. The minutes kept ticking down. Eventually, we were able to get out of line and get checked in by ourselves (I’m pretty sure that we had connections with someone in the airport, other wise that never would have happened). Of course, other people tried to sneak into our group, which caused more frustration and yelling from the people who had tried to sneak in. Once we weighed our bags, we ran over to the security line. More angry, yelling, New Yorkers. Lovely. Our plan was to split up into pairs so we could get through the few security lanes faster. By the time we all got through security, it was literally the last few minutes to board the plane. We were running to our gate, shoes and belts in our hands and somehow dragging our carry-on bags. Thankfully, our gate was not that far away at all. We get there, and hear news that normally would make travelers cranky:
No one could board the plane because there was a stewardess or two who were late for work, which caused our flight a short delay.
While everyone else at our gate was probably impatient and mad, we were elated. We got our shoes and belts back on. We relaxed. We even got some snacks to eat.
Finally, we were able to board the plane. We were flying JetBlue, and I must say, their planes are SO amazing. Each seat has a TV; the seats are leather, there is a large amount of leg room (being short, however, this didn’t really affect me), they actually give you choices when it comes to snacks, and because our flight had been delayed, they waived the charge for the in-flight movies. Seriously, if you ever get the chance to fly JetBlue, do it. You won’t regret it, although every other airline afterward just won’t be the same anymore.
I didn’t watch any in-flight movie because I was just exhausted. I slept on the way down to Nassau.
Once we got to the Nassau airport, through customs, and checked in at the airline of our connecting flight, we all had lunch. We made the decision as a group where to eat, and were extremely excited for our decision.
We ate at Wendy’s. =D
Our flight from Nassau to Exuma was free of troubles, praise God. Once we landed in Exuma, we were expecting a van and a truck at the airport to transport us and our gear to our home for the week.
At this rate, we should have known not to expect anything on this trip to be normal. There was no truck, just a van. One twelve person van van for 13 people, all of whom had two suitcases in addition to carry-on-bags. It was a bit tight.
The rest of the saga of our trip to Exuma will be written about shortly.
Coming home was uneventful and “normal.”
All of the hassle of traveling was worth it, though. Everyone from our group who went to Passion 2010 was given a complimentary flight by the airline. I was going to use mine in 2010 before it expired, but wasn’t able to, unfortunately. I was planning on using it to visit my friend in Chicago, whom I haven’t seen in years. I wasn’t able to use it because our schedules never lined up.
I know that 2011 will have many travel stories, but I’m not sure that they will top my crazy travel stories of 2010!