Plan for the Unplanned

Written by Payton Lee in The Backpack

The flight attendant came over the speaker phone, "Ladies and gentlemen, please don't strangle me for the bad news I'm about to deliver. The cooling feature in this air tight bubble is taking a vacation for the moment. You will have to breath in your neighbor's hot air and comfort yourself with our overpriced snack menu while we talk the system down from its tropical mood. The pilot says he could still make the 10 hour journey on time, but the airline company doesn't want him wasting extra fuel, so it will now be an exhausting 11 hour journey. We will keep you updated if we aren't too busy gossiping in the back foray about this massive hangover I'm nursing today." Click. "Thanks" Click.

I knew I should have bought some sleeping pills!  International flights can be extremely frustrating. The hours drag by as they show you a little plane fly a computerized pattern to its destination. It moves a centimeter an hour, how comforting. Then, just as I was falling into my black hole of travel depression, I met D-Wade, professional NBA star. Just kidding, he was a classmate of Wade.

Small talk on airplanes usually exhausts to me, but this time he needed the distraction and so did I. Where are you traveling to, led to what do you do, which turned into a common Midwest connection. He was a neurology and cancer researcher in San Diego. Way out of my intellect league, but interesting never the less. Originally from the Canary Islands, he came to the United States to study. Taking up his degree at Marquette University in Wisconsin, he sat next to the, up and coming star, Dwayne Wade. With a peaked interest, I asked him lots of questions about traveling to Spain, living on the islands, and probably annoyed the crap out of him. We killed at least an hour. I felt slight relief. At least now I had a good story to tell when I got back.

The pilot wasn't lying to us. Our 10hr flight landed in 11, and my travel journey still wasn't over. I still had to catch a 1 1/2 train ride from Munich to Garmisch. Luckily, thanks to my new Spaniard acquaintance, I had some travel swagger. You know the kind where you feel comfortable and slightly cocky. You may even scoff at the greenhorns dragging ungodly amounts of luggage behind them. Well whatever it means, I had it, and while strutting through the customs line, I overheard a couple saying they were going to Garrmissh-Partachicken, aka: "Garmisch-Partenkirchen".   I caught up with them at the baggage claim, and startled them with my perfect United States of American accent.

"Garmisch is a beautiful place," I said. "Have you been there before?"  I could literally see their bouncing veins slow to a steady pace as they relayed it was their first time. Their daughter lives and works at Edelweiss. Connection rooted, rookie American travelers rescued, and the price of my single train ticket saved. As most American's would they were renting a car, and my knowledge of the area provided me a slightly desperate invite to a free lift. Of course they would have made it just fine, but my gentle, kindhearted Midwest background sealed the deal. They were from my neighbor state of non other than Wisconsin. Who knew this cheese head state was so popular. Twice in one day!

I put on my tour guide hat and pointed out all the cool hot spots on my free ride home to Garrmisssh-Partachicken. They were extremely grateful. Proud to say, I set them up for a great start on their new journey, and they gave me a needed reminder of why travel is so exciting. For every bad announcement made at the start on my trip, there were two wonderful experiences gained. I can't plan on delayed flights any more than I can plan on meeting D-Wade's classmate or getting a free ride from Wisconsin natives. However, when the good outweighs the bad, I know I'm on the right path.


About the Author

Payton Lee

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Constantly Teaching, Forever Learning.

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