Wheels Up Clusterfuck
I was up before the sun and my alarm on Sunday. The excitement and nervousness about beginning my solo world travels hadn’t kept me from getting a good night’s sleep but when you wake up to go on an adventure there is zero grogginess. The old floorboards groaned under my bare feet as I strode through the dark hallway toward the bathroom for a quick shower. Pour over coffee and oatmeal served in tin camping cups fortified us for the drive to BWI airport.
My goodbyes had already been said to friends on Friday during a party for Luke’s closing on the house. The shindig provided a natural conclusion to several weeks of work on the place. The termites were gone, a French drain had been installed, the mold inspection had passed, the loan had been approved, the kitchen and bathrooms were updated, the German cockroaches had headed for the hinterlands, and Luke had already acquired his first renter. It was time for me to hit the old dusty trail.
If you’re not going on an adventure morning grogginess still applies
Celebrating Luke’s first home
Work hard, play hard
I’m not big on goodbyes. I know who my friends, family, and loved ones are. Give me a big hug and keep in touch. No grand gestures necessary. Easy. Knowing this about me, my brother hoisted my backpack out of the car at the curbside departures terminal, gave me a burly bro hug and said, “Hit me up from Bali. Safe travels.” Perfect. My kind of goodbye. Let’s do this.
I strolled into the airport ready to get my marathon of flights to the other side of the globe underway. But of course, as I stood in line to drop off my bag my phone buzzed to let me know my flight had been canceled. The best option was to catch the exact same flights out the following day. No worries, I thought, it’s not like this is a week long vacation that just became shorter because of a 24 hour push to the right. I’m on my own time now.
The unexpected delay was almost a relief. I had braced myself to strike off alone into the unknown and an hour later I was back on the couch next to Luke and my buddy Joe laughing and bullshitting. May as well enjoy it. The bonus day was spent reconstructing a frankenstein box spring we had splintered trying to get through a doorway and bouldering at the climbing gym. Dinner was at Timber pizza, a Petworth mainstay and paragon of hipster foodie culture. I snuck in a few mini bottles of red wine to accompany the meal. After all, I’m an unemployed drifter now so it seemed fitting.
Going over the top
Monday morning was a carbon copy of Sunday morning. Shower, oatmeal, burly bro hug, BWI, even the same departure time. As I was checking my bag, the gate attendant informed me that she couldn’t issue my ticket unless I had a flight out of Indonesia. I had only purchased a one way flight to Bali since I planned on figuring out my next move while I was there. “So all you need from me is a flight confirmation out of Bali inside of the 30 day tourist visa window?”, I asked. “Yes, sir. Without that I can’t issue your ticket”, she responded robotically. “Alright, give me two minutes.” There was still time before my flight but this was no time for overthinking it. I didn’t even walk away from the check-in counter. A few clicks later I had booked my one way flight to Myanmar at the end of the month and showed her the flight confirmation. As promised, she issued my tickets without further hesitation.
I checked my bag, cruised through security, and plopped down at the gate wondering if Myanmar had been the right choice. I had done no research into visas or the seasons, I didn’t have any travel companions, and I had no idea what I wanted to see or do there. Oh well, we’re gonna wing it. Then, right on cue, the announcement came over the PA system that my flight had been delayed an hour. That shouldn’t be an issue, I thought. Better check my connection just to be safe though. Shittttt. I was going to miss my connection out of Detroit. Nope. Hell no. Not again. I wasn’t going to be the little boy that cried traveling the world. I wasn’t going to take another bonus day.
The only option I had was to catch a direct flight to South Korea out of Dulles departing in less than two hours. I jumped in a cab from BWI to Dulles that took an hour and cost a cool $168 with tip but I made the flight. Fortunately, the hour cab ride gave me a chance to file a reimbursement claim. Here’s to hoping Delta coughs up some dough and a few extra miles to smooth things over. Especially since I’m definitely not going to see my backpack for a bit considering it was already checked at BWI.
Time to settle in for some airplane food and horrible movies. I’m glad I got to expend some energy yesterday before being stuck in a series of metal boxes hurtling through the atmosphere for up to 14 hour stints. Especially in coach. I hope those bastards in first class, with their little laydown pods and shit-eating grins, get headaches from the champagne and have sub-par dreams. As for me, I will have no dreams because I will have no sleep unlike the 125 year old Korean woman who is currently using my shoulder as a daybed. Next stop, Bali!
12/5/2018 12:19:45 am
Awesome start to a world class adventure. I can live vicariously through your escapades!
12/5/2018 05:26:03 am
Hell yeah! Should be good ride
12/5/2018 12:32:58 am
Sorry to hear about the flight fiasco filled start to the trip - I hope that Delta get your bag to you ASAP and throw lots of miles to you so you can use them later in the trip! Can’t wait to hear about Bali, I have a friend who used to live there, so if you need any more tips let me know!
12/5/2018 05:27:17 am
Thanks Davina! Bag gets in tomorrow and they already kicked me some loot to get some sweet surf swag! I’ll drop a line when I make it to Sweden!
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Ben quit his job to travel the world. He intends to keep winging it as long as he can.