Traveling is so much fun...in theory. I spent five days in the most beautiful island in the Caribbean, and I felt like I left the States for heaven. The journey to this nature isle was long but as pleasant is it could get: the flights were on time, snacks and drinks were complimentary, and I had the window seat for every flight.
But, the way back to the United States, was hell on earth. It is encouraged to arrive for your international flight approximately two hours before your scheduled departure. Here we are - an hour before my flight is scheduled to depart and I open what I thought to be my passport to discover that it was not mine, but my cousin's. Being the only two people in the house with a U.S. passport, I had hers and she had mine. I don't know when, and I don't know how, but I was looking at a face that wasn't mine and my passport was nowhere to be seen. Meanwhile, it's 7 a.m., my flight departs in an hour, and the airport is an hour away from where my passport is. Here I am in the middle of this tiny airport sweating from anxiety and because they don't have central A/C, throwing around the clothes from my carry-on, hoping I simply misplaced it. I nearly had a breakdown. The next available flight outside of this island wasn't for another two days and if I don't get my passport, I can't leave. All I could hear from my mom is, "You could have been arrested for identity fraud!" Thanks, mom, I already knew that. Luckily my flight was delayed for an extra hour, and the man that drove us to the airport happened to know someone who was willing to bring me my passport for a small fee. If it weren't for these tiny minuscule events that all happened to align in time to have my passport in my hand at the exact same time my flight had landed, I would still be stuck on that tiny island as of right now. Through all of this, I did check for my passport about three times before we left to make sure I had it, but not once did it occur to me to actually open the passport to make sure that it was indeed mine.
Unfortunately, that is not where my travel disasters end. My mother took the cautionary step of booking our connecting flight that wasn't due to arrive for another six hours, and because our initial trip was not one of leisure but of emergency, we didn't really think to bring much money, so we couldn't afford to leave this airport to waste the time. Instead, we bought a bottle of wine that we weren't supposed to open until we reached our final destination and split it between us. After the morning we had, we didn't care too much about rules. There we were, sitting in the most uncomfortable chairs in an airport food court where English is not the first language, eating over-priced American fast food, wine drunk and miserable. Right as we were finally getting ready to move closer to our gate for the scheduled boarding time, I get a text informing us that our 8 p.m. flight has been delayed for another two hours. For those two hours, I don't remember much except for waking up on the floor of the airport near my assigned gate and hearing that my flight has finally arrived, in Spanish.
Even though I was finally on my last plane for the day, it couldn't even take off because it started to rain. I was crammed in the middle seat, and there was turbulence through the entire flight. We didn't land into the United States until 12:30 a.m. but we were still not close to home. It wasn't until well after 2 a.m. that I was actually in front of my doorsteps. I was so exhausted from a full 21 hours of travel chaos that I fell asleep on the couch because I couldn't make it to my room. One day, I'll look back on this day and laugh, but today is not the day. And because of all that, I don't plan on traveling again for a long, long, time.