I am writing this latest edition of the WP from London where I arrived a few short days ago. My time in Minnesota, 3 ½ weeks of time there ended. Has that chapter of my life finally ended? Not yet and not really. I came there to clean house, as it were, and to downsize my life, which I did and went from three different units of stuff down to less than one unit of stuff. Three units, as you remember due to the frozen pipes and resulting flood. I am glad that I returned to take care of the business at hand. I realized with some clarity that Minnesota is not home. Is the job done, no, not yet. I will return later this year to take what is left of what was once a ton of stuff and take it east with me, but that is for months from now. The best part of returning was not just cleaning out the past but re-connecting with friends and clients. Admittingly, the base of my clientele and most of my friends are here, so while I have moved on, I have fond memories and a successful return.
The week ended with my departure for the UK, this past Friday and it was not without its challenges. It was interesting flying out of MSP as Logan Airport in Boston has become the home departure airport. The usual process was in place and while I had Clear and TSA Precheck, Clear was not the choice this time and took longer. I also was randomly checked as I went through and all they wanted to check was my mobile phone. I found that interesting, but as I am well-traveled, it was not a big deal and I always leave myself enough time. I had forgotten to get some foreign currency in advance, not needing much, so purchased some at the airport, and for those traveling, don’t get a lot and don’t do it there. The rates are not great, and the best is to draw from a local ATM in country.
The highlight or should I say the lowlight of the departure was that we were delayed. Not unusual for an airport anywhere or for any airline. It is part of the life of a traveler, and we should all be prepared for such events. I did say this was a lowlight, but it actually, was handled in the best possible way. I was not in a hurry and delays happen. After everyone boarded the aircraft, the pilot came on to say that there was a mechanical issue, and that maintenance was working on it. Some time went by and he came on again to say that the delay would be about an hour. Some people opted to get off the aircraft to stretch, which was allowed taking their belongings, again, not unusual. When they thought the issue had been resolved, everyone boarded again. I had stayed on board, as I was watching a movie to pass the time.
Now, we were ready to take off, or were we. As we left the gate and were heading towards the runway, there were jerking motions every time the plane came to a stop, and they seemed to get harder. Before we reached the runway, the pilot came on again to say that another mechanical issue had arisen, which we all knew at that point. This time however, we waited on the tarmac to be pulled back to the gate. Better safe than sorry and once again, we returned to the gate, G12. I believe at this point the delay was about 2 hours. When we returned to the gate, the pilot, once again came on to apologize and explain the situation. He also gave the possible scenarios. It seems that in the background, they were working on alternatives such as a connecting flight to be taken a few hours hence via Amsterdam. I knew I would get to London, and I had built in a cushion. I felt sorry for those having to connect, but again, alternatives would be available.
The alternative that ended up being the best of all possible options, was that they were not only able to bring another aircraft online, but the same type and the whole crew was able to continue, which meant that we were all able to continue. So, in the end, everyone got off the aircraft, went from G13 to F12 at MSP and boarded again for London, some 4 hours later and left the gate. You would think that was the end of the ordeal, but no. Apparently, one of the other passengers had opted to leave the flight completely and that person’s luggage had failed to be removed, so after we left the gate, we had to return one more time, another delay. In the end, at least for me and others who simply were flying to London as the destination, and after a 5-hour delay we were off as if nothing had ever happened. Those who had missed connections would be put on the next available flight and I have experienced that as well in past travels. It is simply part of the world of travel.
Because of the long delay, we arrived in London around 12:30 pm, cleared customs quickly and collected my luggage and on my way. As I had not arranged a transfer, I had several choices, Uber, a taxi or public transport and as my hotel was a block from the tube stop, I needed to get to, I opted to do that, so when I arrived at my hotel, I was able get in right away. I had booked a hotel near the airport from the night before and will file an insurance claim for that cost, as I was not able to make use of it, but in the long run, everything turned out just fine, as I had nothing planned for my arrival day and simply worked on travel plans for clients and ended up having the classic British meal, Fish n Chips and yesterday, moved to my conference hotel where I will be for the next few days and last night, enjoyed some Malaysian food. The lesson learned from my travels to date is to take lemons and make lemonade. Stressing about things of which you have no control is wasted energy and I have too much life to live. I am excited to share my experiences over the next few weeks here in the UK and even more excited to see the love of my life in less than 3 weeks time!!!
As always, stay safe, stay healthy and always look for the best in a situation and be patient as the best things in life are worth waiting for. Thank you as always for your support of my crazy little world and my small business. As always, I look forward to your comments, questions, concerns and continuing the discourse through whichever means you read my posts!!!
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Weathering the Storm with the Wandering Puffin