- Friday, 24 July 2015

On Being An Absolute Moron

Friends, [Romans, countrymen,] lend me your ears, for I have a confession. I am a massive idiot.

It is no secret that I travel a lot. I save up so that I can buy flights rather than going on shopping sprees; I spend my free time looking at destinations I plan to visit, rather than catching up on TV shows. Travel is, pretty much, my life. You'd think, therefore, that I would be relatively good at it by now. I see myself as a fairly experienced traveller - I've had my fair share of flights and trains and buses and random Latvian cars. But no.

I have been accused many a time of being an "airhead", being "not very 'with it'", "having my head in the clouds", "living in my own little bubble", and various other similar sentiments. I always knew that there was some truth in this; I am a serial daydreamer. Never though, until now, have these traits seemed so very true.

Alas, events this morning have proved to me once again that I am still, and often astonishingly so, a remarkably incompetent human being.

Let me explain.

Recently, I was tasked with introducing myself to a group of people with a story fitting the theme 'holy shit I can't believe I did that'. A large number of these stories, including mine, centred around travel mishaps. As I reluctantly relived the moment when I discovered that no, my train was not heading to London where I would then catch a flight with a friend, but instead to Leeds, I remember thinking to myself that thank goodness I was marginally better at travel now. WELL. Little did I know that travel disasters run in the family.

I recently found out that, on return from a holiday in her twenties, my usually very on-the-ball mother went all the way from Glasgow airport, onto the bus to Edinburgh, all the way home to her third-floor flat with somebody else's suitcase that was not only a different make/style/size, but an entirely different colour. And then didn't tell anyone in the entire family about it for several years, from sheer embarrassment. (Mum, I'm broadcasting it to all and sundry, you're welcome.)

In my various voyage mishaps it is never belongings that end up in the wrong place, but rather it is myself. After numerous occasions of going quite some distance on buses in the wrong direction, my first real instance of dopiness was at the age of about 13, when I boarded the bus to go to my tennis squad practice and went sailing unaware straight past the stop, not realising until I had absolutely no idea where I was. Not to worry: capable and quick-thinking me decided that I would just stay on the bus for the entire route until it went back to the beginning and round again, offering me a second chance at my arrival. How very time-efficient.

Then there was, of course, the horrific London-not-London-but-Leeds train journey, where I was lucky enough to catch the flight in the end due to the frankly heroic Leeds train station staff who took pity on an emotionally unstable teenage girl who was apparently unable to tell the difference between two cities that are two hundred miles apart. (I was completely able to tell the difference. As soon as somebody told me we were going to Leeds, and not London Kings Cross, I knew all too well that was a pretty considerable difference..)

And that brings me to this morning. OH, WHAT AN ORDEAL. I went to sleep pretty late last night having spent the entirety of the evening planning what I would need for my trip away (to the European Youth Parliament International Forum Constance for the next ten days, hosted by EYP Germany) so that I could cram it all into my one hand luggage suitcase, for my flights tomorrow. I awoke this morning with the knowledge that I had one day left in which to complete the rest of the items on my To Do list before getting to the airport for 4am tomorrow morning, to fly to London Luton and subsequently Zurich, before getting a bus across the border to Germany. I picked up my phone to see what was still left on said To Do list, and to my absolute horror there, on my lock screen, was a ticket I had saved in my Passbook. From London Luton to Zurich. For later today.

My first thought was just confusion, and a kind of humongous NOPE. My next flight is not later today? It's at 6am tomorrow?¿? On investigating further, it is safe to say I was dismayed to see that my boarding passes were/are, indeed, dated for today. And one of them had already passed. The flight that I was meant to be on had already landed in London Luton before I even woke up. Cue a phone call to Mum, as is now customary in these situations ("We have a tiny problem with my flights.. They're for the 24th.. That's today.")

After a combination of stress (on my part) and some seemingly inappropriate but then infectious hilarity (mostly on Mum's part), new flights have been booked at a somehow relatively bargainous price, and instead of Luton I shall be getting to know Brussels airport, which is handy as I'll be spending nearly nine hours there later next month. As a bizarre silver lining, when changing my booking for the bus to Germany, I seem to have ended up €0.06 better off, even with paying the optional €0.12 extra to offset my carbon emissions. A win, of sorts.

And there we have it. They say things come in threes, so I'm sincerely hoping that this is the end of my days of awful travelling, and from hereon in I shall be the pro jet-setter I have always hoped to be. I shall defy my imbecilic ways and be a birdbrained fool no more. Wish me luck. I'll probably need it.

EDIT 26th JULY:
(from an update I posted on Facebook/Instagram upon arrival at my destination, along with a photo of my horoscope in a magazine stating "Travel plans may need some attention.")
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHA. "Travel plans may need some attention." you're telling ME. After new flights booked one day in advance, a delayed train to the station, the last bus missed due to being directed to quite literally the wrong END of said station, people thinking I was in Germany when I was in actual fact still stranded in Switzerland, station staff having genuinely never heard of the place I was trying to get to, not having a single Swiss franc to my name, ticket machines not accepting euros or my card, the office being closed, getting one then another then a third train with an hour wait in between where I found myself humming Loch Lomond as consolation, managing to get on the bus for the last leg of my journey and thinking something was finally going right until I got off about half an hour early, then walking to the hostel with my phone attached to my laptop balanced on my arm to resurrect it from 0% charge, and eventually got to my destination at 3am. I don't want to tempt fate, but surely *SURELY* no other journey can be quite as disastrous as this... ps thanks for the advance warning, horoscope ‪#‎cursed‬


2 comments:

  1. Ah yes! the joys! This is the kind of thing that can only be seen as giving you backbone and will be invaluable for the trials and tribulations of working life in the years to come.

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    1. Thanks, Dad ;) I only hope the trials and tribulations of working life are a) less pricey and b) for just as exciting a reason. Somehow I slightly doubt it!

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