To Cry or To Laugh: One Traveler’s Choice

Travel Log:  Heading back to The Haven and reflecting on just how unenlightened I can be at times!!  It is now a few days later, but I thought I’d share the tale! 

I have the time and there are many, many stories swirling around me here at Chicago O’Hare Airport.  In this moment, my fingers feel slow and my mind has yet to absorb enough caffeine to totally commit to any one subject.  Still, I have a relatively quiet spot in an otherwise crazy, busy, loud, pulsing airport.  I want to take advantage. Travel Hell

Most of my travel on this excursion away from the Living Alive Phase program has been wrought with struggle.  Of course, this is mostly my internal mind, overly frustrated by delays and various blocks that have been in my path.  I have yet to fully utilize my new found skills in “oneness” as Martha Beck, author of Finding Your Way in a Wild New World, calls it.  It’s not like I haven’t tried.  It is odd to me how natural breathing and taking care of myself comes when I am settled in a room at The Haven, and how totally ineffective I can become making the same effort in a Hilton Hotel.  Instead of breathing or yoga, I find myself taking two breaths, a nanosecond after which, I jump up and think I should go to the gym or check my flight time again.  Now, in the airport terminal quite early, I am trying, amidst the chaos, to settle.  Maybe this will be easier.

Sure, I am hoping I make it back to my safe Haven by late afternoon.  However, that is about 8 to 10 hours away, and I do want this travel experience to be more settling than the hell I put myself through yesterday.

I thought I had it made.  The car pick up for my drive from Lake Placid to Burlington, VT was a few minutes early and effortless.  Let me just take a short excursion from this current track to say, I have no idea how 200 countries and their athletes ever managed to fly in and get to Lake Placid for the 1980 Olympic Winter Games.  Having now made that effort from a neighboring country, Canada, I am actually thinking it may have given the USA hockey team and unfair advantage.  Let’s just say it is NOT easy!!  But that is another story. Lake Placid

Back to the first leg, the Burlington, VT airport is not really designed for the traffic that comes through.  I think they are doing some construction, however, yesterday the food options where basically coffee (drip only) or chips.  I, of course, was there very early.  As my flight got closer, announcements emerged about delays.  First, just 18 minutes, than 50 and finally an hour after the time of departure, I thought we might get to board, when suddenly our gate person started looking for someone to step off the flight.

The initial announcement was friendly enough asking for a volunteer.  Soon it was clear no one was stepping up and her request got more directive.  Someone was going to lose his or her seat, and without volunteering, the promise of assistance was limited.  Still no one.  We all were caught in the pain, as we didn’t start boarding either.  As the clock was ticking, and connections were clearly going to be missed, the gate person printed the list, and a name was called.  The woman called was not happy.  A long conversion at the desk and volunteer popped up, saving the woman her seat.

Finally, boarding we thought we would be on our way.  But no, someone else had a seat issue.  This time most of us were already on the plane.  There was call for the same woman to come off the plane.  Well, that did not happen.  She was clearly not moving.  The gentleman without a seat was now standing at the front.  After another standoff, the gentleman agreed to leave the plane but only if they would get his checked skis out of cargo.  Wow!  Could this get worse?  Well,… yes!

After all of the people delays, next came the Captain’s announcement that O’Hare had put a ground stop on all United flights.  We were going to be sitting on the tarmac for 50 minutes.  By this time most of us knew our connections were missed and working on mobile phones to find rooms or alternative flights.

Finally, after the various delays we took off.  It wasn’t until after two beers and lots of very unenlightened comments about United, I settled.  Fortunately, I had my partner on the outside making a reservation for me at the Hilton Hotel.

In Chicago, I made my way to the Hilton late at night.  As I stepped up excited to get my room and sleep, I was confronted by a check-in line of at least sixty people and two folks checking us in.  Wow!  I think I was so surprised I could only laugh.  The wait of over an hour to check in to the hotel was at least funny as we shared all the odd stories we had been given by pilots and flight folks about why so many United flights were canceled or late.  It was strange that there was so little continuity in these stories.  But at least none of us were as hot. No, we were more amused, which was probably helping the line move relatively quickly, considering the demand.

Now, after a short night of sleep, I have booked myself on a direct flight to Vancouver.  No, I won’t be there as planned to start the day, but I am holding, imaging and forming a picture of my Haven room and some friendly faces sometime later today!!

Post Travels:  I am back and settled.  Since I don’t have lots of blogging opportunities I thought I would share the travel log. 

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