Lauren Lee - Pro Blog 6

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Today has been nothing short of a horror show. Out of all my trips overseas, this one is an all time travel epic. Waking at five a.m. didn’t seem like a big deal to get to Denver for our ten-thirty flights, but we had stops to make. Starbucks, atms, gas stations, parking, etc… Organizing in a group always has its kinks. Someone always has something to forget, something lost, and all the other things that just can’t be predicted.

Everything seemed to be going smoothly; however, that did not last for long. Shortly after checking in with my airline I met up with Whitney and Keith. They had checked in for there first domestic flight and everything was set into motion. The charmed moment didn’t last for long. Once Keith realized that his passport was missing, the day just managed to spiral out of control. While Keith searched his car Whitney and I poked through his carry-on luggage and the airline was pulling his checked luggage off route to his Chicago flight.

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While sitting with Whitney, feeling sorry for Keith, I realized that the Baggage check-in lady had given me the wrong gate. I ran to the monitors to see where I should be heading, and saw in bold letters flight cancelled. This set me off in a frenzy to get a hold of another flight, so that I wouldn’t miss my international connections. An hour plus of waiting with four helpful airline clerks and I was set to go. A new route, at a much later time, but still Marseille, France bound. With time to kill I assisted Keith in his quest to find or replace his passport. Despair lingering in the air we pressed on knowing that stagnation wouldn’t resolve the obstacles ahead.

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I combed the car looking intently with hope that the solution would be simple and close at hand. We decided that the many morning stops had to be re-traced and an appointment was set for the next morning at the Denver Passport office. I went to my gate for lunch, knowing that anything could happen and felt reassured that everything would turn out just fine. Keith and I kept in touch over the progress made on project passport. While on the phone with Keith, he checked the last morning stop en-route to the airport, karma favoring him it turned up in the hands of the gas station attendant. The journey could commence! Keith profusely thanked the attendant with new resolve and calmed nerves he returned to the airport to see what his new itinerary would entail.

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Colette McInerney and Joe Kinder.

Colette McInerney and Joe Kinder.

I combed the car looking intently with hope that the solution would be simple and close at hand. We decided that the many morning stops had to be re-traced and an appointment was set for the next morning at the Denver Passport office. I went to my gate for lunch, knowing that anything could happen and felt reassured that everything would turn out just fine. Keith and I kept in touch over the progress made on project passport. While on the phone with Keith, he checked the last morning stop en-route to the airport, karma favoring him it turned up in the hands of the gas station attendant. The journey could commence! Keith profusely thanked the attendant with new resolve and calmed nerves he returned to the airport to see what his new itinerary would entail.

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Many phone calls later everyone involved was at ease and had a new flight plan for the next day. I on the other hand was starting to experience a world of unpredictability. The plane to Chicago was having mechanical delays, an hour later and no word… The judgment was being postponed for yet another hour, I went to find out how this would effect my international connections. Everyone looked grim. Things were not looking good for me. I was passed from one assistant to the next, until I was put into the hands of Mary. Mary had me set to leave for Chicago with an abundant group of displaced passengers all of whom were more than likely be stuck in the toils of an erratic airport and with only thirteen minutes to connect a flight.

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Knowing that catching that flight would need an act of divine intervention, I protested. I insisted that I not be put blindly into any more madness and that my flights be set in stone. Being a saint Mary managed my options and resolved that the best she could do was get me on a direct flight the following day to London, connecting to Munich and then ultimately to Marseille. I was elated, so I took the option willingly and had Keith pick me up. It was as if the countless hours of journeying had begun but I hadn’t gotten anywhere. The only hang-up was that my luggage was and still is missing. I was told to cross my fingers and hope for the best. The last eighteen hours have been just that. My bags have been found in Chicago, but with no connection through the windy city and still on the ground in Denver nothing can be done except for a courteous claim. What this means, I really don’t know. The best the guy could tell me was that my luggage can puddle jump without me, but when this will happen is now the question. I am starting the trip travel-worn without having traveled with some of the most important pieces of my gear absent; however, there is light at the end of the tunnel since my harness, shoes, and winter jacket are in my carry on. Climbing can commence upon arrival and my life can resume some normalcy.