Some people have a talent for meticulous planning and execution of the perfect travelling experience. All boxes are ticked and everything in need of doing is done months in advance of going away. While I have the utmost respect for those people, regretfully, I am not one of them.
I’ll start this first post with an image to punctuate this statement. So, there I am, sat on the edge of my bed. It is 11:30 pm, the day before I am set to leave for a round the world trip starting in South America. I have tears in my eyes.
In short, I spent roughly a year and a half scrimping and saving in order to have enough money to make the first part of the adventure possible.
The tears in my eyes at this time were not caused by some profound thought or wave of euphoric excitement that many would feel before embarking on a 3 year voyage. I had realised that although I was only changing planes in Orlando, Florida, the American system is such that I would have to apply (and be approved) for an ESTA in order to set foot on US soil. I discovered this was the case at 11 pm that night and hurriedly filled out the online form.
The website boldly states that it would likely take up to 72 hours to complete so in my head, the dream was over before I’d even finished packing.
Luckily as you have probably guessed from the fact that I am writing this and not cut off from the world in a pit of despair, it took only a couple of hours to complete and when I woke at 5 the next morning, it was confirmed that I was good to go.
I would love to continue by saying that things went smoothly from there on in. I could, but I would be lying.
Following an early start and a pit-stop for breakfast at a lovely Scottish-American fusion Bistro (which I wholeheartedly recommend) somewhere on the M6, I arrived at Manchester Airport and went through the check-in process. A two hour stop-over in Orlando, plenty of time to change planes, right?
Two hours after our predicted take-off time, we were still waiting to ‘Push-back’ (technical term). Fast forward 9 hours and we are being rushed through security to reclaim our baggage and put it onto the connection carousel which would hopefully take it onto our flight to Bogota. For anyone who hasn’t been to Orlando Airport, the place is gargantuan. You know, the ‘trains between terminals’ kind of place.
Arriving at the gate, only to be informed that I had ‘just’ missed the flight… by 30 minutes. I was sent to various different airline desks in order to gain passage on another flight and ended up being bounced around the airport for 3 hours before finally being booked onto a flight the next morning.
I eventually made it to Bogota roughly 40 hours and 3 countries later.
At times on that journey, it genuinely felt as though some divine power was actually taking an interest in me and was fully determined to ruin my week.
After wallowing in self-pity for a time, I got out of the Hostel, went out into the city and, until writing this, forgot the deep fear and despair I have just described.
I’m not sure if this is the correct terminology but I am writing somewhat in arears but once I have caught up, I will try to outline the majority of the exciting stuff I do. I’m sure I will manage to make them seem pretty mundane but, being honest, this blog is more for my benefit than yours.