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Silly Girl // An Update

july 19, 2017

I firmly believe everything happens for a reason. Including the fact that sometimes I’m human (i.e. an idiot), which is why I’m calmly using some “new-found time” to write an update about things going on in my life.


To give you a little context on my day, I just missed my flight from Rome to Lisbon and it is totally my fault. My flight was at 8am, so I made the responsible choice to have an early evening last night. I woke up at 5am and packed my things. I decided to take a cab to the airport, instead of public transit to make sure I’d have plenty of time.


I got to the airport the recommended 2 hours early and breezed through security. I had a cappuccino and a croissant before locating my gate. At this point I had an hour and 20 minutes before my scheduled departure. I found a free chair about 15 feet from the gate entrance, perfectly in my view when glancing to my right.


Ahhh, what to do with all of this free time and energy (Thanks cappuccino and cozy, Airbnb bed!)? My working holiday had left me feeling very inspired about some independent projects, so I decided to take advantage of these excess creative juices and work on some blogging.


I hunkered down with my laptop and became really absorbed with my work. I was careful to glance up every 15 minutes to check the boarding progres, yet I was quickly becoming more engrossed in my tasks.


I noticed the line to board getting longer and longer. I debated going and sitting in the que with the others. But why sit in a nearly endless line for an indefinite amount of time when I can continue working, then jump up at the end and walk right on the plane?


Slowly the line shortened as boarding began. I looked up at 7:48am (12 minutes before my departure) and thought to myself, it may be time to get in line, as soon as I get to a good stopping point, that is.


Conveniently, the airport wifi began to glitch and I was having troubles uploading an image to my website. I became all consumed in figuring out why the image wouldn't show. 6 minutes of troubleshooting passed and I was finally victorious - the image uploaded. *Phew*


The triumphant feeling was short lived as I noticed it was 7:54am - my plane departed in 6 minutes. I jerked my head to the right, towards my gate. The line was gone. I shoved my laptop in my suitcase and hurled myself towards the gate attendant. Wide-eyed and stuttery, I tried to show her my boarding pass. She looked at me with disbelief and contempt. “No, it is gone,” she said.


I tried to convince her to let me chase the plane down the tarmac - I was still 6 minutes early, after all. But we all know how it works with air travel - you are late unless you are 30 minutes early. And this time, you are the idiot who was very early, sitting at your gate and still missed your flight. And it is all your fault and you are so silly, and not in a cute, fun way.


I’ve had several really shitty travel experiences  (exhibit A), but this was the first time that it was truly totally my fault and also just really, really stupid. Unfathomably stupid. Yet, what I’ve learned from shitty travel experiences is that they are very much growth experiences, as well. And it definitely doesn’t help to cry or throw a fit. On to damage control.


Step 1: Find a new way home. A quick search online showed me there was a flight leaving on another airline at an alternative airport at 8:30pm. The one-way ticket was, of-course, 3x the cost of my round trip flight, but at this point there’s nothing I can do but throw money at the situation (Thank you, credit card).


Step 2: Deep breaths and make the best of the situation.  Unfortunately, this new airport is 2 hours away by public transportation, but I have all the time in the world now. So I’m going to turn this frown upside down and create vacay #2.


Step 3: Sneak into a rooftop, hotel pool. Now, I am currently writing this blog with a cheese pizza to my right, a glass of prosecco to my left, and a rooftop infinity pool right in front of me. I’ll be camped out here until it’s time to head to airport #2 around 5:30pm.


As frustrating as this experience was in the moment,  it’s days like this in which I feel very alive. It’s hard to explain, when you're feeling so inspired, time simply doesn’t exist. And maybe, sometimes in these intense moments of inspiration and change, we miss the little things (such as a gate attendant’s last call for boarding) and that’s okay. Because we’re learning and adapting and making the best of the little “time” we have.


To be totally honest, this whole “becoming a digital nomad” thing has been a lot harder than I thought. All you see is my fancy instagram photos in new places with a toothy smile. But it’s actually quite lonely and when things go wrong, I don’t have a physical support system  to turn to. When I missed my flight at 8am this morning, it was 2am back home in Chicago - no one was up to vent to. But all of this has made me stronger and I wouldn’t trade my lifestyle for anything in the world. I think there is a a lot of value in listening to the problems in your life instead of shouting at them with anger.


For example, up until recently, I was planning on staying in Lisbon for 6 months. Portugal is such a gem. I am so enjoying the warm weather, seafood, and local hospitality. Yet, a few admin things have fallen through, which will be quite a hassle to resolve in order to stay for six months. Without getting into it I’ll say my European Visa expires in August and my housing option in Lisbon has fallen through, so I have had to think about my alternatives. Maybe these problems are the universe telling me it’s time for some new scenery?

So in true *Lauren form* I looked up cheapest flights to “dog friendly” destinations outside the Schengen Zone (most of Europe). and I “found” Romania. For many of you reading, this is probably a very random destination, but for me, if it's on the map, I'm willing to give it a try. In fact, I first ventured to my favorite destination in the world (South Africa) with a similar attitude and logistical reasoning. My five months in Cape Town ended up being the best of my life and I recognize my time there as one in which I was really challenged. The experience opened my mind, allowing me to grow spiritually and intellectually.


Even when things aren’t easy or going according to plan, I believe you are being pushed closer to where you are meant to be. I’m not sure what existential factor is pushing me towards Romania, but you can be sure I’ll keep you updated with this blog.

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