Ahh, Iceland. A place of viking heritage, rotten shark treats, and elves. It’s also the place that took my travel v-card and infected me with a heavy case of wanderlust. Iceland will forever be my Narnia.
My choice in going to Iceland wasn’t initially thought out, or even my own idea. After my best friend added the island to her list of upcoming travel destinations, all it took was an invite for me to swiftly purchase my ticket and start planning the 6 day adventure.
(For an overview of our full route click here)
A couple months later, I was packing my snow boots and thermal underwear when, unbeknownst to me, the true “adventure” started when I lost my passport..
YUP. I lost my passport 24 hours before my first international trip. I tore through bags and belongings, all the while switching between disbelief and pure self-hatred.
Disbelief: “No, this can’t be happening.”
Hatred: “How could you allow yourself to do something so STUPID?”
Disbelief: “No, I’m better than this. I specifically remember putting it somewhere safe.”
Hatred: “OMG I HATE YOU AND ALL THE THINGS YOU ARE.”
After about 20 minutes of panic, I did what any independent 23 year old would do in a time of crisis. I called my mommy.
Just as any level-headed daughter, I trusted my mother to have the supernatural ability to find the things that I’ve misplaced, especially when it came to important documents. But of all the times I called her over minuscule things.. i.e.
“What does this tax form mean?”
“Do you know my bank account number?”
“This customer service person was rude to me. Fix it.”
..this was the time she wasn’t able to help me because she was a little tipsy after being out with friends.
So amidst giggles and cackling laughter in the background of my panicked phone call, she told me she would be home in an hour to help me look. I could tell that my lack of tolerance for anything other than immediate gratification was eating away at my equally low level of patience.
Then out of nowhere, I had a vision. My eyes tunneled and I the next thing I knew I was pulling my passport out of my laptop case. I had put it in there so I wouldn’t lose it. Good going, me. I called my mom back and tried to communicate my success, but my small win wasn’t even enough to do that “fake-parent-interest” thing. You know what it sounds like..”Ohhhh, wow, mhmm, good for you.”
A flash of relief came over me and I made sure to keep an eye on my passport for the rest of the night, constantly checking in on its location. As long as I had this, nothing else could go wrong.
The Next Day
The plane was being delayed. Even on top of misplacing my passport, this wouldn’t have been a problem. Except it was a problem because we were meeting a friend in the Keflavik airport and had no way to communicate that we wouldn’t be there to meet her.
After 2 hours, they announced they would start boarding. But not before my name was called over the loud speaker. NOT A GOOD SIGN. I REPEAT, NOT A GOOD SIGN.
The lady at the desk basically told me that because I booked a solo ticket (appearing as if I were traveling alone) they moved my seat to accommodate a family of four. I explained that I was traveling with my friend and had booked my ticket, with seating preference, months ago. Stubbornly, they didn’t do much except to offer seats that “don’t recline, but are together.” I took sitting together over not being able to recline my seat. She made the changes, and we boarded.
These seats…let me tell you about these seats. Not only did they not recline – they didn’t have air vents, lights, or even a window to look out of. They were smaller than the economy seats in both inches, as well as leg room. I don’t even remember them having back seat monitors. We spent the 6 hour flight over-crowded, over-heated, and under-impressed.
Eventually, we made it to Keflavik and to our friend, having the good sense to wait us out, sitting on a bench as we rounded the corner from baggage claim. We picked up the car and made our way to Reykjavik at about 10 a.m. Iceland time. Finally, we had made it.
Overall, I didn’t expect my first international trip to start smoothly, but a girl can still dream, right? Honestly, the quality of the rest of the trip was so high that I had all but forgotten about the entire arrival process.
Iceland is a place that confuses me as much as it astounds me. I loved it so much I got a tattoo to remind me of my time there. But I learned to always keep my passport in a safe place (and remember where that place is.) I also learned that even the worst of flying experiences can be overshadowed by the beauty and whimsy of your destination.
Have you had a crazy flying experience? Had a similar experience losing important documents? What was your first international trip and did it go smoothly? Share in the comments below!