A traveling disaster

Sep. 22, 2013 @ 12:06 PM

I’m starting to think that when I travel the last person I should travel with is me.

It’s not that I’m not a wonderful traveling companion. I always remember to bring those nice little travel toothpastes and I’m always the first person to remember that we forgot our toothbrushes at the hotel and left the water running in the shower at home.

I make a point, whether at the airport, the hotel or in the car at the toll plaza, to always get on the wrong line, the longest, slowest-moving one, so others can get on the shortest, fastest-moving one.

I do my best not to guffaw loudly during the safety briefing on a plane and not taking the window seat and then deciding there was still something I wanted in the overhead rack so will you just excuse me here a moment while I slide by and try to get my bag one last time?

And yet, despite all my careful planning, when I travel, stuff happens. What I mean by this is not good stuff.

I have a long history of travel disasters, no matter where I go. Everyone, of course, has travel disasters — missed flights, lost luggage, broken fan belts, seatmates who are insurance salesmen. But I have a file of my Top Ten Travel Disasters that now includes 23 different disasters.

Recently, I went to Europe, which is a continent devoid of Doritos but with lots of history, nice buildings, odd currency and languages that seem almost foreign. I almost didn’t get there.

To get to where we wanted to get in Europe, we had to take a plane to another plane to another plane. Two out of the three landed where they were supposed to. Planewise, that is not a good percentage.

On the third flight, about 15 minutes away from landing, the pilot came out of the cockpit and he wasn’t offering small bags of peanuts. He wanted to tell us, he said, that there was some kind of a problem with some kind of vibration, up there near the front, where they happen to keep their engines.

On the other hand, he was speaking German, so maybe he was offering small bags of peanuts.

Anyway, it had been determined, the pilot probably was saying, that it was too dangerous to go on all the way to our destination. It had also been determined that it was too dangerous to go back to where we had started from. It probably was also too dangerous to just stay there in the air eating small bags of peanuts.

So it was determined to land in Hannover, a German city known best for having two ns in its name. From Hannover, it was easy to get to our final destination by just taking a four-hour bus, another bus, another bus and another bus. We got there, sometime later that week.

The good news? That was easier than our trip home.

Neil Offen can be reached at theneiloffencolumn@yahoo.com.