Adventure of a Lifetime

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August 28th 2011
Published: August 31st 2011
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I have always loved to go on adventures.

When I was young, my parents would plan trips every year to places across the country. From Independence Hall in Philadelphia to Tombstone in Arizona to Taquaminah Falls in Northern Michigan, we explored the vastness of our nation.

Throughout my youth I also heard of many far off countries that my Grandmother would visit. Bangkok, Egypt, China, London, etc. I saw pictures, heard stories, and hoped that one day I too could travel the world.

Its no wonder to me that when the opportunity presented itself, that I took this excursion. A mix of cities and beaches, this trip takes me from Spain to Italy to Greece.

I left Detroit this afternoon and have already had more interesting experiences than I expected.

The Bags

When I checked in at Detroit metro I only had one checked suitcase. I needed to check-in with an attendant because of my airline rules and to put it politely, the attendant was less than helpful.

I made sure to ask if my bag was going straight through to Madrid and she said that I would need to take it through customs in Toledo. Our flight was slightly delayed and upon landing in Toledo, I asked the desk receptionist for my airline where I would get my bag and the fastest way through customs. She checked my luggage ticket receipt and told me that they would transfer the bag and it would continue onto Madrid.

Alright great. One less thing for me to worry about.

So I made my way through customs and to the gate. About 30 minutes before departure, the gate attendant called me up, gave me my boarding ticket, and said "Wow, going to Europe with just a carry-on!" Well needless to say that scared me a little.

I asked about my checked bag and he said they had no record of any bag being transferred. I gave him my receipt and he made some phone calls and changed the record. Feeling a bit more relieved I asked him if everything was okay now and my bag would be put on the plane. His response?

"Well I'd keep your fingers crossed. Its after hours and were short on staff"

Great... so I asked "Alright if my bag does not make it on the flight, what is the soonest I could retrieve it in madrid? A couple hours later?"

"Well usually this thing takes a few days to sort out"

Even better. This entire trip without a suitcase.

So the entire plane ride overseas I was extremely nervous and trying to plan out what I could do. No clothing, no bathing suits, no toiletries, nothing. Just me and my 6 pairs of shoes (in my carry-on).

Flash forward to the baggage claim in Madrid. Fingers cross, Heart racing. And there it was. The most beautiful zebra luggage bag I'd ever seen. People probably thought I was nuts the way I almost hugged my bag as I lifted if off the luggage turnstile. Crazy Americans.

The Plane

The plane from Detroit to Toledo is hands down the smallest plane I have ever been on. Mind you I payed quite a bit for these tickets. They were absolutely not cheap at all. We were escorted from Detroit Metro outside and there it was. 20 passenger mini plane. Think matchbox car for planes. I swore the captain was going to ask us to give him a push start with this thing. The 20 of us pushing it down the tarmack just to get it started. I thought alright only 1 hour on this. I'll be alright.

As I boarded I looked at my seat number. 10 D. Moving down the rows I counted 1.. 2... 3.. 4.. 5.. 6.. 7.. 8.. 9.. wait.. what? Rows stopped at 9.. Well am I not on this flight? I ask the attendant and not even joking, she flips a seat out of the back wall (positioned between the two sides of row 9 and goes, here ya go!

Only 1 hour..

The Friend

Hands down my favorite part of my travels who I got to spend it with.

Sitting in Detroit terminal I hear a "HEY!". I look up to some guy standing not even a foot from me and all I can think is 'Oh lord, we have another creeper".

But I look again and realize its my friend Brady from Michigan State!! When I was a sophomore at state, my roommate and I would always go to Brady's house for tailgate & football games.

We got to talking and turns out he was not only on this flight, but also on my flight to Madrid! He'd been living in Madrid, teaching english, for the past 2 years.

Words cannot explain how grateful I am that he was on this trip with me. Helping me get through customs in 2 countries, with my lost bag, and even got me to the hotel via the subway, which saved me like 30 euro (like 45 dollars)(Yes mom, I took the subway instead of the cab). Not to mention having someone to chat with during layover. I'm sure we'll meet up while I'm staying in Madrid.

I am now off to meet the rest of my tour group and begin my journey here in Europe. Wish me luck!!

Additional photos below
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3rd September 2011

Happy to hear you and your luggage made the first leg of your trip. Keep us posted!

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