It’s finally here! After over six months of intensive planning, today is the day I begin my trip around the world. My first stop…? Iceland via a connection in New York.
While the path to getting here was relatively smooth, it wasn’t all rainbows and butterflies. After running around trying to get all of my international vaccines, I thought I was finally all set. Yellow Fever? Check. Typhoid, Cholera, Hepatitis… check. Everything was looking good. My passport doesn’t expire for another two years, so that wouldn’t be an issue…
…Or would it?!
I am a frequent traveler, and about five weeks before my departure date, I realized that I would eventually run out of passport pages while abroad. The last thing I wanted was to be running around frantically searching for the US Embassy in some random country, so I had to chance requesting a second passport and hoping they would send both back before March 1st. All of my visas were associated with my original passport number; I needed both books. So I went out on a limb, paid every expediting fee possible, crossed my fingers and waited.
…and waited. And waited.
Just over two weeks before my departure date, I received an email from the National Passport Center stating I would have to sign XYZ statement in order for them to authorize a second passport. I sent it out for overnight delivery immediately after I received the request and again crossed my fingers. Next day: Undeliverable. The following day: Undeliverable. Finally, on Monday, it was delivered and I breathed a sigh of relief. Long story short, after several frustrating phone calls and possibly having to fly to New Hampshire to pick it up in person, both passports were mailed back to me. Just in the nick of time.
Carry On Only Club
Because of the lengthy nature of my trip, as well as the dozens of flights and connections I have planned, my priority was to pack as lightly as possible. I definitely don’t want to check a bag all over the world, partly for the added cost and mostly for the risk losing it on tight connections. What did I end up using? A small backpack for all of my electronics and camera gear, and a small carry on for everything else I would need. I managed to jigsaw pack everything I needed into these two small bags. It was a proud moment.
I know what you must be thinking, but don’t be so impressed with my packing skills. ? Did I forget to mention that I’m wearing layer upon layers of clothes? Six layers, to be exact, and two coats on top. So, eight total. As well as pants under my snow pants. Anyone that knows me knows that I hate being cold! So if you were at the airport earlier today in sunny Los Angeles and saw a little psychopath walking around wearing 20 pounds of snow gear, that was me!
Hustling around the airport wearing that much clothing and carrying a dense backpack works up a sweat. The combination of moisture and endless zippers caused the metal detector to light up like a Christmas tree when I walked through security. Without exaggeration, there were about 15 little yellow suspicious rectangles that came up all over my screening. I had never seen anything like it. The plus side? I got a full body massage and I didn’t have to even pay anyone to do it! Score!
Purple Mountain Majesties, Above the Fruited Plain
My flight from Los Angeles to New York was as smooth as can be. The weather was crystal clear and provided some of the most stunning aerial views of this beautiful country. Some of the highlights were the gorgeous red rocks of Nevada, snow capped mountains of Utah and the Colorado Rockies, snow covered plains of Wyoming, and the wide open plains of Nebraska and Iowa. As I prepare to leave this country for 10+ months, it was a nice reminder to always appreciate the beauty that exists in our own backyard.
“Concrete Jungle Where Dreams Are Made Of”
When I landed in New York, as soon as I switched my phone off of airplane mode, I learned that my flight to Iceland had been delayed by four hours. Apparently Iceland is experiencing some wicked weather, which is causing major flight delays. This delay was on top of an already long three hour layover. So what to do when you are stuck in New York? Venture out, meet up with a friend, and take in an epic night view of the city. Que será, será.
I made it back to the airport after a quick detour to the city and re-did my whole strip tease through security (this time around the massage wasn’t as good). So here I am, at the present moment, sitting in the lounge as I type my blog. I board in about one hour. The good news is I looked at the seating chart and it appears I will have all three seats to myself – perfect for stretching out and getting a good night’s sleep. The flight delay did not affect my appointment at the Blue Lagoon for tomorrow afternoon, though the weather may not cooperate for an optimal experience. In any case, I’m fully prepared to just go with the flow. That’s all for now. Next stop: Iceland!!