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MARTIN

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Have Ticket Will Travel -- Have No Ticket Will Still Travel
 

It takes a lot for me to have a really new experience while traveling.  I’ve been doing this for quite some time.  But, I must say I had a new experience along the way to Fiji.  For the first time ever, I went to the airport knowing that I didn’t have a ticket.  Several things needed to fall into place if I was going to leave as scheduled.  However, sometimes you just have to go with the flow and believe it will all work out.  I can tell you that I had no problem with the flowing thing.  But, I wavered some on the belief part.

Dates were set.  Bags were nearly packed.  There were several last minute things that needed to be accomplished.   Among the items at the top of that list was purchasing the ticket.  The day before I was scheduled to leave, I learned that the embassy staff was still working on that.  Several signatures were required.  I e-mailed a few requested items throughout the day.  But, when I went to bed, there was still no ticket.  I wasn’t worried.  I knew things would work out one way or the other, one day or another.  I sent a good night email to Fiji and said if they needed anything else I would send it in the morning.

Good night.

Well, they needed one more thing and it was kind of a biggie.  The ticket could not be issued until they had a copy of my passport.  I e-mailed it immediately.  But, early morning in Ohio is the middle of the night in Fiji.  The travel agent promised to issue the ticket as soon as she got that little piece of vital information. 

Now, I don’t fully understand how time zones work in that part of the world when you cross the International Date Line.  But, I looked things up on Google.  If the travel agent showed up to work at 8:00 in the morning in Fiji, it would be 4:00 in the afternoon in Ohio.  My flight was at 4:50.  I thought that was cutting it a little close.  I mean, what travel agent shows up to the office at eight on a Saturday morning?
But, I had to act positively even if I wasn’t totally convinced.  I headed to the airport two hours before departure.  As soon as I arrived at the airline desk, a very friendly woman asked if she could help.  Yes, I certainly needed help.  I told her I had an unusual situation.  When I explained, she said I won the prize for the day’s most unique question.  After a computer check, she told me what I already knew.  I had no ticket.  Her best advice was to get a coffee and wait until 4:00 to see if a ticket came through.

I love any excuse for dessert coffee.

I’ve learned that you really need to be flexible when traveling.  If I didn’t leave on the scheduled day, I’d get a ticket for another day.  And, I even had fun back-up plans for the evening – which I fully expected to do.  But, the unimaginable happened at 3:57 P.M. when my ticket was issued. 

I raced back to the airline desk where a man told me to go to one of those annoying kiosks that never wants to cooperate with me.  I really wanted human interaction.  The dang kiosk didn’t want to accept my passport at first.  Then, I got a message that it was too late to check in my luggage.  I already knew that.  That’s why I wanted human interaction!  And, I got it – from the very same friendly woman I spoke to earlier.  (It pays to be nice to people, another good mantra.)  She’d already told people that I’d be coming back.  She made sure I got my tickets as well as putting a rush on loading my luggage.

An investment in the TSA pre-check paid off the first time I used it.  I got to my flight as they were boarding.  And, as I looked down at the luggage loading onto the plane, I saw my very ugly $10 Goodwill suitcase, covered in what looks like a grandmother’s upholstery and simply indestructible, following me to a new corner of the planet.

Who doubted it wouldn’t all work out?

MARTIN
Copyright 2016 by Phillip Martin All rights reserved.