I am not someone who likes last minute changes to the plans. I like to know ahead of time where I need to be and when. International travel often demands I surrender my love of clear, consistent schedules. Above all else, international travel begrudgingly forces me to learn to go with the flow.
Last night we found out our flight from Greenland to Iceland was rescheduled from Saturday morning till Sunday morning. That small change unraveled all travel plans, as other flights scheduled to get Alice and I home were now impossible to catch (and not part of the same airline). It also meant our COVID tests, carefully scheduled to ensure time for results but not too much time due to requirements, were void. We tried not to despair, but went to work fixing the travel itinerary now in shambles. I rebooked my flight from Iceland to the US. Alice canceled her car and hotel in Reykjavik since her one day layover had now disappeared. We redid our entry paperwork required to go to Iceland so that the government forms reflected our new arrival dates. And this morning, while it was still dark, I put on every piece of clothing I brought to wait in line for the testing center to open. Needing as much time as possible to get the results before the staff stopped work for the weekend required I brave frigid temperatures...and the mighty winds that downed all planes today. I was successfully in and out of the testing center and went back to pack up and unthaw. Good. Everything was fixed.
Not so fast. We were called by Air Greenland this afternoon to inform us of another delay...an extra day and a half. We are now expected to land in Reykjavik Monday night after all flights to Scotland and the US depart. That puts me in the US late Tuesday...but after flights from Boston to home have departed. Oh and that second round of COVID tests - no good again. Same for the entry paperwork into Iceland. Quite truthfully...I have no idea when I will be home. My best guess is Wednesday, four days after planned. An extra four days till I can hug my kids.
Another four days from this kid is tough to swallow...(don't worry, we'll review North American geography when I get home)
We were moved to a hotel paid for by the airline (much appreciated, Air Greenland) and here we sit. Once again, I am forced to go with the flow. Accept the chaos. I seem to have a knack for difficult return itineraries, when my family, my home, and my coffee maker are calling to me so strongly. But as I've said before, working internationally forces you to adapt. You have to work out the tough situations. Accept the unknown and have confidence you'll get to where you are headed...eventually. A bit like life, I suppose. Messy, unpredictable, but ultimately heading in one direction or the other. And when travel (or life) throws you a curveball, you stay calm, you breathe deep... and then you find yourself a good bottle of local beer and wait it out.
I am an anthropology professor, writer, researcher and global traveler. This fall, I will be recording a research trip to Greenland as a virtual field trip for my students (and anyone else interested). Join us as we travel to the Arctic and learn about life in the far north.