Learn to Go With the Flow.
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.
11/13/2021 05:12:34 pm
First I will say that I feel your pain when when your schedule falls apart, I am someone who likes to follow a strict routine and even when the littlest thing comes up unplanned in it, I need some much required recovery time. I'm sorry to hear about the delays and second round of covid tests. On a side note, what an artist!
11/14/2021 05:46:29 am
I need recovery time too. My process is first to feel really lousy. Then I snap myself out of it and try to make the best of it. I've noticed I can do that in less time these days. In the past, a delay of even one day would have really upset me (four days...forget it). I guess the more you have life upend your plans, the more you can look back and see that you were just fine the last time this happened...and realize you'll be just fine this time too. BUT its taken me awhile to get to this point!
11/13/2021 07:05:03 pm
A flight reschedule is never fun but its especially not fun when you have so many requirements you have to do in order to get to a different country. I sorry that your flight keeps getting delayed, hopefully the weather clears up and it won't have to be rescheduled again so you can get home and see your kids sooner.
11/13/2021 07:20:26 pm
Ugh I feel so sorry that you have to go through all of that. While my family and I have had travel trouble in the past we haven't had anything that bad. I think the worst we've gone through recently is sitting on a runway in Chicago waiting for a terminal to open up so the plane we were on could drop us off, all while our next flight we so carefully planed to take after landing flew off without us. Luckily for us we were able to find another plane to where we were going that same night and I wish you the best of luck in getting a plane home sooner than you now expect.
11/14/2021 01:28:35 am
I'm actually the same way. I love to be organized and plan out my day and weeks . My mom likes to say " You plan your life out " , since I always have a back up plan and a backup plan for that back up plan. Since you have an extra few days what do you plan on doing in those days ? Since I'm nosey, I just have to ask. Did you bring any souvenirs for your family and friends ?
11/14/2021 05:56:58 am
I love my backup plans too! My plan right now is to work. Not fun but I think it will make the delay feel like a good thing if I am really productive. I have a bunch of work to catch up on...I figure getting it done here means more time to play with the kids when I get home. I am currently sitting at a teeny desk in my hotel room with a big cup of coffee, chocolate, and a to-do list a mile long. Wish me luck. I am also going to Christmas shop online. Picking out presents for my kids is cheering me up. And I DID buy whatever gifts I could fit here (on what I thought was my last day in Greenland-ha). I never pass up the opportunity to bring home some unique presents when possible. Here, there is the added benefit that you can support local artists, weavers, carvers, etc. They'll even put a picture of the artisan who created the objects in some stores, so you know who made it. Lastly, Air Greenland also gave us food vouchers good at almost every restaurant in town. They do take care of you when they cancel your flight. So I will enjoy some good food and arctic views with Alice for one more day!
11/14/2021 06:46:25 am
I can't imagine the panic and the frustration of trying to get everything sorted out just for it to fall through again. I understand weather is ever changing and precautions need to be made to ensure everyone's safety, but that sounds like pure frustration to deal with. Hopefully this round will go better, though.
11/14/2021 08:15:22 am
It is pure frustration! BUT...I just learned the wind gusts at the airport in Iceland yesterday were approaching 120 mph. So...I am happy they decided not to fly!
11/14/2021 07:28:41 pm
I would not have like for my flight to have been changed. That would have freaked me out but I think you being calm and collected is the way to go! I have never flown on a plane before so I could not imagine how that would be like, especially in a different indigenous country. It has to be so frustrating to think you have it figured out then having to change plans again. I hope you get home soon to your family.
Your comment will be posted after it is approved.
Leave a Reply.
I am an anthropology professor, writer, researcher and global traveler. In fall of 2021, I led an experiential eLearning project connecting US students (and others) with the people, places, and industries of Greenland. I redesigned a research trip into a virtual field trip for my students who didn't have any Study Abroad options. All of the videos, photos, interviews, and storytelling are still here to enjoy!