People say that travel is about the journey, rather than the destination, and in a way I get that after the eventful morning I’ve had. As I sit writing this, I am passing the time on the metro from the airport to my hostel in Valencia, finally able to relax at least a little – and feel a sense of pride at getting this far all by myself!
Groggy from my 5am start, I reached Manchester Airport, checked in and headed for security – where I proceeded to wait around 10 minutes because my coat was rejected, only to later find out it never even scanned in the first place. ‘Great,’ I thought, ‘but at least it passes some time.’ I finally got through security and what did I find? My flight delayed by over half an hour – my connection time in Germany a mere 55 minutes. You do the maths.
Fast forward to the plane, and our 08:05 flight is now set to depart at 09:00.
But, as I always believe, every cloud has a silver lining. One of the things I like about travelling alone is that you’re more likely to connect with other travellers, and I felt a certain solidarity at our girls helping girls attitude on that plane. Firstly, I meet another girl heading for the same connecting flight as me. I never got her name, so let’s call her Hope, because that’s what she was able to give me with her company. We form a temporary friendship, an agreement to stick together while we work out what we’re going to do once we miss the second flight. Another woman is sat near us, heading to a different destination but also concerned about her transfer time. Suddenly, we’re all bonding, supporting each other, assuring each other that it’ll be ok. And it’s nice.
We land and Oh My God! The flight hasn’t left yet! But, even with the crew’s lovely decision to give those of us with a tight connection priority disembarkment, it’s still a race against the clock. Together we pelt through the airport, anxiously waiting to get through security. Hope gets through first and as I emerge I see her hesitate just up ahead.
“Keep going!” I yell as I dart after her, trying to ignore the pain in my side whilst weaving expertly around other passengers. We double step as we skid round corners, like we’re in some kind of intense action sequence, periodically stopping random people to point us in the right direction.
As we reach the gate, with mere moments to go, I feel like I could collapse right there from an asthma attack, everything hurting from my sudden burst of athleticism and most likely the pure stress of it all. But still, we’ve made it. Unbelievable.
It’s safe to say, that second flight consisted of me sitting back in relief, casually flicking through my National Geographic Traveller magazine and listening to some calming music. I wasn’t convinced my checked luggage would have also made it in time, but spare clothes and make-up or not, I was going to get here, and that was what mattered the most.
When I finally got off the plane in Valencia, I stood at the belt, waiting to inevitably have to locate an information desk, but then low and behold, in all its tiny grey glory, there she was, my luggage. Despite the whole debacle, we’d both made it successfully – and on schedule.
Now I just have to hope and pray this final stretch works out so we can end on a high – and I can finally treat myself to a vodka or three to recover! I think I deserve at least that much, right?