Well, that’s it! The dream is over and I’m back to the nitty- gritty of real life.
I know, and appreciate that many of you have been following me on my journey in Arizona, here and on Facebook where I’ve posted quite a bit about my adventures. And I had to laugh as a few of you made comment to me on Facebook (you know who you are), about wanting to know about my travel day home and if it would become a new adventure I may have to write a new travel book about, lol.
Those comments were in reference to my last book, Have Bags, Will Travel, where I share quite a few of my travel escapes and my returns home going through Canada Customs with ongoing issues with overweight luggage. So, although I don’t think I’m going to write another book
yet about this trip, I’m going to describe the dreaded travel day home here, and how I made it home safely.
You all know that I’m a huge believer in the universe and angels, so the first thing I do before traveling, is surround my thoughts with pink light for safety, and push away any scary thoughts of bad things that could happen while traveling. Besides this, I’m always armed with angels. Besides the fact that I know they are always surrounding me (I feel them), I have angel pins, dolls, and coins that I keep with me at all times, especially when traveling.
My most recent purchase while away at the angel store I found was a new pin called, ‘Angel on my shoulder’, which I pinned, naturally, to the top I was wearing, and an angel watching over me coin I bought at The Chapel of the Holy Cross in Sedona, which I keep in my wallet. I truly believe I need all the help I can get while traveling.
So alas, it was nearing the time to leave. I did my airport checkin the night before we left, checked the weather back home (no precipitation expected), finished my two day venture of packing, and went out for our last dinner in Scottsdale with our friends.
The next morning we got up early. Our flight was to leave at 1:45 PM, but we first had to return the rental car to a different area near the airport, and we wanted to leave plenty of time for getting lost and taking wrong exits, which of course happened.
We hired a bellboy from the next door hotel to take our
many bags down the narrow 2 flights of stairs from our condo – a brilliant idea my husband came up with after we nearly put our backs out when we first came, lifting 4 – 50 pound bags plus 2 overweight carryons and a computer bag up them upon our arrival. We were also relieved that the new suitcase we’d purchased on the trip was already filled to capacity and sent home earlier with my step-daughter to save us a fifth bag to lug, and extra baggage fees.
After losing half an hour due to taking wrong exits again at the airport, we proceeded to drop off the car. We then unloaded the car onto 2 carry carts, strolled through to the elevators as we struggled to get them into and off the elevators to the shuttle bus which would take us back to the terminal.
Yes, of course the bags had to come off the carts again and get loaded and unloaded on and off the shuttle bus, back onto new carts for checkin. Thankfully for a couple of tips both ways, the bus driver did the loading and unloading in the already hot desert sun.
We proceeded to checkin, only to find out that our flight was delayed 3 hours due to mechanical errors with the plane. I wanted to kick myself for not checking online for delays before we left, but we weren’t about to leave and start the procedure over again, so we checked in.
While the Westjet agent was telling me about the delay and offering us each food vouchers because of the delay, my husband was eagerly putting the bags on the luggage weigh scale to speed up the process. Gratefully, I didn’t pay attention to the conversation going on between him and the agent weighing the luggage, or I would have been mortified to find that 2 of our bags were almost 10 pounds over weight, thanks to my
trusted portable scale I always travel with that decided to read off bizarre numbers and malfunction when I wanted to make sure we were within the limits before leaving and I just threw up my hands in surrender and said, ‘It will be what it will be”.
The agent had mercy on us and didn’t charge us extra. I guess he figured we had enough to contend with on viewing our cart full of carryon luggage we had to tow with us for the next 5 hours.
We were lucky that security let us keep the cart holding all of our carryon things after being radiated and body searched once again and having to practically redress ourselves and get everything off the security belt and back on the cart.
As we waited and loaded up with food and water with our vouchers, it seemed Westjet had a few other delays in the gates next to us, and inevitably a totally cancelled flight for some of those waiting for their delayed plane. We were grateful that our plane finally came in and took us home after waiting another half an hour to take off, some frightening turbulence we experienced for more than half the flight home, then another half an hour wait on the tarmac once we landed in Toronto, before they’d let us off.
We were originally to land home about 7:30PM, and by the time we walked what seemed about 2 1/2 miles from the airplane to customs with our bags in tow, it was half hour to midnight. I still can’t understand why every single time I return FROM ANYWHERE, be it, Arizona, Florida, Las Vegas, on Air Canada or Westjet, we are always the furthest gate from customs.
Now my anxiety was heightened. Being that it was late, there were hardly any other people in customs other than our plane load. The customs agents would either be hungry for interrogations, or merciful because of how late it was and knowing we came from a delayed flight. I scanned the booths for potential agents I may choose to stand in their line to pass. There were too many women agents working that night, and that scared me. Women agents, for some reason could sense my shopping addiction.
Someone directed us to the customs kiosk where we electronically enter our declaration forms and passports. I’m usually scared of those things because you wait in line for a free kiosk, still have to pass through a customs agent and hand him the printout, and then I’m usually sent on to another agent at the booth lineup anyway for further questioning.
I handed him our declaration, he took it, looked me up and down, didn’t utter one word, and told me to go ahead.
As I continued to walk in hopes of not being stopped again on my path to the baggage pickup, I thanked my angels for getting me home safe and asked them to just please let all my bags be there, and get me the heck out of the airport without being stopped.
As I approached the baggage belt, I did a mental count of all of our carryon items, and a sick feeling of nausea came over me when I discovered that my computer bag was missing. My computer bag with my newest laptop that just finished being paid for on a payment plan, with the journal of the second half of MY HAND WRITTEN newest book I’m writing, NOT YET ENTERED INTO THE COMPUTER was missing! I almost choked.
There was no time to reprimand my husband for leaving the bag on the plane. And I knew I had to be the one to find this bag. First I panicked not knowing how to go about getting this bag and freaking out that it was lost forever.
I began running back to customs with intentions of doing an Olympic run back through the 2 1/2 mile journey to the airplane. Once I arrived back at the custom gate, an officer stopped me and asked what the problem was. I told her my dilemma, and she rerouted me over to the Westjet booth back in the baggage area. The 3 minutes I waited until the woman finished dealing with another customer felt like an eternity. I wondered if the plane had left, the plane was being cleaned and my computer would be kept by some dishonest person, or if it was even noticed still in the overhead.
Finally, it was my turn. I explained my situation to the kind woman who immediately calmed my nerves, picked up the phone and called the plane. Before she could even ask about the bag, someone was telling her that a computer bag had been left there. She got off the phone and told me to go back to waiting for my bags and it would be brought down in a few minutes.
Not 10 minutes had passed and the woman found me at the baggage carousel and brought me my computer bag all in tact. I told her she was an angel and hugged her.
Within minutes ALL of our bags had arrived safely down the luggage chute and we once again loaded a cart with all of our belongings. After the day I had, I prayed the angels just let us pass through the final exit point when handing in our customs card, and we did.
We waited our turn in line for a limo van, yes, I said van because of all of our luggage. The air was cold and biting, but my skin still retained the desert sun in my tanned body and kept me warm.
We finally arrived home in what felt like a very strange environment, like a place where I used to live. But my bed felt very familiar.