From Dream To Disaster In 10 Minutes

Gai Comans disaster can strike without notice
I love travel and have found it to be an amazing internal and external journey. I have learned more about myself through traveling than I have from almost anything else I’ve done.

I was really looking forward to this trip in particular. It was really quite thrilling and exciting, as I was attending The Breast Cancer Wellness Thrive’s Cruise. I would have the opportunity to hang out with other breast cancer survivors, and I would also meet three of the women in person that I had interviewed earlier in the year for the Breast Cancer Survivor Secrets guides.

Travel day was finally here.

The first leg – Sydney to Los Angeles to San Francisco.

I decided to leave Sydney a couple of days up my sleeve, so I could spend some time with my family there. I was looking forward to a fairly uneventful trip. The 14 hour flight from Sydney to Los Angeles was relaxed and peaceful. I don’t tend to work on flights; instead, I use them to catch up on sleep or watch a movie.

On this flight, I watched “The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty”. It was an enjoyable light-hearted comedy, and I had to catch myself from not laughing too loudly and disturbing the people around me.

As I usually do, I landed in Los Angeles, transferred for my flight to San Francisco, and in what seemed like no time at all, I was there. All total, about 24 hours door to door. I marvel at the progress we have made over the years which enable people to travel from all over the world in less than a day. The funny thing about travel to the US from Australia though (with the time difference) is that we arrive before we leave. I left Sydney midday and arrived at 9 a.m. the same day!

Two days later, cruise travel day had arrived 🙂

I was thrilled. I woke up excited and anxious to get going. I couldn’t get a direct flight from Oakland, so I had to take two flights. The first to Phoenix (Arizona), then to Fort Lauderdale (Florida).

I know Phoenix airport well, as I fly in there twice a year for a conference. This time, we had a little hitch and the incoming flight was running 30 minutes late. I only had 50 minutes between connections, and I thought they could easily make up time in the air, so no problem.   We boarded, eager to get started.

Then the dreaded announcement. There was a screw loose on one of the jumpseats (I kid you not) and we would have to wait 30 minutes for a maintenance crew to fix it. All we were left to do was sit there and wonder whether we would still make our connections or not.

We finally landed in Phoenix, and I did miss my connection by 10 minutes. Can 10 minutes change your life? It certainly changed mine that day!

As it turned out, there were no seats on any other flights that day, and it was only three in the afternoon. The best they could do was send me back to LA. From LA, I would catch the 10 p.m. flight to Miami and arrive at 5 a.m. in Miami. Then, I could catch a bus to Fort Lauderdale to meet the ship.

The excitement was quickly draining as I contemplated what the changes would do to my plans to meet with the other women and get a good night sleep before the cruise.

I figured that it couldn’t have gotten any worse, until my bag didn’t turn up on the flight with me. I have been extremely lucky with all the traveling I have done (touch wood), my bag had never been lost. When I enquired, I found out that it would be coming on the 8 a.m. flight. You guessed it, that 8 a.m. flight had to make an emergency landing in Phoenix, as there was a sick passenger.

By that stage, I was almost done. All of my energy was draining quickly, I had had no food or sleep in almost 24 hours. Finally, I got my bag and headed to the shuttle bus area. I could barely hold back the tears when the lady told me I would have to wait two hours for the first bus to Fort Lauderdale.

You will be happy to know that I did make it to the cruise and after a shower, some lunch, and a nap by the pool, I was feeling better. It was an interesting lesson, as I reflected on what I had planned, and then the reality of what I experienced – kind of like life in general.   With the cost of flights and accommodations, I would have been devastated to have missed the cruise.

These are a couple of the reasons why the Empower Living After Breast Cancer event is being held online.   I wanted it to be free, so that everyone can attend, so that you can enjoy it from the comfort of home.




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