As I am lugging my suitcase to check in for my flight, I learn of a strike by Lufthansa pilots. When I asked the counter agent at the United check in desk if this was going to affect the rest of my flights (they were all on Lufthansa from Denver), I was assured that I would be efficiently re-booked if needed. Not wanting to think negatively, I bravely (and oh-so-gleefully) hand over my suitcase (1 pound under the max weight, I might add) to check that bad boy all the way through to Oslo. As I board one of three flights I'll be taking the next 24 hours, I catch a glimpse of the Lufthansa strike on the news. If only I knew what would happen next...
Needless to say, the strike messed with a lot of travelers that day (and the next couple of weeks as well). In the span of three hours, I was booked and re-booked on 4 different routes and airlines - some getting me to Oslo in 2 days, some getting me there close to when I was originally scheduled. I ended up with a flight from Denver to London to Oslo on British Airways and I had to do a mad dash to the new gate which was, of course, at the opposite end of the terminal. When I get to the gate, I check with the British Airways agent about my suitcase. I'm a little worried that it won't make it to Oslo with me but I am reassured that indeed my suitcase will be thumping down the baggage carousel in Norway and to relax and enjoy the journey.
Long story short - my suitcase never made it to Norway. It stayed in Denver with its treasured contents safely removed from any extreme temperature. And I was left, for 10 days, with just what I wore and what I carried in my trusty backpack.
At first I was a little worried. What I had was good enough for Oslo as the weather was very similar to what I am used to at home but I was scheduled to head up to Tromsø and it's quite colder up there. It was then I realized I had a choice: make due with what I had or be miserable. I chose to make the best of the situation and move on with my exploration as if I had always planned to go with one outfit that I had to wash every night and without boots or a winter jacket.
|Jeans, a sweater, a hat and a light jacket. This is what I had.|
Because I did not have a suitcase weighing me down, I was able to walk for miles without killing my back or hands while searching for my lodging in Oslo. Because I didn't have two-ton Tessy with every conceivable convenience thump, thump, thumping behind me, I was able to navigate easily the very efficient public transit system in Oslo. Because all I had was was carry-on, I was able to breeze right through to my gate for my flight to Tromsø and I couldn't believe how unencumbered I was going through customs on my way home. Yes, there were some things I couldn't do in Tromsø because I did not have appropriate attire but it was just a small portion of my overall trip. AND I HAD THE BEST TIME EVER!
|In Tromsø. Glad I wore a sweater with a huge collar.|
Yes, I would've LOVED to have my boots and my coat for my Arctic Circle portion but I didn't. So I made due. And I learned that I can have an amazing time with nothing more than a carry-on. I am going back to Norway in December and this time I will intentionally travel with just a carry-on. Oh, and I'll have my boots. I can't wait.
What is a lesson you learned while traveling? Did it impact your travel philosophy?