Suitcase Debacle or A Blessing in Disguise

In November 2016, I had a trip to the wilds of Norway scheduled.  Because I was going in the winter and I remembered the chilliness of Finland, I packed.  A.Lot.  I had sweaters and long johns and wool socks and jeans, scarves, gloves and hats and winter boots and a heavy winter jacket.  Even though I am not a clothes horse and do not feel it necessary to have a different outfit for each day (not even a different outfit for every other day), I packed enough to change twice per day and not duplicate.  In addition to basically my entire dresser, I also packed a bunch of stuff that I thought I MAY need.  You know, power cords, extra mittens, a light jacket, adapters, a second pair of shoes, hand warmers, feet warmers, etc, etc, etc.  I turned into one of those people who I laugh at for packing 2 suitcases for a weekend adventure.  It wasn't my proudest moment.

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?

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