Air Force One
Have you ever thought about what happened when the Air Force One and Mr. President is in the air? No? I did not either, and I did not assume to find that out in my life ever. But it happened, and it caused a couple of issues. I have not expected that, especially not during my first solo adventure.
My First Solo Adventure
To see the world with my own eyes was something I wished for since my time in school. Unfortunately, all the time a lot of circumstances held me back. While studying, I had not enough money. Later I had no one who wanted to accompany me or shared the same ideas of traveling. Of course, I was too young and not brave enough ignoring all that and taking off by myself.
It took me into the year 2014, till I made a choice for me and my first solo adventure. After just I recovered from a broken heart, worked in a new job for a while and got again a “No” from friends of mine regarding a special vacation trip. It seems 30 is a kind of a magic number as I was about turning 30 that year. However, I was ready for a fresh start, and I was tired of postponing my wishes and desires just because of “external” circumstances. I decided to stop waiting! I took my life into my own hands and did it. Although my friends did not want to join me on the trip I wanted to do, I kicked myself in my ass and just did it.
To travel alone, I chose the “Big Easy” New Orleans, Louisiana, followed by another two weeks of a road trip through Florida. The city was on my list for a while. Eating some delicious Cajun food and take a boat ride on the Mississippi were things which I wanted to do on this journey. It would be an excellent place to create my very own adventures, I thought. Indeed it was.
So said, so done! I booked the flights, the car, and the accommodations. How excited I was! Almost euphoric! As soon as I finished my first reservation, I had to call my mum, my best friend and I even told my boss immediately what I have done. For the rest of the day, I had such a massive smile on my face. I was full of enthusiasm and happiness that I really would do it. Traveling by myself, no need for compromises, no waiting for someone else. I could not wait for the adventure to begin.
A First Surprise
The time went by, and departure date came closer and closer. One day I got a message from the travel agency that my flight itinerary has changed. The plan was to have a stopover in Chicago without waiting too long but enough time to get my bags checked back to the other plane and found the other gate. The agency told me that this has changed to a stop with about six hours waiting time. No good news, mainly, because it was my first run being by myself with no experience at all. But “no worries,” I told myself. I called the travel agency and asked them to help to re-arrange the flights in a way, that I still meet my schedule. As I agreed a specific time with my host of my apartment in New Orleans, I was delighted and eased to hear that everything is back in order and my original flight was still available. Once again I thought everything is fine and nothing else could go wrong. I also was a bit proud of myself that I managed this situation so well, mainly because it was my first solo adventure. 😀
Flight day has come, and I went to the airport thinking everything is okay. When I checked in successfully, for both, the first flight to Chicago and also for the second one to New Orleans, still, everything looked good. I dropped off my suitcase, passed the security and passport control without any incidents and sat in the boarding area relaxed, calm and full of anticipation.
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Stopover In Chicago
Until the moment I entered Chicago O´Hare Airport, the journey went very well. Besides of this little issue with the changed flight, which I could put back in order beforehand. I was so pleased that I thought I could rule the world. 😀 After I got my bag and checked it in again for the second part of the flight, I went to my next gate. On the way, I got myself a coffee and sat down to read the book I took with me. Reading a good book while waiting is a great way to kill some time and relax.
So I was sitting there in the waiting area, and I looked onto my watch from time to time realizing that the boarding time came closer but nothing happened. Of course, now the time has come to become a little bit nervous. The minutes went by and the time was running, and still, nothing happened. No information, no explanation! I started to become more than just a bit nervous. I tried to find some free wifi to inform my host of the delay so that he could adjust his schedule as well. With the less experience I had in traveling alone, I think it was just natural that I started to panic that I will miss the check-in for the apartment and to sleep somewhere on the streets of New Orleans.
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Waiting For The President
Suddenly, the Co-Captain of our airplane came to us and explained why we could not start the boarding and the take-off to our final destination. He said that he and the crew were waiting for the Captain, who is still in Detroit. As it is not on the other side of the world but the other side of the lake, was wondering what could stop him from flying over to Chicago. Usually, it just takes half an hour to fly from there to the “windy” city. So why the heck he could not only hop over? I could not imagine any acceptable reason. Then the Co-Captain continued his explanation. He found out the reason for the delay. At that time, we were not the only ones who have to wait for our flight. It was because of the President of the United States, Mr. Obama himself (at this time). When he was in the air with the Airforce One on his way to somewhere, no one else was allowed to be in the air. At least, the Co-Captain told us so. According to him, it is not allowed to start or land any airplanes as long as Airforce One is in the air. The president himself was the reason that the Captain could not take-off in the Detroit and land in Chicago. And that is why we could not take-off in Chicago with him or another Captain. No one else could leave the airport by plane. We were waiting for the President.
Every half an hour the Co-Captain came to us and informed us that the situation has not cleared up and we still have to that the President has landed. He repeated this status for the next four hours. Overall we waited there about five hours, till the president arrived and was back on the ground safe and sound. Afterwards, the regular processes at the airport could start to work again. The Captain could fly from Detroit and take over our plane and finally, we were able to board.
Happy End In New Orleans
After a neverending time of waiting, the plane arrived in New Orleans. I shared a taxi with some guys from England, I arrived at my apartment and met the host. Eventually, I fell into my bed exhausted but happy that I survived the first struggles of my journey and to continue my adventure. Five hours later than planned but, at least, an excellent story to tell. The next morning, I was ready to explore the city. I did my boat ride with this old fashion steamboat on the Mississippi and had my first Cajun food. From that point onwards, the journey went on without any further issues.
My time in New Orleans and the following in Florida was incredible. Not only it was my first solo adventure, but I also had so many new experiences; I even met new friends who I still meet again once a year. In these two and a half weeks, I felt a development of myself more significant than in the past ten years.
I would never miss this experience, and I never regret the decision choosing myself and just do it. The decision to take action and make myself happy was the greatest achievement in the past years, for my personality in particular.
In the end, waiting for the president, nevertheless, if the story they told us is true or not, is a funny story and an experience. You will always have anything which makes your travels a bit inconvenient. But if one thing is for sure then, do not let anything holding you back.
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Do you have such experiences? Have you chosen yourself? Hit the comment button and tell me what your most significant achievement in life is?