Going with the flow…

Two weeks ago I finished packing for an adventure to Panama. We would be flying standby.  It is kind of like hitchhiking, but with airplanes. We knew that we may spend days in airports to get to our final destination therefore we decided to only pack one carry-on each.  This way we would at least have the luxury of brushing our teeth and changing our cloths whenever we needed.  Also our luggage wouldn’t end up in a destination beyond our reach. From a previous post you may know that due to our own fault we missed our first flight, but were able to hop onto the next flight going in the right direction. Unfortunately, our first delay was only one of many.  We weren’t able to get on a midnight flight out of Salt Lake City and spent the night in the airport.  We practiced a bit of yoga before curling up on the floor for a few hours of sleep.

Yoga in the SLC airport

Sleeping in the airport is a skill.

It was a relief to board the 6:30 am fight to Atlanta.  We were even rewarded with first class seating…from sleeping on the cold floor to heated moist towels and mimosas is quite a jump.We landed in Atlanta with tons of excitement about our final plane into Panama. Five hours later as we sat at the airport gate we discovered the standby list had eighteen people on it and we were numbers sixteen and seventeen.  When the plane took off we were numbers seven and eight.  Since the flight to Panama only leaves once every 24 hours we decided to get creative.  Three flights a day leave for Costa Rica, so we figured we had three times the chances of getting into Central America via Costa Rica.  Once there we could cross over the border into Panama via a bus.  This plan is evidence of our unwavering positive attitude and the effects of eating too much airport food.

The Delta gals, in Atlanta, were amazed by our friendly disposition in light of our travel challenges.  They even got us a hotel for the night.  The bed was outrageously comfortable and I awoke with new hope.  I knew I would never make a living as a fortune teller as I watched yet another missed flight disappear into the distance.  Mid-day we were still grounded and we decided to reevaluate our options after refueling in the food court.  Between Stu and I we downed coffee, a fruit smoothie, veggie wrap, squash soup and of course donuts!  OK, now we were primed for clear thinking.

It was time to make some drastic decisions….we were in Atlanta, if we rented a car where could we go?  As we discussed the possibilities we realized several realities. One, we were not going to make it to Central America in 2011. Two, we were going to have to forfeit our deposits to our Panamanian accommodations. Thirdly, and most important, we had all our luggage with us, the sun was shining and our time was our own for the next two weeks!  We just couldn’t get too down in light of that grand reality!

Then it hit us, our close friend Louie moved to Florida almost two years earlier and we hadn’t seen him since.  Keep in mind when Louie lived in Boise he was a part of our daily lives. So we jumped on a flight to Tampa with no hitches.  We walked out of the Tampa airport and breathed unfiltered air for the first time in three days.  Less than an hour later Louie greeted us with open arms and tears in his eyes.

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The days that followed were full of sunshine and true friendship.  We biked through the Florida jungle, kayaked in alligator swamps (we saw one way too close) and went sailing on the bay.  Best of all was seeing our friend so happy in his new life and being welcomed with such love and generosity.

Stu and I flew home without any problems (guess it is harder to get out of Idaho than it is to get in).  We spent the last days of 2011 being as sloth-like as possible.  Our trip may not have gone at all like we planned, but it turned out better than we could have ever hoped.  With every challenge we rose to the occasion with resilience and hope.  What more could we ask for?

Sailing with Stu


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8 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. What a cool story! I love how you were so zen about the whole thing and didn’t stress out and had a great time despite the turn out being very different from what you had counted on.

  2. Thanks for sharing your adventure and way to make the most of it! Happy New Year. I miss you and Stu and Idaho but I’m not going to lie, I kind of love this place. Antarctica will forever be home.

    • I am so glad that you are enjoying Antarctica, but I hope Idaho will also remain your home for part of the year. I miss you tons and regret not spending more time with you while you were in Boise. I have tons of camping plans for us when you get back. Awaiting your return.

  3. Way to take ‘change’ by the horns and make a great adventure out of it!

  4. Hi Angela and stu!

    Great blog about your trip. I had a wonderful day on Siesta Key Beach with you. BTW it is
    Is consider to be one of the best beaches
    In the world.

    Hope to see you again soon.


    • Mark,
      We also enjoyed seeing you and wish you only the best for 2012!

  5. Enjoyed reading your story and meeting stu and you in Fl

    Mark rieke

    • So glad you are home and recovering. Right now I sure wish I could get another dose of Fl sunshine. Best wishes from up north.

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