On Travel and the Unexpected: Journey to Norway

As I write, I’m sitting in bed in Norway while my friend works at an elderly home. I am without my suitcase and waiting for the sun to rise for the few hours it will. I’m warm and comfortable and there is a full fridge, cabinet of alcohol, and an Xbox upstairs.
After finals, I said goodbye to many of my one-semester exchange friends at OU and then headed out for a journey of my own—to celebrate Christmas in Norway with my roommate, one of my closest friends. What was planned to be a 24 hour travel stretched to 4 days due to inclement weather, engine problems, and more. The first problem began at the airport in OKC—our flight to Atlanta was delayed so much that we would have little possibility of making our connection to Amsterdam. Running as fast as we could, we still couldn’t make it. Two hours on the phone and three hours in line later left us with a strange rebooking, due to Delta’s overbookings through Atlanta airport—the next morning we’d fly to Seattle to catch a direct flight to Amsterdam. We spent a complimentary night at the Holiday Inn and arrived at the airport the next morning, ready to continue but already quite exhausted. The flight boarded about 20 minutes late, but we were assured that we’d still make the connection. However, once onboard, we were informed that there was an indicator light on and that the plane would pull back to the gate for a maintenance inspection. We now were running too late to make the connection, on a plane ready to fly across the entire country. We had no way of getting off of the plane and had to sit through the six hour flight—delighted at least that there were movies. After landing, we talked to more Delta staff, who rebooked us on the next day’s flights (there was only one per day out of Seattle), but were denied a hotel room until we talked to the desk upstairs, where we were given a room at the Hilton and some food vouchers. What better way to celebrate this predicament than spending all the vouchers on lobster tail and champagne at the Hilton? Worn out but quite comfortable in the Hilton’s plush beds, we prepared for the long day of travel ahead—a 10 hour flight to Amsterdam, three hours waiting in the airport, 2 hours flight to Bergen, 3 hours boat ride, and then a bus to Flekke. After all of this, when we landed at Bergen, my bags had not arrived and still haven’t been delivered, meaning many Christmas gifts for my friend’s family are MIA. BUT I am comfortable, safe, and surrounded by good people, beautiful nature, and a pitch black sky: I suppose the lesson learned is to stay calm but to be adamant when talking to airline companies, to be thankful if traveling with a companion, and to be ever-awed by the world around oneself no matter the circumstances with which you came to be there.

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