How To Make An Intercontinental Journey In 24 Hours Or Less

This entry was posted by on Wednesday, 9 January, 2008 at

As in: I wonder how to make an intercontinental journey in 24 hours or less?

Have I ever mentioned that I hate flying? I seem to have no trouble when traveling with other people, but when I go alone…

I woke up sometime between 3:00 and 4:00 am in London (03:00-04:00 UTC). This was about an hour earlier than I planned, as I had discovered that one work-around for jet lag is simple insomnia. I departed at 04:45 and traveled by bus, then train to Heathrow Airport where I boarded a plane which left the gate as scheduled. We proceeded to sit first on the runway, later near (but not at) a gate for two and a half hours while one of the engines was repaired.

At approximately 9:00 pm PST (05:00 UTC), with three delayed and one canceled flight, four waits in lengthy customer services lines resulting in three reticketings, and only two actual plane rides later, I arrived at LAX with my vehicle in long term parking 50 miles away at Ontario International Airport and my suitcase in any number of possible places depending on who I asked.

As I considered my options at this point (taxi, train, rental car), I eventually confronted one of my greatest insecurities: I would have to call someone for help. In fact, I feared, at 9:00 on a friday night, I would most likely have to call many people before I could find someone who was willing and able to make a 3-4ish hour round trip to one of my personal Top 3 least favorite places on earth. Fortunately, I was (reasonably) successful in this task.

Eventually, around 1:45 am PST (09:45 UTC), I arrived in the rain, in my own vehicle, to -get this- a house with no power. (And, curiously, a book tucked under my doormat, the cover of which bares the endorsement, “‘Here’s a book for anyone who has truly loved another person.’ –Today’s Christian Woman“. Why, that sounds like me in nutshell, does it? (Actually I did not discover the book until leaving again for work a short six hours later, but I presume it was there at the time.))

Total elapsed travel time: 29 hours almost on the nose. Which is surprisingly one of my better times. I remember one time a girl in my Bible study was complaining about how it had taken “all day” for her to get home from Ohio, and I believe I exchanged a sort of “I won’t say anything if you don’t” look with my friend who had recently returned from Rwanda/Uganda.

My one consolation through this was that instead of spending the night in a mountain cabin as I usually do on the weekends when I work (since I had clearly missed my shift), I would get to sleep in my own bed… er, couch. (Maybe it’s time I bought a real bed?)

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