Julia Gabbert

            I spent the majority of my summer thinking about Scotland. The expense of the trip—a major concern—mostly revolved around the cost of the plane ticket that would fly me across the pond. And so for weeks I checked several different websites, taking note of prices as they fluctuated further away and closer again to $1000. When the price finally dipped low enough that I felt I was getting the best deal, I quickly booked. From then on, the plane ride was mostly what I wondered about when daydreaming about my first overseas adventure.

            St. Louis to Chicago. Chicago to London-Heathrow. London-Gatwick to Glasgow. I knew where to go and what to do—in theory. I had never left the country, let alone by myself, so naturally the first time I tried I had to go by myself, without any help from anyone I knew.

            The first bump in the road occurred before I even left St. Louis. My flight was being delayed for some unknown reason—it was raining (for the first time in weeks), but not enough to hinder a plane, I wouldn’t think. Regardless of the reason, an hour in St. Louis would make me an hour late to Chicago. I would miss my flight out of Chicago, so I would have to rush between airports in London. It would be close, but I was hopeful.

            Fast-forward nine hours. I got off the plane in London feeling great. I had only slept about three hours, but I was in London! By myself! I was in the land of Harry Potter and the 2012 Olympics. But I had to act fast, because I had a semi-long bus ride to the London Gatwick airport and not a lot of time to get there. So I headed to the baggage claim area. I found my terminal and waited for my bag. Then I kept waiting. And after I had already seen the same bags three times, I waited some more. No sign of the purple suitcase I borrowed from my sister-in-law. When I came to terms with the fact that I was going to miss my connecting flight and that my luggage wasn’t coming, I asked for help.

            The employees at the airport were very helpful. They were confused as to why my luggage wasn’t there—their computers were reading that the bag had arrived on schedule—but they rearranged my flight so I could catch one out of London-Heathrow instead of Gatwick, so I wouldn’t have to travel across the city. One employee assured me that my bag probably just couldn’t be transferred between flights because of the delay, and it would probably be on the next flight. Probably. So I got on my next flight to Glasgow without only a backpack full of books and my baby blankie.

            Once in Glasgow (only an hour later than originally scheduled), the employees at the airport told me a similar story: ‘we’re not sure why your bag isn’t here, but it will probably come in on the next flight.’

            Long story short, I wore the same outfit three days in a row. I had to borrow shower supplies from the ladies I’m sharing this trip with. And I had to toss and turn at night questioning the fate of my new Merrell hiking shoes. As a reward for my stress, though, I am officially a world traveler. So I guess it was all worth it.

Amy Alderson
8/7/2012 03:30:36

Oh man! That really sucks about your luggage. I hope you got everything back ok. My trip to Scotland last year was my first trip aboard and by myself. I was super nervous and excited, but I knew I could do it and do it all b 

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Amy Alderson
8/7/2012 03:38:23

So this site is stupid and keeps cutting me off and I didn't want to retype everything for a third time...My group had so much trouble posting and hated trying to find Internet connections anywhere in Scotland! Anyway, I knew I could do it all by myself and feel so accomplished now that have returned from aboard with so much travel under my belt! You will cherish your Scotland experiences forever, even the bad ones. Soak in as much as you can and keep traveling!

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Jacqueline
8/7/2012 09:51:56

I love that your backpack contained nothing but books and your baby blankie!! And I'm impressed by your solo world traveling...even though you're my little sister, you seem so much older now!

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