One of the great secrets to a happy life (at least for someone like me) is having a great travel agent. I was blessed to stumble into Connie from Utah, who was magical in her abilities to put together complex itineraries. The pandemic hit just as she was retiring and though she agreed to continue with me as a client as a “preferred customer” favor, it seemed like it was not to be.
And so I just spent four hours negotiating online how to get to Madrid, Galicia, Istanbul, Barcelona, Kansas City, San Francisco— and it was not fun. The Turkey segment promised to send an activation code that never appeared in either my phone nor my e-mail and one of the cheap inter-European airlines promised a price that didn’t include a seat, confirmation or baggage without additional hidden costs. And none of them actually sent me anything that can be used as a ticket nor something with a QR code that appeared on my phone after I entered what they suggested. So it’s only a matter of trust and faith that any of these actually worked. Wish me luck!
Then as I mentioned before, the security I used to feel that the workshops arranged were all set to go is far from clear. So if I miraculously actually get on the plane and arrive where I’m supposed to, will there actually be a workshop waiting for me? And are the people clear that I will be reimbursed for the flight cost? Will they pick me up at the airport?
I think I’m happy to resume my traveling and teaching life, but truth be told, it’s pretty sweet to wake up in my home, fix my own meals, stroll through a beautiful park or zip around on my bike, play piano when the mood strikes (which it does every day), go to a school to mentor a teacher and/or teach some kids. Solid. Dependable. Minimum of fuss arranging. No jet lag. Small carbon footprint.
Of course, I’ve long known that paradise doesn’t require getting out of here and getting to there. Yet it often refreshes me to get a change of view, teach a new group of people, re-connect with old friends I’ve made from all the years of traveling, get out of my routine. We’ll see if the pleasure continues to counterbalance the pain of long hours in airports, sitting for 14 hours straight, spending long hours online trying to prepare it all and an equal number trying to arrange it all with the folks on the other side.
Meanwhile, anyone know any fabulous travel agents?