The plane ride
Finally, I was home. I dropped my bags to the floor with a sigh. My house was a mess, there was a stack of mail the size of a mountain but I was home. After sitting at the kitchen table for a minute, I opened the fridge to get something to drink. It was empty. Right, I still had to do the grocery shopping. So I grabbed my bags and dragged myself upstairs. After loading the washing machine I took a hot shower. It made me feel somewhat better, being clean for the first time in days. I sat down on my bed, thinking about the plane ride home. Well, I should say rides. What should have been a short trip from Iceland home, turned into an aeroplane disaster.
I got on the plane in Reykjavík but apparently, something went wrong and the plane was redirected to Nuuk, Greenland. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a lovely place. I know since I had to spend a weekend there while the aeroplane problem was being sorted. Then we got the news we could leave but you guessed it, problems again. This time we were flown to Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. I did the famous Lighthouse Route and got to scrap that off my bucket list, but I really wanted to go home.
After a quick talk with the airline, it was obvious the troubles weren’t over. I demanded to get my money back and told them I would find my way home on my own. I rented a car and headed for the border. There I spent a wonder-filled afternoon trying to explain what happened to me in the last few days so border patrol would let me into America. After checking with my unfortunate airline they gave me the green light and provided me with a coupon book for all kinds of restaurants, so nice of them.
Being already here, I took the scenic route along the Maine coast, seeing the sights described in my favourite books. I stayed in a mediocre highway motel, it was dirty but at least I slept. At Portsmouth, I crossed into New Hampshire and a little later I rode into Massachusetts. Now that I was in the area I had to go visit the town of Salem before dropping off my rental car at the airport. Just my luck, I could only get a ticket with a layover in Paris. That’s what you get for just showing up at the airport without pre-bought tickets. Six and a half hours on a plane and I was on European soil again. I had time to grab a quick breakfast in downtown Paris, with a real croissant and a cup of coffee, before returning to the airport and finally going home.
A week later than anticipated but I was finally home. Not exactly, I still had to get my car and drive to my actual home, but I was in my own country again! When I finally found my car in the vast airport parking I still had almost four hours to drive ahead of me but then I would be home.
Sitting on my bed I remembered how good I felt when I saw the familiar surroundings of the national park doom up in the distance. People easily say that you get some extra days of vacation and that you should enjoy the extra time, and I did but at that moment you also really want to go home. I get dressed, grab my keys and head out for groceries. Nothing fancy, just enough to get me through the next few days without too much hassle. Tomorrow was Friday and my boss had been kind enough to tell me to come back to work on Monday, so I could rest a bit from my aeroplane hassle.
On my way home, I drove past my parents to pick up my dogs. I was very happy they offered to babysit them at the last minute. I would have hated myself to call the dog pension and explain that I wasn’t coming back just yet. Now my parents were there to comfort my dogs and give them an extra treat. Both puppies were ecstatic to be reunited with me again and it took them the rest of the ride to calm back down again. Back home I cleared away my shopping, made a cup of tea and started on the pile of mail. Mostly bills and advertisement, luckily no more surprises. When I finally cleared away all my other stuff, I opened up my laptop and started the tedious task of sorting my photos. I had spent three glorious weeks in Iceland, driving through the country and photographing every little bit of it.
I had saved up for this trip for a while, so I went fully prepared. Camera and different lenses, enough memory cards to photograph everything, a travel diary to write down all my adventures. As I had no idea of knowing my vacation would get extended with a week, I was very happy to have my laptop with me. I could clear off one of my memory cards for the pictures I took in Greenland, Canada and America. It was my plan beforehand to make a beautiful photo book with all the pictures I had taken, and I was still planning to do so. Seeing all the photos I had taken from the time after leaving Iceland, I decided to make a second book, reserved for my trip after my vacation. I just knew it would be a good story to have that book on my coffee table.
Four hours later I wasn’t even through the first quarter of my photos but my eyes were too tired to continue. I threw my dinner in the microwave, ate it, walked my dogs and went to bed. Oh, how good it feels to lie down in your own bed again. The dogs jumped on the bed and curled up against me and I had the best sleep in weeks. Waking up in the morning, I felt so much better I took a long walk with the puppies. After that, I made myself a big English breakfast coupled with a big mug of coffee and opened up my laptop. Seeing my pictures reminded me that not only my trip home had caused problems. Even in Iceland, I hit some bumps in the road. Quite literal, I might add.
The jeep I had rented was capable of all kinds of terrain but the speed bumps in Reykjavik proved too much for the car. It was only the second day of my trip and I had to return to the rental company. Lucky for me they didn’t make a fuss and provided me with a new one. Don’t get me wrong, I had a blast on the trip, even though a couple of things went wrong. I slipped and fell on my bum, sliding down a glacier. At least I kept my camera in one piece by taking the worst with my face while guarding the camera. Slowly I saw the storm enter my pictures as I went through them. And although it was cold and very windy, it made for some very beautiful photos. Already I had some candidates for a canvas, which was one of the reasons I took this trip.
At the end of the weekend, I had both my books done. I also had two big canvasses for over my sofa and in my bedroom. Now I only had to wait for them to arrive. Then I made a selection of photos to have on my phone so I had something to show my colleagues. Now all I had to do was update my website with my stories and pictures and I was ready to return to normal life. The first thing my colleagues asked when I came into the office was if I had forgotten to take the plane back. I spent the rest of the day explaining to everyone how my trip ended. The last person was my boss. But he had a small surprise for me, he had signed me up for a convention. Where, you ask? Boston!