On my first trip to the British Isles, we literally pulled a Neal Page and Del Griffith. We took a plane, then a train, and then an automobile (actually, three automobiles) to travel all over the British Isles.
(If you’ve never seen the classic Planes, Trains and Automobiles, you’ve really missed out on life. Check out the clip below to get an idea of what I mean.)
It was eye-opening, exhilarating and gray-hair-inducing all in one crazy, no-not-that-way-that’s-on-coming-traffic-OMG-we’re-gonna-die ball of fun.
I didn’t subject anyone to my foot odor on the plane, but I did wear slip on shoes that had zero tread, so walking down the slick, strangely hilly terminals in Heathrow was more like sliding and slipping every which way (while my boyfriend pretended he wasn’t with me). This was the first impression I made on England.
I didn’t catch the arms of my jacket on the seat while driving, but I did get Magnum bar all over the seat belt.
We didn’t catch the car on fire, but we did lose a hub cap on the motorway (oh, so, that’s why people zip tie their hubcaps on).
We may not have gone full on Neal and Del, but we did have quite a few traveling mishaps and adventures.
I am going to organize my retelling of some of my favorite transportation stories from my first trip to the British Isles as a three part series. It’ll be a far easier read that way, because ain’t no one got time to read 5,000 words in one sitting. You’re welcome.
Surprisingly, my favorite plane story does not involve the man picking his long brown nails the entire nine-plus hour flight to London, but it does involve flying out of London, delicious karma, and plane poop problems.
When we got to Heathrow after three glorious weeks spent all over the British Isles, my travel partner paid $100 to get onto the same flight I was on. His flight didn’t leave for a good five hours, so he felt it was an investment well spent to not have to sit in a packed airport for hours.
Had he known beforehand who his seat companions would be he probably would have taken the shoulder-to-shoulder seating areas, the overpowering perfumes from Heathrow Boutique, and the endless boarding announcements that were never for him over his Flight From Hell.
When we got onto the plane and found our respective seats, I was pretty pleased to find a nice-looking middle-aged British couple as my seat mates. This was pretty much the ideal situation as my last seat mate, as we all know, chose the crusties under his nails for his in-flight snack instead of the usual dry roasted peanuts.
My friend, however, hit the airplane lottery and appeared to have no seat mates.
Time and again, people would come down the aisle, pause a couple times to deduce whether or not their seats were nearby, and then keep going past his row.
I tried everything to get him to let me sit with him. I offered up my favorite souvenir- my Odd Irish Socks and in pure delirious desperation, I even offered to pay the $100 he forked over to get on my flight.
He flat-out refused as he rudely spread out and (likely) farted all over all three seats to mark his territory.
Finally, I gave up and returned to my squashed seat, but I kept looking back to give him my saddest puppy dog pout, but he just acted like he didn’t see me as he haughtily made a bed out of his jacket, backpack and more than his fair share of airplane blankets.
Right before the door was shut and locked, a harried woman and man and their screaming toddler made their way to the only remaining seats on the plane- the ones my friend had already set his stuff up in like he was some kind of Economy King.
When I looked back at him, his face was pure karma in action. He looked just like every last dream he ever had had been demolished.
Not only did his luck majorly run its course and he wouldn’t be able to stretch out the whole flight, he had to sit right next to a kid who was blowing snot bubbles out of his nose as he screamed.
Even better, SO MUCH BETTER, the toddler barfed the.whole.way to Toronto.
I guess that’s what you get when you don’t share. I more than enjoyed that prompt delivery of karma.
Later on during our travels home from London, we were diverted to an abandoned landing strip in the Middle-of-Nowhere, Colorado due to a severe thunderstorm in Denver.
I was quite disappointed, because I really, really, really needed to use the restroom.
After the first hour of just sitting on an airstrip surrounded by cacti and tumbleweeds, I started to get desperate.
It was pretty dire because it was getting really close to go-time, but because they had to turn the AC off, I’d have to be that person who takes a huge, toxic shit on a plane with no AC or ventilation.
I kept lamenting, praying and cursing under my breath.
Finally, after mentioning I needed to poop about 87 times, my friend loudly declared, “OMG. I’m sick of hearing you have to poop. There is a bathroom right over there!”
As he so helpfully pointed, everyone on the plane looked to the bathroom and then to me.
Needless to say, I didn’t even get out of my seat. I thought murderous thoughts the remainder of the trip, and because I held it for too long, I got majorly constipated and didn’t even end up going until I was home.
I could have died.
After the hellish 17 hour trip from London, we finally landed in Reno at two in the morning, and I discovered that my bags had been lost. It was the proverbial cherry on top of the all-too familiar shit sundae.
This is how I ended up having to wear a pair of my mom’s war-torn Hanes (you can read more about that here).
Next time, we will explore train travel. Hint: it’s just as fun as air travel.
So, tell me about a memorable time you had in the air. I bet you’ll all have some doozies! I can’t wait.