Sometimes the travel gods like to have a little fun…if you trust them, you might be pleasantly surprised at how quickly misfortune can turn out alright.

I am an easy going traveler, even with kids in tow. I expect delays, I am surprised when some of my luggage shows up, and in awe if it all does (bonus points if my bag hasn’t been ripped open and my pink bra or dirty underwear aren’t making the rounds around the carousal). I hardly look at the arrival time, because really, if you looked at the actual odds, there is probably only one chance in a million you are going to arrive on time.

I think the key to being a happy traveler is being able to adapt and make the most of every situation your faced with…even if it means ending up in a city or even country you never even planned on visiting…and oh yes, this isn’t the first time this has happened…can we say “hello 3 day unexpected holiday in Bangladesh?”

Our flight from Ottawa to Newark was delayed. We arrived in Newark with about 5 minutes before our flight to Fort Myers was supposed to depart. The flight attendant had assured us, and everyone else with tight connections that they’d informed whoever it was they could inform and that it shouldn’t be a problem. Luckily I didn’t believe this, so we made a valiant effort.

Rob swooped up Max, I cradled Freya and we ran. We ran through 2 terminals, hoped on a bus, made a dozen turns and as we approached our gate there wasn’t a soul to be found. I saw a United Agent walking from the gate’s direction and flagged her down. “Has the flight to Fort Myers left?” “Un-huh go find the United Customer Service desk. Someone will help you” she said in a tone so monotonous it was obvious that she gave this advice over and over again each day and we didn’t gain any sympathy from the sweat pouring down our faces and the kids hanging upside down from our arms.

Defeated. We made our way towards the customer service desk resigned to the fact that we’d probably be spending the night in Newark. Rob pointed out a gate for a United Flight to Tampa. Well, I thought, Tampa isn’t too far away from Fort Myers. We walked up to the gate and inquired as to when the plane was leaving in case this was an option worth considering. “Gate closed” the agent said. “Where you going?” “Just missed our connection to Fort Myers,” I said, still panting from my race through Newark. He turned away and started talking to his colleague.

As we started to walk away he turned and said. “Ya wanna go to Tampa?” Rob and I looked at each other and both exclaimed “sure”. “Gimme your boarding passes, grab a seat, there are lots of em”. We grabbed the kids and made a beeline for the flight, slightly stunned that boarding passes that said Fort Myers would get us a ticket to Tampa.

Finally on the plane and breathing normally again, I started to think about all of the things I hadn’t thought about when I said “sure”.

“We have no baggage,” I said.
“and no Car Seats,” Rob offered.
“What about the rental car in Fort Myers?”
“Maybe we can switch our reservation to Tampa?”
“Oh no! My dad’s address and phone number are in my coat pocket, which is in my bag, which is definitely not on this flight”.
“Oh Sh*T! Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea”.

I looked towards the door of the plane which had been shut. I avoided looking at the Jersey Mamma in her pink velour tracksuit who was staring at me in shock that I had said sh*t so loudly in front of my two-year-old and hers. I shrugged my shoulders and said to Rob “time will tell if this was a great idea or an awful idea”.

Out of everything that could have possibly gone wrong, nothing did.

Florida fun

I had a flash of brilliance and my dad’s correct address popped into my head. When we got to Tampa at 1AM we were able to tell the baggage folks that we didn’t have our bags, and no,they were never coming to Tampa…but yes, it would be ever so nice if they could be dropped off at my dad’s place whenever they made it to whatever destination they were destined to go to.

The baggage folks offered to lend us car seats until ours arrived saving us a fortune in our rental car cost.

We were able to switch our car rental and just pay about $25 more to drop the car off in Fort Myers on our way home rather than returning it to Tampa. In my opinion, a cost well worth it.

We managed to find my dad’s place with pretty sketchy directions. We didn’t have the pin to get in through the gates of their community, but Rob hopped the gate and came back with the code before anyone decided to call the cops about some weirdos hanging out with a toddler and an infant and hoping fences in the middle of the night (of course, later we found out that Rob didn’t actually have to hop the gate….there was a door which he could have just opened, but climbing the gate is WAY more adventurous).

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Our bags arrived the next afternoon. Way better than I’d expected. Again…it is all about having drastically low expectations!

In the end we had a great vacation. We survived our first flight with two under two, including a 5:40AM return flight, and what turned into a 1AM arrival time…getting to my dad’s place at 4AM. Freya proved to be a great little traveler and Max…well….luckily on the way home, Freya and I sat pretty far away from Max and Rob so I could pretend that I didn’t know the crazy toddler screaming and disrupting everyone’s morning nap.

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