Lost luggage is a fact of life for most travellers. It has rarely happened to me but it did once, at the worst possible time.
We had just arrived in Ireland, and I was given assurance that they would find my bags any day, and that they would be delivered to me. We moved on to stay in a perfectly enchanting castle (this is one of very few package deals I like – flight, car, and castle stay package for Ireland).
I was making do with the few clothes I had with me, and on the third day, I was coming down the upper stairs of the castle, and had stopped to take some photos out of a small turret window overlooking the beautiful grounds. I turned to see T coming up the lower stairs, and was about to tell him something exciting I had just discovered.
I thought I was at the bottom of the stairs, so I stepped directly down, only to pitch forward, flying through the air, and landing, with twisted ankles, on my stomach.
I broke my ankle! At first we thought it was only a bad sprain, but it was extremely painful. The next day the ankle was swollen to quadruple its size, so it was off to the doctor.
Now it’s bad enough to break something, but to do it in a country that is perpetually raining was a bit challenging, to say the least.
Hopping or limping on one leg, so as not to get the temporary cast wet, was exhausting! It was even more of a challenge without clean clothes. To make matters worse, shopping for new clothes with a broken ankle, hopping through puddles, was even more distressing. But as the Irish say, “It could always be worse!”. At least we had a car.
T lost his luggage in Tonga. Unfortunately, when we arrived in Nuku’alofa, the main town, it was extremely hot. T was wearing long pants and was sweating profusely. We quickly found our way to the town centre to buy him some shorts and cool shirts. The shop we found had plenty of men’s clothes, but they had no air conditioning, so it was twice as hot inside as outside, while the tiny curtained dressing room was stifling. As I brought him different sizes to try on, a red-faced, sweat-dripping, ready-to-burst face would glare out at me! I thought he was going to pass out. But he survived, and at least had a few changes of clothes.
A few days before we left Tonga, having been there a month, we found out that his luggage had sat in Fiji the whole time, and was now in an old warehouse in Nuku’alofa. After much waiting and asking and waiting, we were shown to the warehouse and picked up his suitcase. Sadly, his other good SLR-type camera had been stolen out of his suitcase. A good lesson – keep electronics, cameras, and anything especially valuable, with you as carry on.
You cannot expect to have everything go smoothly and perfectly when you travel. Stuff happens. It’s all just part of the experience, and it shows what you are made of – a person’s true character is revealed under stress. People who flip out and throw tantrums when things don’t go their way, may not be “made to travel”. And as they say in Ireland, “Aw sha, it could always be worse!”
P. S. My luggage was waiting for me when I got home a month later. Apparently it had travelled all over the world.