or 2 actually! Currently en route to Brazil and I am proud to have only brought these bags for carry-on luggage for a nearly 2 week trip. (Yes, I think traveling light for a long period of time earns certain bragging rights). First up is the purse I will be carrying for probably the next year. Jasmine Graphite - Not one to switch bags very often, I find that this is the ideal size for me - large enough for my MacBook Air and iPad, yet not too big where I try to fit my Nikon D90 in it as well. I like that this bag has limits.Safflower Golden Weekender Duffel Bag - This one carries all my clothes (if I didn't pack enough it just means I get to do a bit of shopping), 2 pairs of shoes - Converse and flip flops. As a rule, I wear the shoes that take up the most room, and in this case it's my cowboy boots. And because amykathryn is so awesome, she's offering you dear readers 20% off your entire purchase using the code: AMYTAN
TIP STORY: Yesterday morning was a bit of an adventure. My flight for Miami was at 10:40am, and since I was all ready to go, I called the cab at 8am. It arrived at 8:20am and I arrived to the airport more than 2 hours for my flight. Thank goodness. After standing in line behind a couple people, I walked up to the bubbly woman who asked where I was going. I handed her my passport, we chatted for a bit. And then she asked me if I had any bags to check. Confidently I told her that I am just doing carry-ons and she responded, "That's impressive". I told her the weather was warm there and I quite enjoy traveling light. She was typing some stuff into the computer and then said, "Oh yeah, I have to check your Visa". While she was flipping through my passport, she said likes to roll up her children's clothing so it saves space. I agreed and told her that's how I pack as well. Then she said, "Umm, I don't see your Visa?" And then it hit me. My 5 year Visa to Brazil was still valid but in my old passport. Totally panicked she checked with another agent to make sure it would be ok if the Visa was in my old passport. They went back and forth a bit and then said I couldn't travel unless I had that Visa. Panicking inside, I told her I would need to run and get it and be back. She said to just come straight up to her when I got back and said, "Good luck."
I hustled outside and the first taxi I saw had a girl getting out of the back seat. I asked the driver something like, "CAN YOU PLEASE TAKE ME IN THIS CAB, I NEED TO GET MY OLD PASSPORT?!" To which he slowly said, "OK." And then the girl got out of the backseat and put something in the front seat and he unloaded her luggage. He softly said, "Go ahead and get in." So I did. I told the girl the situation and she gave me a sympathetic look. She was paying with a credit card and the driver asked her if it was okay for him to run it later as I was in a hurry. She said yes, add $10 for tip and she was off. And so were we. About 2 minutes in, we began talking. He started driving this cab 3 months ago and already had picked up a couple who decided he was good luck and asked him to drive them to Vegas. They paid for his hotel and everything and gave him $3000 for the trip. He continued to tell me about how our perceptions become our reality, and we have to be very careful in our thoughts. He talked about love and fear, and positive energy. Turns out he is also a licensed therapist. And in a strange way, even as I type this, it doesn't seem real. He was not telling me things in a hokey way, he was saying in a very calming tone the exact things I needed to hear. He also informed me that in fact it is not legal to pick anyone up from the Departures area at LAX. Which is why told me to get in the car and I picked up on how he wanted me to be subtle about it. He recognized that I was in a dire situation and made the right call. I totally agreed with him and after hearing his recounting of seeing me come out the door with the look of desperation on my face, I guess my plight was obvious. I called my mom (who was at the hospital visiting Ahpo) and asked her if she knew exactly where my old passport was at her house/my office (I only had a vague idea) and she confirmed my guesses.
By the time I arrived to the house, it was 9:15. The cab driver said he would wait and I told him to wish me luck. I unlocked the door and tiptoed in so as not to disturb the doggies (they sleep in a house/crate with the fan on when no one is there. I went immediately to where we both thought my old passport was. Found it! No wait, that is Cindy's. SHIT. So I searched calmly and thoroughly for a bit longer. Then I started taking stuff out of the drawer. And there is was. My old passport, with a post-it note on the cover with 2 holes punched through it: "Please return my old passport for my souvenir. Thank you. 4-27-10".
PHEW. Back to the airport we went. We got there at 9:35. He shook my hand and I truly believed I had met an angel. I got his business card and off I was to the ticket counter. The woman was finishing up with a couple, and she looked up and I think at the same time that I said, "I made it", she said, "I can't believe you made it."
So an hour before my flight, with a bit of time to spare, I went into the Admirals Club (yes, I have been flying with American lately), and made myself a coffee. Completely relieved, I sat down and was convinced that if I hadn't just met 2 angels, then there were more than a few looking out for me from up above.
File this under another travel lesson I will hopefully only do once. Like the time I went to the wrong airport in NYC, because I flew into JFK, I assumed I was flying out of JFK, when indeed it was Laguardia and I ended up missing my flight, racking up $150 for the car service. It worked out just fine and I got to spend another night in NY, but now I always double check my itinerary. I think one of the lessons learned (for those of you who are still reading this!) is that sometimes you are exactly where you need to be, and other times, there are other people who are exactly where you need them to be. Allow love always, don't stop believing, and please learn from my little travel adventure!