After spending a few miserable weeks in the states nearly working myself to death Ubering every single day just to keep us afloat, I booked tickets to Ireland. Don’t get me wrong. I loved visiting friends and family but I felt out of place back in the states. There is no doubt in my mind that travel has changed me. My mind has been opened and there is absolutely no going back for me. I am not the same person I once was and neither are the girls.
We were supposed to be heading to Japan with tickets booked to Seattle and from there we were supposed to take a military Space A flight over to Japan. However, when I called the morning of our flight to Seattle to ask about seats available to Japan, I was told that there would most likely not be any more seats available for retirees like myself the entire summer! This was entirely my fault due to my lack of research. I had a sinking feeling that getting on the plane to Seattle would be a big mistake. With very little money and absolutely no backup plan, I had to get things figured out quickly. We had been staying in our good friends’ house for the past few weeks, and I couldn’t justify staying with them longer. Something inside my soul kept screaming for me to go to Italy. Amoya, you have to get to Italy!
10 years ago I fell in love with Italy- the people, culture, wine, and food, of course, stole my heart. My friend and I sat in her front yard feverishly searching online for flights but everything was way out of my single mom budget. The cheapest tickets we were finding to Italy were around $1300 and that was still going to be 21 days from then. I knew once I got to Europe, flights would be super cheap to get around so we shifted our focus to just getting us anywhere in Europe.
The first thing we did was look on Skyscanner for the cheapest tickets to anywhere in Europe from any state. We compiled a list of the top 5 states that would be the cheapest to fly from and then looked at which one of those states was cheapest to get to from Austin, TX, where I was. Rhode Island was the winner. It would only cost me $294 to get to Providence, Rhode Island and leaving the following day from there we could fly to Shannon, Ireland for only $381.88 putting our total cost at $675.88. Holy shit! This was really happening. It felt good. It felt right so I hit book! We were seriously heading to Europe in just two days. I knew absolutely nothing about Ireland. And in the two days leading up to our first flight, I didn’t do any research. This would prove to bite me in the butt later on.
It was early in the afternoon when our ride dropped us off at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport for the start of our Europe adventure. As soon as we arrived, I realized I’d forgotten my phone charger. Thankful that it was not too important like passports, we headed in. Almost immediately, we felt the strain on our backs from our super heavy Osprey backpacks. All our previous travels were done with suitcases. Typically, we would check the big suitcases and be done with it. However, for this world schooling adventure, I decided to switch to backpack only. Each of us squeezed everything we owned into 3 backpacks. We had such a hard time minimizing even more than we already had which is why our backpacks were so dang heavy. Still, I am happy with my decision to buy the Osprey Porter Pack and the Shake Pak packing cubes I ordered. Y’all! Packing cubes are a game changer. If you do not have any yet, you can buy some here right now! We were able to fit so many clothes in our backpacks because of these packing cubes. Plus, all of our things are super organized now too.
For some reason, there was a pretty long wait to get our boarding passes. I didn’t take into account that it was the beginning of summer because we normally travel throughout the school year so we normally don’t deal with crazy long lines. When we were almost to the front of the line, an airport employee asked if he could cut in front of us with the disabled elderly woman he was assisting. Of course, I immediately said yes as our backs screamed in protest.
Finally, our turn at the counter came. Some people are hesitant about flying on budget airlines like Frontier but the money savings can be substantial.
The man at the desk handed us our boarding passes and we made our way to the super long security line. At this point, Novella grew anxious and began running around like a typical free spirited 2-year-old.
I hate security lines. Getting all the electronic devices out, snacks out, and shoes off is so freaking frustrating. Even with doing all that our bags were flagged once again so we had to go to the side so they could be searched further.
Luckily that went quickly, our flight was on time with absolutely no issues. Please do note that on budget airlines like Frontier, snacks are not provided and they charge extra for bags including carry-ons. We knew all of this so we were prepared. Also, the seats are not the most comfortable. They do not recline but our flight was only 2 hours so it wasn’t a big deal.
Originally, we planned on sleeping in the airport to save money but a friend put us up in a hotel with her points for the night. I say it all the time. We would not be able to do all of this without the generous help of others.
Exhausted, we took to our cozy beds for the evening hoping our next day of travel would go just as smoothly as that day did. Unfortunately, we were in for a rude awakening.
What do you think happened? Let me know in the comments.
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