Travels with Shorty

…or….it takes a village.

The last couple of weeks have found me spread a bit thin. And, I don’t mean metaphorically. I mean my junk has been literally spreading out all over the world. Like most things, though, I’ve got all my stuff back together again, and it makes for a good story. One thing I’ve learned over the past 15 years is that really, adversity is just good storytelling material; it’s hard to come up with good stories that don’t involve SOME sort of adversity.

Recently, I headed to Australia for a week, to teach.  I was there last May, and I was looking forward to reconnecting with those I’d met last year.  Last year, getting there was exhausting, and I was in a daze for a few days when I arrived.  And, I arrived without my luggage, which arrived the next day. This year, I arrived feeling pretty normal, AND with my luggage.  Also, last year, I had some things going on in the background with a particularly special friend of mine that detracted somewhat from the experience.  This time around, I travelled with a clear conscience.

Anyway, Australia was great fun, as usual.  The people are fun, and I even got to run one of my hostess’s dogs in a trial! We got fourth place.  I tried to run another dog for another friend, but I was pretty wiped out, more tired than I had thought, AND my legs were killing me from a bit of exercise, so when I fell mid-course, I decided I’d better not press my luck, and that was it for runs for me.  The trial didn’t start til 8pm in any case, and apparently didn’t end til 2AM….but we were long gone by then 🙂

So, the trip to Australia was fun, uneventful, and in keeping with my newfound hobby, collecting pub shirts, I got a shirt from a pub in Fremantle. I also got a bunch of cool red white and blue gear, some even custom made! Alas, I made it all the way home to Seattle a couple of days ahead of my luggage, which wasn’t apparently checked through all the way.  Seriously? This was a little bit of an issue, as only 48 hours later, I turned around and flew to South Carolina for another seminar I was scheduled to teach.

My trip started out in an auspicious manner – David’s car broke down on the way to the airport, and I had to catch a ride with Oscar, who, luckily, was around to come get me. My flight to South Carolina connected in Atlanta, and I was so out of it that when they called for boarding from Atlanta to SC, I got up and left my purse underneath my seat in the gate area.  Credit cards, wallet, ID, **PASSPORT**, all left behind.  ACK! I got to SC and was out of the airport and at a local Wal-Mart with my SC Hostess before I realized I had no purse! I had my phone, so a call to the airport revealed I had NOT left my purse on the plane.  Then it came to me…I’d left it under my seat in Atlanta! Yikes.

Well, of course lost and found was by this time closed – it was well after midnight. So, the next morning, I called, and was very happy to discover my purse, and all the contents, were found! Yippee! So, whatever the cost, I told the Atlanta folks to ship it overnight, Saturday delivery, so it would get to me before my early morning flight Monday.

Well, they marked it for Saturday delivery, but it turns out the town I was staying in didn’t HAVE Saturday delivery. DOH! Saturday came and went, and no purse. So, tired and not completely rational, I had no idea how I was going to get back through TSA to get home.  Nevermind that probably hundreds if not thousands of people have this problem every day.  So, I called David, as I recalled that he had made passport and ID photocopies prior to our last overseas trip together.  Of course, at the time, I thought he was being overcautious, and I told him so. So when I called and asked him about it, his response was:

“Well, who’s the grasshopper now, and who’s the ant who prepared for the loooooong WINTER?!”

Gotta love David.  It was pretty funny, the way he said it, and it made me laugh 🙂

Well, long story short, I of course made it back home.  TSA simply pulled me aside and called some secret number where some secret person asked me a bunch of secret questions, to which I had the right answers.  This all went according to exactly what my friend Julie, who works for TSA, told me

would happen (and she told me not to worry, so I didn’t). And, my suitcase arrived from Australia the same day I left for SC, just hours after my SC bound plane took off. And, this past Wednesday, my purse and all its contents showed up. The $300 that UPS wanted to charge me for the delivery of said purse was largely reversed as well. Phew! And, in addition to having all of MY stuff back together, I also have some booty from my trip(s):Yes, I brought home some Vegemite from Australia.  It was on my list of foods to try, and when Simone put some on buttered toast for me, I fully expected to gag. But, surprisingly, I finished it….and the next day, didn’t turn down MORE.  I bought a jar to bring home for David to try.  He’s not been brave enough to try it himself, but I continue to eat it. Who knew? It’s a byproduct of the beer brewing process – and it’s so salty, it’s like beer bouillon.  Strangely good.

I didn’t make it to a pub in South Carolina, but I did make it to a piggly wiggly, and got a cute shirt with the above pig on the front, and “I’m Big On The Pig” on the back.  Cute.  I also brought home some of these:


Yes, the little duffel bag I used for my trip, since I didn’t have a proper suitcase, was stuffed with clothes and grits.  My hostess’s husband made cheese grits for breakfast, and my god, they were manna from heaven.  This morning I had fried grits with fried eggs.  YUM.  So much good food in the world!

So, between Facebook friends, seminar hostesses, husbands, friends, baggage crew, airport staff, and UPS, I’ve come and gone on another ‘uneventful’ trip.  Oh, what about the seminars, you ask?

Well, those were of course the high points of the trips (except for the grits, maybe, they were probably right up there on top, along with the burger with beets I had in Australia).  Always meeting new people who are wonderful, nice, eager to learn, and in love with their dogs and the process in general.  Some real talented people out there in the world; I’m lucky to get to work with such people!