Amsterdam: Europe’s crazy storm, Twitter threats & Dutch speaking pigs

KLM

So here is the situation, there is a big storm and it has messed up everything, I mean everything. I arrived in Amsterdam on a rather bumpy note, no worries, not the first time and hardly the moat interesting thing about my arrival.

Things get more interesting due to the storm (in case you missed it there is a storm): KLM can’t open the cargo hold to get the baggage out, so it sends us on our merry way saying hopefully our luggage will arrive by morning, yes 24 hours.

You can imagine what this means for all the travellers that just go to the country. One woman voiced her disapproval and yelled at the poor KLM customer service lady who was just the messenger, accusing her of trying to steal from her luggage. Her justification for this? She travels through Africa a lot and “people always help themselves to things” and she was certain that KLM would help themselves to her precious nuts in her bag. Seriously? Then she went on to threaten the poor KLM lady, who I think handled the whole thing rather gracefully, with Twitter.

“If one thing goes missing in my bad, it will be all over Twitter and in all the newspapers,” she says to the KLM lady. “I understand ma’am,” KLM lady responds.” “Are you SURE YOU WON”T STEAL ANYTHING FROM MY BAG?” the lady asks for the 10 millionth time.

Yes lady, because the staff at KLM engineered a storm just so they can steal your nuts.

So after all that drama, which I had front row seats to as I was behind her in the queue, I finally left the airport: no bags, which means no clothes, nothing, so I need to go buy myself stuff. Sure I can deal with that, 24 hours right? Well I could deal with that expect that the bloody trains aren’t working due to, you guessed it, the storm! And from where I am getting a bus is as easy as walking the 10 kilometers I need to go.

So I have been stuck in a hotel room since I arrived, the wind and rain beating against my window and Dutch speaking pigs for entertainment (don’t ask). This is going to be fun! But I have faith, tomorrow my conference starts and hopefully all will be well.

PS if you happen upon this and have gotten your luggage from KLM please let me know.

A passport doesn’t show you the world, means and desire does

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While many, many people will have you believe that seeing the world is everyone’s right and that those who don’t use that right are plain wasteful, I am here to tell you it is all false. I once heard somewhere that being in possession of a passport meant that the world is your playgorund and you can now play in it. True as that may be is not all the way absolute. Yes a passport gives the freedom and license to see the world but it does not give you means.

Greenbacks, muchos dineros. Money. Seeing the world is an expensive luxury and unless you have the means to do it, you won’t. There are many ways to explore our beautiful planet cheaply but without capital to get from point to point be, own a passport is pretty much useless.

I read an article once that challenged the non-travelled and questioned their excuses for not expanding their horizons, issues of work responsibilities, loan repayments and a family to take care of. These are not trival things, and are worth the consideration that people give them. However, as an avid traveller myself who is perpetually broke and in Constance wait for payday most days it worth single digit bank balance when I think of the things I have seen. I can get by this week on noodles because last week I took breath at the top of the Empire State building, it’s ok that I can’t enjoy a nice dinner out or that my electricity may be running out because in three days time I will wake tranquil waters of Fiji. At times like that it makes sense to me that my 20-something years were spent meeting new people and learning the way of the world from its citizens, while still living paycheck to paycheck.

“I just can’t afford it right now,” a friend once said to me. Perhaps, but the desire to see the world is a magnetic pull that never lets up. Ever since he was a child my father had always wanted to see the Alps, after reading about them in a book, the minute he had the means he found his way up there.

Having a passport will not show you the world, it will give the freedom if you have the means to go the rest of the way. So go forth and airport hop.

When in transit: Rather explore than stay stuck

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I have had the unfortunate pleasure of having many long layovers. When I first started travelling it was awful, I would be stuck in some random city for hours with nothing to do expect walk around an airport that doesn’t have much to offer.

So as I have trotted about more I learnt that rather make the most of the time rather drain your battery playing Angry Birds because let’s face it some airports still don’t offer free wifi. Depending on the airport you it might actually offer enough entertainment to while away 4 or even 5 hours but can an airport entertain you for 8 or 10 hours?

Try get a visa for the place you are and use the opportunity to explore a new place before you head off to your destination. Not only will the fresh air do you good but you get to add a new location to your list of visited places. You might actually be lucky and get all this for free.

I recently had a 9 hour layover in Dubai, if you are every going to be stuck anywhere this is a great place trust. Emirates airlines bless their hearts, gave me a complimentary hotel room and visa, paid for a dinner and transportation to and from the airport.

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Instead of just sitting at the airport I used to opportunity to go see Dubai, be it s very short visit and I was kinda exhausted it made for a difference and I also got grab about tow hours of sleep before I faced the next leg of my journey.

Someone asked me why Emirates would do this? Easy customer loyalty. The company has achieved two things about giving 5 hours to play in the city: for someone hasn’t been to Dubai before they get a glimpse into a great city. It really is, hot but pretty cool. Two, if this was the first this customer was flying Emirates they have made a loyal customer out of that person because let’s face it if I am booking a flight that may result in a long layover I rather go with the people who will consider my needs that the ones that just want my money.

Another day another airport: Why #globlemich came to be

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Everyone at the office always jokes about how they should put an interactive map on the wall so they can track my movements — sorta like ‘where in the world is mich’ type thing. It was funny the first few times, now it might actually the reality of my world.

So here I am at the airport writing a blog post of my newly formed trip tracker site, because I have flight in 2 hours, I just landed from another trip and I can’t go home because I only have a 2 hour window before my next flight. It would be funny if airport security didn’t just recognise me again. That happens a lot these days I get recognised by airport, fellow airport hoppers know the feeling, when you have go through security so many times you feel like part of the furniture when you can give the safety instructions on a plane in three different languages because you have heard in more then 10 an committed it to memory.

So here I am trying to find something to do with all the images I collect from all over the world, the stories I hear and the adventures I have. This site began with just a hashtag, a way for the folks at the office to track my international trips or simply any trip that involved yet another airport but like anything in this world it escalated, now I have a blog to keep up.

Undoubtedly most of these posts will be written from an airport, in a hotel or even a plane to be published later. I hope for those of you who will stumble here that I don’t bore you too much but I do hope I take great enough care to give you a full picture of wherever in the world I am.

So enjoy the ride.