Now That the Dust Has Settled

Tjormin city pond, Reykjavik, Iceland

Life doesn’t always go according to plan, does it?
Last month’s volcanic eruption in Iceland was a reminder, which stranded an estimated 5 million passengers.
And now that the (volcanic) dust has settled, and life has returned to normal, I wanted to share a few stories from the unprecedented travel interruption that took place.
While every media source covered the event extensively, often focusing on the endless stories of inconveniences experienced by passengers, what I felt was somewhat understated was the remarkable work done by airport staff, airline personel, the travel industry (like the fine people at Travelstart!), the aviation authority, scientists, and the nameless workers who spent countless hours problem-solving during a unique and challenging time. This one act of mother nature made many people’s jobs more difficult, a chaotic time for everyone involved.
The obvious inconveniences felt by passengers were real for certain. But equally important were the precautionary measures taken to ensure safety returned to the skies.  I had 9 friends who were stranded somewhere due to the airspace closures, and I don’t really have that many friends.:)
One of them, a former university classmate, took the inconvenience in stride. Stuck in Paris, she decided to call the unplanned portion of her vacation her first ever “volcation.” She tells me it was a wonderful week, an opportunity created out of the chaos. Another friend decided to take an extra week in the U.S., having a great time seeing friends he would not have seen otherwise.
It reminds me of a lesson I learned travelling many years ago. Take life as it comes. Travel is often unpredictable, part of its allure for many of us. When your flight gets delayed for a few hours, or days in this case, there’s really no use complaining about it. Complaining will only alter how you experience the delay, and not the delay itself. So instead go out and make the most of it, go paint the town red, see a live show, relax poolside, go buy a new book, and further explore the city you found yourself stranded in. Any travel opportunity is a good opportunity I say!
Those April 2010 air closure refugees today have additional stories to tell, a trip they will surely never forget.
From an avid traveller to all those working in the travel industry, thank you for your dedication and leadership during last month’s unique and unprecedented situation. It must have been a crazy time for you.
Volcanic eruptions are of course beyond anyone’s control… a humble reminder that we remain at the mercy of mother nature’s unpredictable ways.

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