I’m on my way! After much anticipation (actually only about a week…) I’m headed to
! I left Luxembourg Cleveland yesterday afternoon… my Continental flight was delayed of course… but I still made it to Newark, New Jersey with plenty of time to catch my 7 hour flight to . So now its 4:30am Frankfurt, Germany Akron time (10:30am here) and I’m waiting for my flight to . I really haven’t slept, so I’m not sure how coherent these thoughts will be, but I think writing about this experience a little will help me digest it little. Luxembourg
Traveling like this shouldn’t be foreign to me really. I’ve even helped lead people through experiences with international travel, and to destinations that are much less inviting than
Germany or . Doing it alone, however, is an entirely different experience. There’s no one to confer with when you’re not totally sure where you’re supposed to be or what you need to do to get to the right place and when and how. It’s really not that challenging, but I guess it’s been a little more stressful than I anticipated. For example, the departing flight display screens here doesn’t have my flight listed yet because I’m here too early I guess, so I’m not sure where my gate is. I also initially thought I was supposed to go through customs with my checked bags here in Luxembourg Frankfurt (based on the instructions we were given on the plane), but it turns out I don’t have to do that until I get to Lux. Certainly more intuitive that way, but at the time I started having these visions of my bags being quarantined in Germany because I didn't get in the right line or something. Luckily, I found a very friendly Asian man (why is he working at the Frankfurt airport?) wearing a red vest and a button that says “Ask me for help!”, who kindly answered my stupid questions :).
I suppose I’m also not used to traveling to places with a higher cost of living, or with currency worth more than the US Dollar. Until now, when I’ve bought things in another country, my money ends up being worth like 7 times more than it is in the United States. Not only is everything probably just going to cost more where I'll be living and traveling for the next couple of months, and not only is the dollar worth like 75% of a Euro right now, but since I won’t have a local bank account I’ll also be charged international transactions fees of at least 3% when I use any of my cards to by anything (and of course additional fees if I need to get cash from an ATM). I figured I would try to get some Euros at the airport in
to at least avoid the 3% transaction fee, but I think I was probably ripped off anyway by this Travex company that charged some percentage to make the transaction. I think the moral of the story is just that I need to get over it though. Haha. Hopefully most of my expenses will be paid for anyway :), and whatever lessons I learn are probably worth a few transaction fees. New Jersey
Also, final observation for the day… I noticed this at work already, but I’ve concluded that Europeans have much cooler socks than Americans. Everyone seems to have some kind of sweet stripes or colors—hopefully my socks are up for the challenge. Hehe.