I’m not sure how or when, but somewhere along the line I must have angered the luggage gods. Or at least those ones assigned to Rome. A couple of years ago, I and my five traveling companions arrived in Rome and none of our bags did. Not one. Imagine 3 days, sweltering heat and no change of clothes. Okay maybe you don’t want to imagine that.
to a couple of weeks ago, when once again I arrived in Rome for a hiking retreat in Tuscany. I have to admit the thought of lost luggage did cross my mind once or twice but I shrugged it off thinking I had paid my dues on the last trip.
There’s nothing more discouraging than watching suitcases come along the carousel and yours is not there. I tend to play a little game with myself that I just have to be patient – first bag on – last bag off. But you know that you are kidding yourself when the only unclaimed bag is a rather sorry looking blue backpack that just keeps going around and around.
So with a sense of déjà vu and a deep breath, I went through the process of reporting my “delayed” not “lost” suitcase. I wonder if there is a place where blue backpacks go to report a lost traveler?
There’s some comfort in knowing I’m not alone in luggage limbo. When Heathrow Airport opened a new terminal in April 2008, 15,000 pieces of luggage were stranded. Apparently the worst European airline for losing bags is TAP Air Portugal, followed closely by British Airways. The best at not losing bags? Air Malta and Turkish Airlines. Go figure.
This time my suitcase didn’t reappear for four days. In the meantime, I was in the Tuscan countryside with one change of underwear, a borrowed rain jacket, my husband’s t-shirt – his luggage of course appeared on cue – could that be because he’s Italian? – and the same pair of grungy pants.
Going with the flow
During those four days I surprised myself at how un-fixated I was on not having my luggage. It seemed to me that this was the perfect opportunity to go with the flow of natural chaos. My suitcase would turn up in its own time. So I decided to not only make the best of it, but have a great time in spite of it.
And yes I did do a little dance of joy when my suitcase was finally delivered to me. I wish I had attached a nanny cam to find out where suitcases go when they travel without you.
The best part was when one of my retreat companions said, “I’m glad you have your bag…and thank you for not whining while you didn’t.” Seems like going with the flow makes everyone’s experience better.