As enjoyable as the memories are, travel is stressful for many reasons, one being that every decision made is a sliding door to many outcomes, some wondrous and amazing as in “we would never have found this place if we hadn’t missed our train”, and some regrettable and frustrating as in “we lost a day because we missed our train”.
Faced with departing at 6:30 AM or arriving at 12:44 AM, I went for the later departure. The arrival was only delayed by 20 minutes AND the baggage by another 40 – I am one of the few people who thinks that $25 is not a lot to pay for the privilege of letting someone else carry a week’s worth of clothes and supplies to the plane with the added bonus of not having to wrestle 30 or 40 pounds over my head so I waited with all the other travel zombies trying not to look irritable over the fact that there was ONE flight on the landing strip. It was too late, even though I was crossing backward over 3 times zones and it should only have felt like 11 PM, the ghostlike environment of closed kiosks and picking my way over the tile-layer made being the last flight in feel kinda spooky. I arrived at my bedroom after 2 AM, grateful that there are still drivers at the airport after midnight, and only panicking once when the driver seemed to be taking a different route than usual – probably because downtown Toronto looked abandoned.
Having to get up the next day for an 8:30 AM appointment didn’t help. Not only did I not have enough sleep but my body was back in the mountains thinking it was 3 hours earlier. What followed the appointment was a jet-lagged 2 hour nap and an afternoon of battling my eyelids and kicking my immune system into order as the inevitable post-airport cold bugs try to have their way with you.
Making the sacrifice of getting up early – 4:30 – would have had me home about 12 hours later local time. Even with horrible delays I would have been in my pyjamas watching Netflix by 9 PM instead of worrying about my phone battery dying on the plane while my restless legs literally kicked in as they do when it is night time and I am tired. A decent night’s sleep – no matter how early I get up – will usually prevent any cold bugs from having their way with me.
So something to remember: when you have a choice, take the earlier booking.