(Image credit: http://www.allposters.ie/-sp/City-Skyline-and-Coal-Harbour-Dusk-Vancouver-Canada-posters_i2499448_.htm: David Tomlinson: 2013)
I was thirteen years old when I took my first big trip outside of Australia and I was so excited I could barely keep it together. Sleeping was not an option on the flight and talking to anyone who would listen was top priority. Fortunately for other flyers, my only option was my mother who had kindly invited me along on one of her business trips. Vancouver, Whistler, skiing— here I come!
We arrived late and I’d remained sleepless. High with energy, I scoped the airport for any premature Canadian sightings like Mounties and maybe even a black bear, for good measure. It appeared to be a pretty standard airport, similar to all other Western airports but that was no matter. In an hour or so, we’d have our luggage and be off to our luxury hotel, all paid for by the company funding the trip.
We waited patiently for our suitcases to hit the black thread of rubber in the luggage pickup area. It didn’t bother us that our luggage was slow to come out—that was almost always the case when I’d traveled domestic. But after half an hour, we were still standing there, alone. No one else around looking puzzled and, eventually we had to accept that our luggage wasn’t coming out. Not ever. How do you lose two people’s luggage and no one else’s? I was completely baffled. In an instant, my trip had hit a maximum low. I’d bought along my GHD hair straightener, my best outfits, makeup, my favorite perfumes, and all of them were missing! All of which I’d bought from cleaning half the neighborhoods cars, time and time over for extra pocket money.
‘Mum! All my stuff! It’s gone!’ I said. Mum was anxious but a lot more settled than I was which was strange seeing as she carried heavier priced belongings than I did. We inquired at all the right places for our luggage but it was gone, possibly flown to Asia, Europe or Africa, where some other lucky traveler could enjoy the goodies that our precious baggage contained. Losing our luggage had taken me off my ultimate high, and dropped me down to a depressing low in the blink of an eye. Suddenly, I didn’t care so much about Canada. I wanted my stuff back.
Fortunately my intelligent mother had organized travel insurance for us prior to leaving. That didn’t mean that I was going to get my items back, which hurt, but it did mean that I wouldn’t need to wear the same clothes on my back for the next two weeks or have to dig into my savings to buy more outfits, toiletries and necessities. Our travel insurance company was responsive and said that we would be reimbursed on what we spent in order to tide us over for a few days. I can’t recall the budget but I was relieved that we had financial help. The sum was enough to bring back our enthusiasm because shopping from someone else’s bank account was always nicer than shopping from your own.
Itching to get out of our clothes and shower from a long flight, we made it to the hotel. It was too late to go shopping by the time we arrived and finally, after such an ordeal, I desired a long awaited sleep. Morning arrived and I gave Mum’s shoulder a little shove to wake her up. I appreciated that she was tired but this was my first holiday and I wasn’t about to let this experienced traveler sleep away our holiday! Besides, I reached an end of tolerance in wearing the same dirty old clothes. I wanted fresh ones.
We found the closest mall and hit the stores. After a few hours, and a whole new wardrobe later, we finally made our way back to the hotel. The fashion in Vancouver was fabulous– the ranges of clothes were infinite in styles. Out of the items I purchased, I remembered my favorite buy was a dark stained denim jacket and matching jeans. I kept these for years and the quality never tired but eventually the denim couldn’t stretch far enough to accommodate my growing bust and backside. Eventually I had to accept, I was growing up and gave the outfit away to another lucky individual.
After a couple of days, they finally found our luggage completely unharmed. I wondered where it had traveled to. But I was mostly just glad to have it back in my welcoming arms. I happily added my new clothes with the old, having an abundance of nice new clothes overall for my trip which had started off quite turbulent. I remember appreciating to the full extent how lucky we were to have travel insurance, remembering back to my sunken heart at the airport when I thought I’d have nothing for my entire trip and how awful it would be spending hundreds, possibly even thousands of dollars in order to replace my wardrobe. It was thanks to travel insurance that we had such a great trip and of course, the good fortune in eventually finding our original luggage.
If you plan to travel, before you go, do yourself a favor and check that you have your travel insurance..