So, a crazy thing happened mid-August. This summer I learned about Scott’s Cheap Flights, an email newsletter that announces great international flight deals. They send out a few emails a day, and I quickly decided that the paying for their subscription premium service was worth it. At only $39 for the entire year, it seemed a no brainer for getting the most advanced notice on any sales. And it was a delightful summer, each email announcement giving me that seratonin high of finding a great deal and some travel dreaming time, thinking about each potential destination. And then, just 3 weeks before I was to leave on my Greek adventure, I got that White Whale email. A MISTAKE FARE IN BUSINESS CLASS! That’s international business class seats for $600 from California to several Asian destinations. Scott’s Cheap Flights (SCF) emails are great about guestimating how long they think a deal will last and giving other helpful pointers. Such as the fact that Congress changed the rules a few years ago, so airlines are no longer required to honor mistake fares. So while some still do, SCF urges people to wait a few weeks before booking any non-refundable related travel things, just in case. And they rightly guessed that these fares would only last around an hour (until someone at the airline realized and shut it down).
My morning is then a scramble, mass texting everyone I know who might be interested in immediately booking a trip to Indonesia (and have a life and job that will allow for such a thing). And, oh yeah, we’d need to buy the plane tickets like, right now! And the universe provides sometimes. My dear pal Jen replied right away, very excited, but reasonably stating that she couldn’t finalize this without approval from her wife Sarah (who was at work and often doesn’t check her phone during the work day). Again, providence was looking out for us. Because not 10 minutes later, Sarah was on a break and decided to check her phone, and agreed to this insanity! So then it’s scrambling to find passport numbers and trying to find a set of travel dates still offering this deal. Which is how we’ve ended up with this upcoming mid-January adventure to Bali. After booking, and knowing we had to wait a few weeks with fingers crossed (to see if the airline would honor it’s mistake or not), Jen wrote, “This is nuts in the best way!!” Amen, sister! Hong Kong Airlines came through in the best way possible, and earned approbations from travel sites the world over. Super classy move!
And so I departed for Greece, knowing that I’d be going to Indonesia not four months later! Ack! I mean, travel is obviously super important to me, and I make lots of choices/sacrifices to make it a priority (all of my tech/electronics are old, most of my furniture is hand-me-down, etc), and I’ve definitley increased the frequency of my adventures the last few years (shifting from once every 3 years to annually, if I can swing it). And while this upcoming trip is technically in 2019, coming only 4 months after my last big adventure is pretty intense, even for me. And that’s one of the reasons I don’t think I’ve been talking about it as widely. Also because my brain can’t shift into “new adventure mode” so quickly, as I’m still solidly in post-adventure/decompression mode. I mean, heck, I only finally finished editing my Sept travel pics a few weeks ago.
Also, I’ve never done a trip in early January before, and I don’t recommend it. Trying to get ready, plan for, and survive the holidays takes up most of my Nov/Dec. And so concurrently trying to squeeze in getting ready/planning for, and surviving a big travel adventure is a bit intense!!! Especially as Holidays are requiring more work this year, as my sister and I are stepping up and taking over a lot more things as my folks are dealing with some health stuff (and because they’ve just plain earned a break, eh? Although it took the health stuff for my mom to finally give up some of that control. NO IDEA where she gets that from. *shifty eyes*). Happy to report that Thanksgiving worked wonderfully, and Christmas should be equally great. But holy crap! Christmas is less than a week away, and in two weeks time, I’m on a frigging airplane again. There’s so much to do. The final two weeks before a trip, it’s time for me to locate/consolidate all my travel gear. Figure out what I’m taking and what to leave behind. Also to sort out my clothing. Do laundry. Which swimsuit? Which overshirts and light weight long pants (those pesky SE Asian mosquitos!!) I mean, I’ve done this lots before, so I know the things, and I own most of things already (but I’m pretty sure my sunscreen is old and will need to be replaced. As well as new travel sized gold bond powder. That stuff is a magic necessity in the humid tropics). Decisions on whether to pack my snorkel and mask or not. And I still haven’t wrapped presents yet. And I’m taking over lots of the traditional holiday baking. PANIC!!!
But travel medications/vaccinations obtained! (Actually, didn’t have to get any new shots. I’m currently still covered, which is nice). After we booked our trip, we discovered that January is actually the middle of RAINY SEASON! Oh well. Adventure! Instead of beach time (which isn’t my biggest priority in general, and I frigging just spent a few weeks in the Agean in September, so I was already spoiled with amazing beaches!!), it’ll be more cultural exploration. So looking forward to the people and the food and the adventures. It was with true excitement and delight that I got to email some of the friends I’d made on my last trip, to tell them I’m lucky enough to be returning. Cannot wait! We’ll be packing ponchos and a good attitude. Hopefully it’ll be the type of rainy season with downpours for a few hours but then clear skies. But even if it’s constant rains and flooded streets, it’s all part of the adventure. Also, we have a LONG layover in Hong Kong each way, so that will be exciting. Unfortunately it’s overnight, so we can’t do the Hong Kong Disney (which was Sarah’s choice) or take a sailboat or climb the mountain. But we will get to explore night markets, eat amazing food, and sleep in a real bed/take a shower, before getting on the plane again. So, holy crap! In 3 weeks, I’ll be making my way back to Indonesia. And so I’ve been listening, again, to the fantastic Learning Indonesia podcast. Woohoo!!