Once I missed my flight. The train had been delayed while I was on it. I ran through the airport to still make it, but the plane was already boarded and ready to go. My attempts to convince the airline staff to “simsalabim” the doors open and let me get on the plane were to not as successful as I had hoped. So, the best option was then to take a flight the following morning at 6 am. Going home to sleep was risky because I had to be back at the airport at 4 am to, this time hopefully, catch the flight.
But where would I sleep around the airport? By that time, it was almost 10 pm and I had to decide what to do. I eventually decided it would be better to stay for the night. Looking for something to eat, I ended up in a supermarket just before it closed and in the queue at the check-out, I saw two police officers. I asked them where would be the best place to spend the night and they recommended going to one of the hotels close by. That, however, was above my travel budget. They then suggested me to see if I could sleep at the chapel of the airport. A chapel at the airport? I didn’t even now it existed! In a faraway corner, I found a rectangular room filled with long wooden benches. They looked nice but were a bit hard, yet I was fine spending the night there. I was on my way to the bathroom to brush my teeth and on the way there, I came across a mosque room. There was a soft carpet on the floor, and I thought that if someone came in, they would understand that I didn’t show any disrespect by quietly sitting and resting in the room. I was right, as throughout the night people came to pray, but they seemed to understand and several people smiled when they saw us.
Us, indeed, because in the bathroom I met a girl who was brushing her teeth as well. Her name was Julieth and she was spending the night at the airport. I invited her to join me and before we rested in the mosque room, we talked about her home country Colombia, our travel experiences, and the people we had met. We formed a wonderful human connection, all because of missing my flight.
The travel essentials I recommend to everyone are a reusable water bottle, a multifunctional towel/blanket, a notebook, a camera, and most of all an open mind. Making the best of unexpected circumstances is really all about your mindset, the way you look at the situation and how to make the best of it. I take my camera everywhere, but since that trip I am proudly carrying the camera around in a tote bag on which is written: “A passionate woman is worth the chaos”.
Julieth in the mosque room with the world map that led us to interesting conversation about her home country Colombia, our travel experiences, and the people we had met.