During my freshman year in college, two of my friends and I decided it would be a great idea to study abroad over the January term of our sophomore year. After hours on hours and months and months of paperwork and working with travel agents and campus advisors, we were on the plane.
Now, this trip wasn’t going to be like a normal vacation. We were studying aboard in the middle of the delta variant, going to the highest-rated country for covid cases per day, and traveling to two countries that currently have curfew lockdowns. It was not looking too promising that we were going to receive anywhere near the experience we hoped for. But after numerous back-and-forth decisions on canceling, I got on my flight from Chicago O’Hare to London Heathrow.
Before our study abroad program started in Prague, Czech Republic, we wanted to embrace our inner Irish and go back to the motherland. I have many family ties back to Ireland, so getting to see my family roots and where a lot of my culture comes from.
Ireland was a time, that’s for sure. With all restaurants, bars, and shops closed at 8 pm, the nightlife was well, dead. Many long nights walking around towns and the streets of Dublin, freezing our asses off, but just grateful for the opportunity, even though we might not have known it at the time. After our Christmas vacation to Ireland, it was time for Prague! Only one more flight and we will be in our home for the next three weeks. Or so we thought.
We arrived at the Dublin airport at 7:30 am, after our 45-minute long uber ride. When we walked into the airport, we were greeted by a line of 500 fellow travelers, waiting to get their boarding passes. Now, this wasn’t such a big deal since we got here two hours early, but like many of our travel experiences on this trip, it was a big deal. The Air Lingus airline policy is you have to check into your flight 2 hours prior to takeoff, and because I was an out-of-country visitor I could not electronically check in my passport. So essentially, I got fucked by the Irish.
After waiting in the check-in line for another hour, we found out this policy rule, and that the next flight out of Ireland to Prague was in 5 days. So, with little time to spare, I suggested we get a flight from Dublin to London, since Heathrow has one of the largest connecting flights in the world. We got tickets to London but only had 45 minutes until the flight took off and still had to get through security and to our terminal. Luckily, after being screwed so many times at this airport, the Irish paid back the favor, and the nice people in the security lines let us skip everyone to get to our flight.
When we got to London we had an 8-hour layover, which was fine by us, as long as we got to Prague. The moral of the story is just don’t travel abroad during a horrible, horrible pandemic that shut down the world so many times. stay home.
1 thought on “Traveling Abroud Amongst the Delta Variant”
Interesting article! Neat that you were able to go back to your roots and see where your ancestors lived. Love the pics!!!! Glad things worked out.