…blessed to bare my feet on the soil of my sanctuary.
Especially, after having learned, yet again, that my flight from Rome had been cancelled. I was then – and only then informed that I would be receiving a refund (in the form of a voucher) from my travel agent; in regards to the original roundtrip ticket I had purchased for my ‘European Expedition’. At that time, I would also come to realize just how difficult it would become to buy another ticket – a ticket home. Given the next flights weren’t scheduled to leave until sometime in May!! Unless purchased through Alitalia…
Furthermore, I later learned after speaking with an Alitalia airline agent over the phone, that the airlines website was NOT working. Not only was the system down, they could not take payments over the phone! Since they had also been mandated to work from home. And next, I was told I would have to go to the airport; which was a two hour train ride away, in order to purchase the ticket – exposing oneself to all kinds of unnecessary elements in the midst of a crisis. Something that only seemed to cause alarm for those affected, and no one else.
So, after having made proper arrangements for all that was to be expected. I caught a train in Orvieto, and arrived in Rome early that Saturday afternoon. And, then, I caught a taxi to the Airbnb I had reserved for the remainder of my stay. Unpacked only a few items, and then readied myself for navigating my way to the airport. Especially since, seemingly normal routes were closed off and travelers were made to navigate multiple metro & train lines – in order to leave the various angles of the city behind.
And, shortly after arriving at Fiumicino, I paid for what became a one-way ticket to JFK. Though, the ticket I purchased from the agent behind plated-glass at Alitalia was supposed to have flown me all the way to Seattle, with only a short layover in New York. A matter that has yet to be rectified by either airline.
Oh, and though I had no prior problems with being permitted to catch trains. As I had always been prudent about having had the necessary documentation ready for safe passage. When I arrived at the station connected to the airport, I was told that I could not use the return ticket I had purchased by the police there, or they would give me a 400 euro fine! Because, according to them, my situation “was not urgent”. So, after feeling extorted in order to obtain a seemingly safer exit from their premises – the train station at the airport, where other people walked passed me unencumbered; whilst I stood surrounded by three officers – who deemed my very presence and situation as something less than, and even more so, something that could crucially cost me in the wake of a world-wide war on humanity & health. And after purchasing what I prayed would be my flight home. I was made to pay what amounted to $70 for a taxi to return to the place I had rented in the center of Rome; versus using the 8 euro train ticket I had reserved previously – let alone the fact the rate was supposed to have been a flat fee of $40 due to the crisis and the contract in place at the airport. And this incident, like others became yet another traumatic trifle to test ones patience.
So, on the day of my flight, I checked-in at 6am, passed through the security screening process effortlessly; which became surreal shortly there after, as we cascaded through the air for the next 10 hours to JFK – of all places. Given it being an epicenter of the unknown. And, then the process began again. Walking in a distanced pace, having my temperature recorded (shortly after my arrival), and moments later, I was made to answer a few questions by the Border Patrol agent; which resulted in no concerns in the slightest.
Thusly, this perfect sequence of events, allowed me to use the next four hours as crucially & calmly as possible. Because, for that entire span of time, I had to exalt every fiber of my being to remain dignified & manurable. As I informed the Delta agents I was scheduled for a four hour layover; which was what I had purchased on-site in Rome, from a registered agent at the airport. Though they had no record of my connecting flight nor its number. Yet, I was able to provide them screenshots I had captured on my MacBook (because my new iPad Pro had stop functioning on the 3rd of March – which added to the cluster I was facing) of what I had indeed purchased.
And, some 37 minutes before the next and last flight of the day was scheduled to leave heading west. I was made to pay for yet another one-way ticket home, and made my way through yet another security portal – having been made to go through it twice, mind you, due to having three good swallows of water left in my sustainable travel mug. Secured – but totally forgotten about in the midst of what appeared to be utter madness. Then, though I felt like collapsing onto my seat, I pulled out my wipes and prepared my space for the route to Salt Lake City, and then Sea-tac!!
Fortunately, upon my arrival, my brother not only warmly welcomed me. He had also made reservations for me to stay in a comfortable suite. (Where a bit of the jet lag I have been fighting began to rear its head.) Then he drove the distance, from his port of duty – some seven hours, to pick me up in Seattle, and then safely home.
…that expressed, I am so very thankful to be back under my own roof. For the care & comfort of my best friend, my brother. Time to tend to the garden & greenery all around. And, being able to see the seasons change and the days grow longer. And, lastly, to be able to reflect on all of the things I experienced throughout my travels. Because there were many lessons imparted along the way. Some, that will take time, as processing pain happens at its’ own pace.