Nick is GayTravel.com‘s Gay Travel Guru, and this is the first in a series of posts about his misadventures around North America for GT.
Travel is all about the unexpected: buses don’t show up, food isn’t what you ordered, that “boutique hotel” is actually a topless bed-bug Jacuzzi.
Unless you want to be miserable, you have to embrace the unknown and find the joy of the unexpected as you travel. It’s what makes travel so invigorating, real and alive. Travel is essentially a Choose Your Own Adventure book, and nobody turns to the right page every time.
Case in point: I’m sitting in the annoyingly calm baggage claim area at the Burlington, Vermont airport, waiting nervously. Every five seconds, I crane my head around and look for the blue-and-white stripes of the FedEx man that is over-night delivering me my salvation.
You see, I somehow lost my driver’s license somewhere between the TSA screening checkpoint in Seattle and the Governor’s office in Vermont (more on that here –insert link to blog on interviewing governor when available). In 20 years of travel, I have never lost an ID, and I couldn’t have chosen a worse time to inaugurate myself into this League of Obscene Stupidity.
I count down the minutes, hoping that the FedEx man will get here before the next flight to New York. I’m not stressed, just quietly resigned. This is my situation; thy wrath lay hard upon me.
Here are a few lessons regarding securing ID while traveling:
1) Once you have gone through the initial TSA agent ID check, you will not need your ID again in the far majority of airports. So don’t put it in your back pocket or someplace random. Put it back in its home, where it lives every day, where it belongs.
2) Always check the seat behind you when leaving any form of transportation – plane, train or taxicab. Oh, and give a glance at the overhead bin too just in case.
3) Never put anything vital in a coat pocket. Things have a tendency to fall out unnoticed when you drape them over your arm.
4) Perhaps the biggest lesson: You can actually travel without a government-issued ID if something unfortunate happens during your travels. You will just be subjected to a lot of extra screening, so get to the airport 2 hours early, plead your case and prepare to be groped.
5) Copy everything important: passport, driver’s license, ID, credit cards. Take one copy with you and leave one at home. They could prove invaluable.
6) Digitize: Take those copies and email them to yourself. Having them in the cloud protects you if you somehow lose all your baggage. Evernote and Dropbox are also two cloud-based services I use religiously.
7) Everything always works out in the end, so just keep the faith, stay positive and breathe. A disaster defused by attitude becomes a memorable experience!
As I land at New York’s LaGuardia, I am treated to a picture-perfect vantage on the city. Shimmering, shining, thrilling! Here’s to travel, a series of fortunately random events that electrify the experience and keep me coming back for more!