SeaTac -> London
An anxious mess.
Okay, well at times, yes, but I’ve gotten much better about controlling my airport travel anxiety. It was about 5pm when I said goodbye to my parents at SeaTac and proceeded to security so I could catch my first flight to London. Everything was pretty uneventful. I mean, the lady in front of me had to have an extra pat-down and two of her personal bags double checked, but other than that, nothing super exciting. Since I still have a slight cough, before the flight I was telling myself “Katy, you are not allowed to have a coughing fit while aboard a plane.” And, I stayed true to myself; no coughing fits! 🙂 It was a pretty uneventful flight besides the fact that it was 8.5 hours and that I spilled my tea on myself (it wasn’t too much; it dried). But, so far everything had been going so smoothly. It was so nice because travel anxiety is very very real for me.
London Airport Fiasco
So… I land in London and exit the plane. I would like to put out there that I feel like I’m pretty good at navigating, especially when I have a map. So, I begin to follow signs to transfer flights and am keeping my eyes open for a map, but I don’t see one… I keep walking, realizing my ticket doesn’t even tell me what terminal to go to. So, I eventually find someone who works there and I ask him. He tells me terminal two and takes me straight to the bus that is to take me to terminal 2. He was SO helpful and SO friendly. A piece of the puzzle solved: what terminal!
After getting off the bus, I follow the signs for terminal 2 (still not map to be found). Oh well. I go through security again and then get to customs. This is the major hiccup: the customs lady initially refused to let me through because I didn’t have a return ticket. I tried to explain to the customs lady that I was returning home around the end of May, but she wanted proof. Now, let me remind you: travel anxiety is very very real for me. So, PANIC! I’m trying to hold back tears as I contact my parents in a panic (note: it’s 4:30AM in Seattle…) to explain the situation to them. Luckily my dad was awake. The customs lady called me back up a little later asking if I had proof. I still had tears trickling down my face. I told her my parents were working on it. She then asked why I was crying and if I was old enough to travel on my own. I told her it was my first traveling internationally by myself and that flying is stressful for me. She told me:
- I’m not responsible because I didn’t buy a roundtrip tickets and every single document she needed ready exactly when she wanted them
- I’m not old enough to be traveling on my own because of my travel anxiety
- It’s not okay to be crying because there is NOTHING to be stressed or anxious about
She finally let me though, but I was a tired mess. The reset of the day went much smoother. But I’m still very irked about the situation. I made it to the University of Limerick and have begun to settle into my room. But my room is HOT and I can’t figure out how to/if I can turn the heater off. It’s at least 80 degrees Fahrenheit in here (probably more).