Continuing my journey to Louisville I of course gathered lots of information and experiences which came handy in my future.
As a “newbie“ travelling to the States I was constantly under lot of stress. I was worried about my luggage getting lost, so I had to check at every transfer, whether it has been transported to the plane I was supposed to be on. In Frankfurt luckily everything was OK, but in Chicago I was facing a different issue. My boarding ticket from Chicago to Louisville didn’t indicate assigned seat, so I asked the crew. The answer was shocking: „I am sorry the plane is full and for the time being we cannot allocate a seat for you “. It took me little while to digest this news and I kept asking myself: „What did she mean by ‘for time being‘?
It was a cold shower for my slowly growing travel self-confidence and yet again I felt like a bundle of nerves. Hence every situation can be solved and learned from. It only needed communication. Thus, I tried to gain more information on what to do in my case. The staff of United Express (part of United Airlines) I travelled with to the biggest city in Kentucky calmed me down and assured me that there was nothing extraordinary about it. I was to sit calmly and let them deal with it.
I shared this news with my co-traveler waiting for a flight to Cincinnati. She comforted me: I should trust the advice of the staff. And indeed, minutes later I heard an announcement asking volunteers to let go off their seat for one passenger. An unusual thing I never came across on my journeys before. My panic subsided and I started to believe that at last everything would go as planned. Later the Bulgarian lady whom I met on my trip had left me to board her own flight. I am very grateful to her for her advice and help through my first travel to USA experience.
Travel Fact 3
Every problem, even unexpected can be easily resolved. Don’t get yourself worried with catastrophic scenarios and anxieties of being far away from home and the world being bad. You always find kind people ready to help and advise you.
Reason why I wanted to fly
In the end I got my seat. I was glad because at the airport I was welcomed by Mrs. Susan Dallas, Louisville Convention & Visitors Bureau’s Manager, with whom I traded emails prior my journey to USA. In one of her emails, Susan unexpectedly asked me, if I liked her to pick me up from the airport. I was quite shocked, as I didn’t consider myself to be such an important person, neither as a traveler nor as a journalist from Eastern Europe. I even asked her, if she was serious about it. Not only did she offer the pickup, she let me choose a restaurant to dine together. I selected an unusual and very popular restaurant back then which no longer exists. It was called Lynn’s Paradise and was located on 984 Barrett Avenue in Louisville. It was magically colorful, attractive and full of artworks.
So where from were my doubts coming? Before the whole journey I heard lot of “proven information” about the typical American hospitality. “Everyone there just takes care of himself. Don’t be fooled by mannerly communication. Don’t accept invites to restaurants as you will end up paying your bill anyway.“ These strange, not quite positive allegations took my sound judgement away.
In advance I created negative expectations along with lot of questions: “How will I manage the airports’ situations? How should I react to strangers? Accept or not to accept an offer to go to a restaurant?”
Everything was resolved by my boarding ticket with a seat in the front of a small Embraer airplane by United Express and a 50minute short flight to Louisville. At last I was in my final destination where all my worries – apart from my fear of communication in a foreign language as I didn’t have any fellow countryman to interrupt my long language fasting – slowly vanished. I met wonderful people and discovered a new to me unknown environment.
Travel fact 4
Don’t listen to hints from people who “know it all” about other cultures, especially when they travelled as far as the nearest township.
Photos: Peter Fritz, Dreamstime, Archive by Peter Fritz