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A (Very) Long (And Eventful) Trip Home

Today has been a whirlwind of catching up. I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to attend my friend’s destination wedding in Punta Cana but it made for a lot of travel in five days! Yesterday was a 14 hour comedy of errors in getting home and I have to share it with you!


I said goodbye to this view after breakfast, a beautiful and sweaty poolside yoga practice and a couple hours on the beach reading. The transfer to the Punta Cana airport was about an hour and then it was lines, lines and more lines going through bag check, security and immigration.


Then I was facing four hours on an airplane with no lunch or food so I made the best out of what was available at the airport and grabbed a slice of pizza…and then I had a soft serve ice cream cone from Baskin Robbins. Pizza and ice cream…never a bad duo.


I was so lucky to wind up with a window seat + an amazing view. Our flight path took us along the coast of the Dominican Republic for a good 20 minutes.


The view was incredible.


Annnnndddd then I got sucked into this. Has anyone else read Divergent? I couldn’t put it down.


Before I knew it the captain announced we were cleared for landing in Atlanta. I looked out the window to discover the most beautiful sunset from 20,000 feet.

Things kind of stopped being beautiful after that and the craziness started…

I got flagged for secondary questioning in customs in Atlanta. There was nothing about the experience that was pleasant. They assure me it was just for “quality control” but the level of detail that they were questioning me on was alarming (in that they knew a lot about where I lived).

Then I got to my car and my battery was dead. I had to wait for the parking deck management to come jump off my car and I was finally on the road back to Charlotte around 8.

It was raining and dark and my GPS went CRAZY and sent me up I-75 towards Chattanooga telling me I was on 85 to Charlotte. I kept thinking that it was just rerouting me and that it would merge with 85 but after 30 minutes I checked my iPhone navigation and discovered I had to backtrack alllll the way back down 75 into Atlanta to get the right Interstate. Another hour lost.

I have made that drive countless times. I don’t need a GPS for it. How have we become so reliant on technology? I felt like such a moron. I’m chalking it up to being tired and zoned out.


So due to my navigation errors it became a 5 hour trip in which my only dinner option was McDonalds. Yes, Sbrarro, Baskin Robbins and McDonalds in one day. Sometimes you just have to do what you have to do!

I finally arrived home around 1 a.m. and promptly showered and got in bed (to read more Divergent!) and then to sleep. Such a long day but so worth it to share such a special time with a friend.

Tell me about your craziest travel experience. I seriously cannot believe that this Georgia born and bred girl took the wrong Interstate in ATL!

{ 35 comments… add one }
  • Haley @Cupcakes and Sunshine December 3, 2013, 10:35 pm

    I have been eating so much fastfood lately as well. Bleck. Real food, come back to me! One time while on I85 heading to Spartanburg, SC I was trying to avoid Greenville traffic. I pressed “detour” on my GPS and it was not a good idea! It ended up taking me through an airport and through roads that are for “authorized personnel only.” It was so scary! I am definitely just going to sit in Greenville traffic next time 🙂 Lesson learned!

    • Jen December 4, 2013, 2:49 pm

      yes, feel so much better when i’m eating the good stuff. that sounds like a CRAZY reroute! GPS is not good sometimes!

  • Danielle @ LabelsAreForTinCans December 3, 2013, 10:40 pm

    If only there were more tasty food options on the road! 😉 Glad you made it home in one piece! I have been lost oh so many times travelling. I remember my sister and I were in Paris last year heading home from seeing Notre Dame at night. We stepped into the wrong metro station and immediately knew we had to leave – super sketchy! And the whole time we both had to go to the bathroom so badly but nothing was open! Hahaha we finally made it home in one piece.

    • Jen December 4, 2013, 2:50 pm

      i feel like it’s gotten so much better in general but not late at night!

      yikes! yeah, wrong turns in foreign countries can be a little disconcerting when you don’t know your way around and don’t speak the language.

  • Danielle @ LabelsAreForTinCans December 3, 2013, 10:40 pm

    Oh and every time I’ve used a GPS I have always been led astray! Haha

  • Sara @ LovingOnTheRun December 3, 2013, 11:11 pm

    One time when I was in HS my family and I had planned a cruise. We got to the airport and our flight was canceled due to snow. My brother got on his phone and found us another flight out of SC so we got in the car and drove 4 hours to catch a plane to FL, but that was then delayed another 4 hours. As we were flying into FL not kidding we could see our ship pulling out of the dock. We got to the airport, rented a car, and drove all the way to the 2nd stop of our cruise ship and begged them to let us on a day late. It was a crazy trip but one we will never forget!

    • Jen December 4, 2013, 2:50 pm

      OMG! you’re so lucky they let you on! that’s CRAZY! i can’t believe you had to watch it sail away!

  • Ush December 3, 2013, 11:55 pm

    My craziest story was getting from a small town in NY to Seattle for a cruise to Alaska immediately after Hurricane Irene. My flights from NY to Seattle were canceled the day before our trip due to the hurricane aftermath, but my airline didn’t inform me. Luckily I was checking their website nonstop and noticed the cancellation right away, so I tried to change my flights online but the system was down. Then I tried to call the airline and they hung up! EVERY.SINGLE.TIME. There was a recorded message saying there were too many callers so they hung up. I finally had the idea of calling a partner airline who let me wait on hold for hours and I talked to someone who rescheduled us to fly to Seattle from Pittsburgh via Houston. We rented a car and drove 7 hours to Pitt and made it to Seattle in time for the cruise. The cruise was wonderful! On the way back, Hurricane Lee was hitting the east coast and we made it to Newark and three flights in a row back to my town were cancelled. The airline put us on a leaky bus and drove us back (4 hours). I got home and it had rained so much the last couple weeks with all the hurricanes that my town experienced massive flooding and destruction. My house was fine (it’s on a hill), but my workplace was completely destroyed as were houses of many people I knew.

    PS: The airline that kept hanging up was Continental and the partner airline I called that let me hold (which I never thought I would be grateful for) was United. United and Continental merged into United, if Continental still existed I would strongly recommend never flying them!

    • Jen December 4, 2013, 2:52 pm

      oh my god! that is so crazy. i’m so happy you still made the cruise. the odds were against you for sure!

  • Jordan Lynn: Life Between Lattes December 4, 2013, 1:33 am

    I’m glad you finally made it home alright. I have never been flagged for customs at the airport, but it doesn’t sound like an ideal experience.

    I once got trapped in Spain because of air strikes in France, and it took me 32 hours to get home. My flight was canceled. The only food options in the entire airport were ham and cheese sandwiches (I don’t eat meat or cheese). So, I alternated between chips and dark chocolate until I finally caved and ate a cheese sandwich, and I subsequently got sick while staying overnight in the Barcelona airport (super fun). But, I finally made it home safely, which is the important part! I had never been so happy to get back home to my flat! Sometimes I think traveling is just a lesson in patience. 🙂

    • Jen December 4, 2013, 2:52 pm

      oh you poor thing. being hungry, tired and displaced is the worst! glad you got home safely.

  • Tara | Treble in the Kitchen December 4, 2013, 5:52 am

    Just started reading Divergent 2 nights ago! I saw the preview before the second Hunger Games movie on Thanksgiving and decided I HAD to read it before that movie came out 🙂

  • Seo December 4, 2013, 6:03 am

    yikes, what a way to return from the nice fit time away at a beautiful location – but such a great example of how REAL life can get so quickly. welcome back and good job for making the best of it!

    • Jen December 4, 2013, 2:53 pm

      it’s true but the trip was so worth the travel trouble on the way home!

  • Matt @ Runner Savvy December 4, 2013, 6:09 am

    Wow that is a crazy day!

  • Sarah G December 4, 2013, 6:54 am

    OMG! I saw the trailer for the Divergent movie (coming in March I think?) when I went to see Hunger Games last week, so I finally picked up Divergent and read the whole thing in two and a half days. And then five minutes after I finished it I bought the next two books so I could keep reading. Can’t stop won’t stop reading!

    • Jen December 4, 2013, 2:53 pm

      that’s how i decided to read the book too!

  • Shay @ Whine Less, Breathe More December 4, 2013, 7:50 am

    I’m glad you made it home okay! My car wouldn’t start multiple times last week. Finally had to get a new battery. All good now!

    • Jen December 4, 2013, 2:54 pm

      having to deal with dead batteries is such a pain! it’s usually just worth it to suck it up and get a new battery!

  • Ashley @ Power, Love, and Self-Discipline December 4, 2013, 8:17 am

    Ah, so sorry about all of your troubles! And to think the trip started off so great with those INCREDIBLE views!!

    • Jen December 4, 2013, 2:54 pm

      it was still all worth it!

  • Whitney December 4, 2013, 8:38 am

    That’s crazy about the secondary questioning! My friend and I were flying out of FL back home from a wedding. She was flying back to ATL and I was headed back to CLT. After we went our separate ways she called me almost in tears and freaking out because they pulled her for questioning. She said they pulled her into another room and were just grilling her. It sounded very shady and scary! Glad you made it home safely!

    • Jen December 4, 2013, 2:55 pm

      yikes! yeah, those people don’t play around. which i guess i’m more grateful for than anything!

  • Parita @ myinnershakti December 4, 2013, 9:01 am

    I think all of our trips to India have been crazy in one way shape or form! I am so over flying – someone needs to invent a new way to travel STAT!!!

    And the Divergent series is amazing! The perfect travel books I just finished the last book and can’t wait for the movies to come out now!

    • Jen December 4, 2013, 2:55 pm

      haha, i agree. flying has definitely become more of a pain than anything else these days. yes, such good travel reads!

  • Brittany @ Proteinandpumps December 4, 2013, 9:12 am

    I’m glad you made it home safe! My craziest travel experiece was the last time I went to Dallas by myself. I overdid it with the bloody marys and woke up in the dallas airport with the WORST headache ever. I could barely see. it was after midnight and pitchblack when the GPS in my rental stopped working, both of my phones died, and I had NO IDEA where I was or where to go. I don’t even remember how I found my hotel but thankfully I did and immediately requested advil and water ; )

    • Jen December 4, 2013, 2:55 pm

      girl! that sounds AWFUL! i’m glad you made it to your hotel safely!

  • Jessica December 4, 2013, 9:58 am

    I’ve lived in Georgia for 6 years now and I still have never drove on the interstate…I refuse! I just know I will get lost and end up on the side of the road in fetal position having a panic attack lol

    • Jen December 4, 2013, 2:56 pm

      haha, yeah the downtown connector is a lot to navigate. especially in the rain at night!

  • Nicki December 4, 2013, 10:28 am

    So far, I’ve never personally had any bad experiences flying but my parents and younger brother have! Three years ago, my brother and I were flying back from a family trip to Jamaica. He got pulled aside for questioning (long-ish hair/beard/tattoos – talk about profiling!) and they wouldn’t let me even wait for him next to the room they put him in. I had no idea if he’d make the flight…but luckily they let him out just as our plane started boarding! He said the worst part was they just made him sit there for the majority of the time and the questions were fairly lax. Then last year, while we were all flying to Thailand from different airports, my parents’ flight out of Seattle had mechanical problems prior to even boarding so they cancelled and re-booked them on a flight 24 hours later. We were all supposed to meet at the Bangkok airport within two hours of all our flights landing – but it ended up just being my brother and I! Luckily we’re very savvy travelers and had all the details about where we were staying, our transportation pick up and extra documents so we just enjoyed 24 hours without our parents exploring a new city. (Though due to insane jetlag most of it was spent sleeping!)

    • Jen December 4, 2013, 2:56 pm

      wow, what a story. how was bangkok?

  • Liz Ford December 4, 2013, 12:30 pm

    Haha! Back in the day we were coming back from Orlando to New Orleans after a dance convention. It was a few of us in college that went, so we took turns with out teacher driving. The trip home is super easy .. FL, MS and LA! Well, we were all asleep but awoken when one of the girls said uhhhh … how are we in Georgia?!

    And welcome to the Divergent addiction! I just finished the third book (it came out last month). You are very lucky you don’t have to wait!! Each book ends with you dying to know what happens next 🙂

    • Jen December 4, 2013, 2:57 pm

      hahahaha! that’s priceless!

  • tara December 5, 2013, 1:07 pm

    wow that sounds horrible !! my dad used to say the point of travel was to make you appreciate home. the more i travel the more i know he is right. This is not a really bad story but one of the last times i traveled with a friend i had my liquids in a freezer bag. well i had no idea that a freezer bag is technically to big of a bag its not a quart which is in between freezer and sandwich size. mind you – how many times have i traveled with my liquids in that d*mn bag – tons ! and never had anyone say a peep. well the lady at the savannah airport stopped me at security and asked me if my liquids were mine and my friends. i didnt want to lie so i said no. she berated me in front of everyone for my oversized bag adn said i would need to throw things out if it wouldnt fit in a quart bag. Now….most of my liquids were actually souvenier type items i had bought at their very airport like savannah honey and small bbq sauce ! My friend on the other hand, well she carried on with full size liquids in her bag – not even in a ziplock – and with a HUGE water bottle in her suitcase half full. nothing happened to her at all as she sat laughing at me. I mean….i was trying to do the right thing and there she was drinking her huge water bottle right after security ! i hate air travel anymore.

    and you are right its very scary what “they” know about you now a days !

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