They say you should never say "never". Well I said it about two years ago.
"I will never leave the country. I do not want to travel outside the United States, it is just asking for trouble."
Technically I had been to Canada. But walking across the border to do a bit of shopping, in my mind, does not qualify as being "in country". My next qualifier for out of country would be Hawaii. Several years ago I got to visit the island on business. Yes I understand it is one of our states, but it is not like you can get in your car and drive over for the weekend now is it? Plus they have a rich heritage and culture that is a bit different than most of ours in the continental states.
I should have known my comment would come back to haunt me. After a happenstance meeting and a few discussions later, I was booked on a plane to Beijing. Well if you are going to go, might as well go big right?
Longest flight evar. Detroit to Beijing was a gazillion hours long. The food served on Devil airlines was exactly what you would imagine food microwaved to within a second of bursting into flames, in small plastic containers, prepared by people who also like to sew, that was left sitting in a larger container out on a concrete desert for a few days would taste like.
Why do I call them "Devil" airlines? They lie. The only words they speak that are trustworthy is "Now boarding". Our original flight plans were from Atlanta to Tokyo to Beijing. This would have been cool since I have never been to Japan. But due to "extreme mechanical issues" with the equipment the estimated 5 hour delay would have caused us to miss our connecting flight in Tokyo. So they routed us to Detroit then to Beijing. Cool right - at least it is a direct flight. You can sleep on the plane right? Devil airlines will be sure to transfer your luggage to the plane you are flying on right?
We arrived in Beijing before the sun went down, but it sure felt like two or three days past. The gift provided us by Devil airlines for traveling with them - no luggage. Ever been a foreign country with no luggage? OK then. But have you ever been in a foreign country with no luggage during a tropical storm? Thank you it was horrible. My traveling companions, by the time we all got our luggage, had been wearing the same clothes for 4 days. We started our trip on Thursday morning. We got our luggage Monday morning at 1 am.
If I could give you people one practical piece of advice - always take a change of clothes and a travel size deodorant with you on the plane no matter where you are traveling. I do on every trip.