Newly added to the list of Nightmare Scenarios for Travelers: “Stranded for days due to Icelandic volcano eruption.”
And I thought my holiday train woes back in December were bad. Turns out they were nothing compared to the recent (and in many cases, on-going) experience of thousands of travelers who have been stuck in place ever since Eyjafjallajökull decided to spew ash over much of Europe. The cost, stress, and disappointment of canceled plans that resulted from this volcanic activity are enough to make any traveler – even one not currently stuck on the road – weep.
Is there a silver lining in all of this airspace mayhem? I liked how New York Times Op-Ed Contributor Seth Stevenson heralded an "Escape From the Jet Age," by reveling in the scenery we can enjoy and the people we come across when not cruising at 30,000 feet. And when I heard that even President Obama’s all-mighty Air Force One couldn’t fly to Poland due to the ash, I thought it was a nice reminder that no matter who we are, no matter how much access, power, or money we have, we are all at the mercy of Mother Nature.
Of course, it’s easy to look for a silver lining from the comfort of your own unaffected-by-ash home. It would be more interesting to know what (if any) silver linings stranded travelers themselves have been able to find. In any case, I hope if you went to Paris for vacation, and now find yourself stuck there because of the volcano, that you'll quickly head to the nearest café, order a carafe of French wine, and reflect on those who are less fortunate than yourself. Think about those who are stuck trying to get to the French capital, and have, unlike yourself, been denied the perfectly divine pleasure of enjoying Paris on a beautiful Spring day.