Having spent much time in Germany, I have some friends there, so after leaving Kiev, I headed to Frankfurt.  With the German Christmas markets in full swing and the crisp winter air enveloping the old city, my friend Gabi and I immersed ourselves in the holiday spirit, exploring the local malls, food markets, and, of course, the captivating Christmas markets. I love Christmas and there is nothing like savoring the magical ambiance that permeated the streets of Frankfurt. The Christmas markets, brimming with delightful treats and handcrafted treasures, beckoned us with their charm. We wandered through the stalls, immersing ourselves in the joyful atmosphere and partaking in the festivities that surrounded us. A visit to the local mall and a bustling food market added to our exploration of the vibrant German holiday traditions.

I awoke one morning with a sudden determination to return to the States. With limited time and options, I discovered a morning Space-A flight departing from Ramstein, a military base located less than two hours away. To catch this flight, I would have to present myself ready, and marked “present” not later than 9AM. Quickly, I boarded the train to Landstuhl via Mannheim, attempting to catch the flight and continue my journey homeward.

Upon arriving in Landstuhl at 8:42, I hastily hailed a cab, stressing the urgency of reaching the airbase terminal by 9:00. The cabbie, understanding the time-sensitive nature of my request, navigated through the congested morning traffic, racing against the clock. The large base was bustling with the morning work commute, further adding to the challenge. With each passing minute, my anticipation grew.

I stepped into the airbase terminal, joining a short line of fellow travelers. Time seemed to accelerate as the seconds ticked away. At 8:58, just as the tension reached its peak, my name was called, marking the last person to be “present” for the outbound flight. Behind me, a few unfortunate individuals were denied boarding, their hopes of joining the journey dashed by the unforgiving cutoff time. This experience reminded me of the resilience required for travel. 

Throughout my trip, I had encountered tight connections and moments of frenzy. Yet, these experiences served as reminders to embrace the unpredictability of travel.  As I bid farewell to Frankfurt, leaving behind the enchantment of the German Christmas markets and the festive ambiance of the city, I realized my growing travel experiences were instilling in me resilience and the ability to adapt to unforeseen circumstances. With a sense of satisfaction and a newfound appreciation for spontaneity, I boarded the plane, ready to embrace the next chapter of my journey home.

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