Travelblog: Stranded in London Update

It’s over. There’s no way out of the United Kingdom. A friend took his scooter down to the Eurostar office in London and found a line 200 people long in front of it. By the time he would have reached the front of the line there would not have been a single space on any train. I can’t drive out because I’d need to take a ferry or book a spot on a train for the car out of this large island. The ferry ride is very long and the drive would make it longer. It would make more practical sense to take the next available flight out of London, which is Tuesday, April 20. I’ve made my reservation on that flight now. I’m stuck in London for four extra days. I can only hope that the winds are in my favor and that the volcanic ash will allow me to leave on the 20th.

I’m absolutely heart-broken. I travel all the time. But I organize my home and work schedules very delicately around all my travels. Now that it’s disrupted, my home and work schedules are also disrupted.

Most importantly at home, two of my children needed my help in their studies as their final exams near. They were so happy that I was actively involved in their studies. Now I’ve left them alone to fend for themselves. Their aunt is staying and will help out. But they still need their mother.

My work schedule has gone all a muck as well. I’ll need to seriously consider cancelling a business trip to Italy in May because of what this trip now has done to the children. After this, there is no way I can jump on a plane in less than three weeks to come back to Europe. No way.

Regardless of all this, I’m going to try to forget everything and have a nice day in London. It’s beautiful out this sunny Saturday morning. I’ve been to London several times but have never had the time to do some sightseeing. Perhaps this is a sign from the Gods that it’s about time to get on with it and see the sights of London.


  1. Dear Nadia,
    I was joking about your being stuck in London, too, but I easily understand what it means for you losing control of your ability to keep up with your family while having a very intense professional life.
    I have one suggestion (matybe idiotic): you may arrange skype video sessions with your kids so to spend *with them* a few hours while they study.

    I have read about families in which one of the parents lived in a different city most of the week (or was divorced) in which a computer in the house was basically always on a Skype videoconference when someone was at home.
    I don’t know if this fits you, but maybe it’s worth a try.

    As for the trip to Italy, I’d be very sorry if you had to cancel: maybe you might bring one or two of the children with you (if their exams are done): very close to Erice – which is wonderful in itself – there’s a marvellous beach where you can find plenty of occasions for scuba diving, among other things.

    Ciao e buona fortuna!

  2. Dear Nadia,

    Having come to London for the same meeting as you, I now share the same predicament of being held hostage by a coughing volcano whose name we can’t even pronounce – Eyjaffjalljokull (Of all the volcanoes itching to let out their frustrations, why did this one have to be the one?)

    I empathise with you on being away from family and seeing your delicately balanced work-home schedule being disrupted. But as I just tweeted, as disasters go, volcanic ash is very disruptive but low casualty. I’d rather be caught in this than a quake/tsunami (trust me, I’ve seen what the latter can do to travellers).

    I’m a bit luckier than you that I’m held hostage in London with my daughter, 13. But you know how demanding energetic teenagers are – I was exhausted by the end of our first day of sight-seeing; she was still going, like the Energizer bunny….

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