After a delightful summer vacation in Greece and Croatia, it’s time to pack the carry-on and head back to Munich to celebrate Lisa’s eldest child becoming a teenager… but sometimes life (or your dodgy airline) throws a spanner in the works and you end up in a different place (quite literally) than you’d planned.
But it’s how you navigate these moments that matters. Lisa shares how she navigated the night of travel hell.
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Prefer to read? Access the transcript here.
If you follow along on socials, And in particular, you you watch the stories that I share on Instagram, then you will have seen that there was quite the Event. As we were flying out of Croatia and back to Germany, I wanted to talk to you a little bit about This, I’ll give you the quick details of what actually happened.
But more than that, I wanna tell you how I frame things in my head, and I I use the choice that I have to do that to help get me through. There was a lot that became obvious to me about how I’ve grown and changed over the years when everything was going down, but also how very, very human our responses are to these situations. So to give you some background, we’ve just spent this time in Greece, as you know, and then and then we’re in Croatia. It was kind of like our, summer holiday, you know, beach holiday vibes part of the trip, and it was just the best. It delivered And then some. We’ve just had the most fabulous few weeks. But a while ago, before I booked that trip, We made a decision to be back for my son’s 13th birthday. So it’s a big celebration.
And he’s been looking forward to it, and we thought, let’s be back at Tony Ann’s house with her kids and husband Somewhere where he feels really comfortable, I can make sure that I’ve got the presents sorted for him, and he can wake up and feel Like, there’s a really big celebration. And we had organized for the families to go to Oktoberfest on his birthday to go on all the rides and all of that sort of thing as a really cool birthday event. So I decided to fly us home the day before, and I could get a flight out of Split, which is not a huge airport, direct to Munich, which was just wonderful. On the Sunday night, And I said to the kids, you know, it’s a 9:55 at night flight, so we’ll be getting back about quarter past 11. We’ll be in bed by midnight, hopefully. We’re taking carry on. We didn’t have to wait for bags. All that sort of stuff was really easy.
So The kids thought that that was completely thrilling. I already knew they were probably gonna wake up tired on his birthday, but doesn’t matter. You know, we could be there. The adrenaline of the day would get them through. So that was fabulous, and I I booked it through probably through Skyscanner, which is where I’ve been searching for flights. And I didn’t recognize the name of the airline, but it was legit. It was I mean, I could book a flight and it All, you know, happened, and we got confirmation and all that sort of stuff. So we had a wonderful final day in Split.
We actually got the a ferry across to the island of Brauch, and they did this water play thing. And we’re in the beach, and I didn’t want to really get wet and go in the beach and be flying that night and all of that sort of stuff, so I stayed out of the water. It was only about 22 degrees that day anyway. Well, we had a really, really nice day and then headed to the airport, got there, And we couldn’t the booking thing didn’t work. My booking confirmation number didn’t work. I went to the woman, and she just took our passports and popped us on the flight. So it was no problem, and we’re just waiting around.
And then we saw that there was a change to the, Arrival time in Munich oh, the leaving time. So instead of 9:55, there was no announcement made to us. It just came up on the Screen that the new departure time was 10 past 11. Oh, dear. That’s not great. Look. It’s only an hour. They’ve got their Ipads.
They’re just Watching things, they’re getting a little bit tired, but, you know, we’ll get through this. And I told Tony not to pick us up from the airport. We’d just get an Uber because I wasn’t sure what was happening with this flight. So then there was a change of gate that we noticed, So we went to the new gate, and then because they announced that and said there’s a new gate for the flight to Munich. It’s now gate Or so everyone sort of got up, and we went over. And it was sort of I mean, it was kind of 20 minutes before we were leaving, so I thought, well, this is obviously them calling us to the gate. Let’s jump on the flight, but that didn’t happen. Everyone was just standing around in a line, and there was kinda nothing going on.
And then people would appear and then they disappear again, and I just didn’t know what was going on. And then there was just everyone. Started sort of talking and murmuring, and there was activity. And I noticed that the screen had changed again, And it wasn’t to do with departure time, which had well and truly gone by then. It was that the flight now said Split to Munich via Nuremberg. I thought, okay. That’s interesting. Now what’s happening here? And this lovely woman who I I don’t know. Let’s just call her Angel because that’s what she felt like.
Angel played a very important role in this whole thing. She was the very first person I spoke to at the airport, and she was the very last person I spoke to when we were jumping off the train, get set for that in Munich. So Angel just Was looking at her phone, and she could obviously see me looking a bit confused and looking at my 3 children and thinking, what the heck? And I said to her, Do you know what’s happening here? And she said, well, we can’t land in Munich Airport between 12 And midnight and 5 AM. So they’re obviously redirecting us to land in Nuremberg, And then we’ll have to get to Munich after 5 AM because it was too late. And I was singing, is this for real? What? Hang on. No. This can’t be right. Anyway, I went up and spoke to someone, and she said, like, at the counter, and they were just people from Split Airport.
They weren’t actually from this airline. And I said, I’m sorry. What’s actually happening here? I’ve got my 3 kids, and it’s kinda late. What’s the plan? So do we swap planes at Nuremberg? And she Said, well, no. What the airline has told us is that you will now be flying to Nuremberg, And there will be a shuttle bus waiting for you to drive you. It’s about 200 kilometers down to Munich Airport. They’re asking me, we’re gonna arrive there. Like, what time? Because it was sort of it was pushing midnight.
Like, it was probably about 20 to 12, And I thought, well, we’re not gonna get there till after 1. What? I mean, I’m gonna have my kids on a bus In the middle of the night, and then we’re just gonna be dumped there, and then I’ve still gotta get back to Tony Ann’s house. And I was starting to kinda think This is not ideal. And so I said, well, could we just get a hotel, and the airport pays for a hotel instead of Having to to travel, and she said, look. I can’t give you any more information. That’s all that they’ve told us. I was just sort of confounded by this whole We ended up boarding the plane and then found out the reason why it’s Delayed. We stayed on the tarmac, I’d say, another half an hour because then they needed to refuel.
And then they said, you know, some of our Staff had been working for 12 hours, and we can’t have them working longer than a 12 hour shift. We would get trouble from the regulators, and I’m Who are these people? What kind of situation is this? And one of my kids is a very nervous flyer, and she’s feeling very nervous. Like, these people don’t know what they’re doing. This is not feeling safe. Marabu was the name of the airline. It turned out that We got away, but I asked 1 of the flight attendants. I said, look. I’ve got these 3 kids, and they’re super tired.
Can you confirm what’s happening at the other side? And he said, well, we don’t know, but there will be ground staff Helping you there. Apparently, there will be a bus waiting for you, and I said, I don’t know if I want a bus. I wanna get my kids to a hotel room Because Angel, as we were walking down to the plane, said you need to look at the Rights of EU passengers in Europe, flight passengers. And you need to see that We could all get compensated for a hotel, for food, and all of that sort of stuff. So I looked on the website, and I could absolutely see, you know, if there was more than a 2 hour delay, this and this and this, if there’s more of a 4 hour delay. Well, I’m like, we’re actually being dropped in the wrong freaking city. Surely, they would cover the costs of that. Anyway, by the time we arrived at Nuremberg, I’d actually asked that same Guy, if the captain would be able to do a little shout out to my son who was turning 13 at midnight.
Right? And so I’ve got a photo of him at 11:59, and then I’ve got a photo of him at Midnight, like, the minute he turned 13, and then he crashed, like, went to sleep. And I’d asked this guy to announce happy birthday. So I had to get my daughter, who was absolutely not sleeping, to wake him up to hear the announcement. Then the plane cheered, and he was so embarrassed, but really tickled pink. Anyway, he went back to sleep for a little bit, and then We landed in Nuremberg. And because we just had our carry on luggage, we were one of the first to go through. And I was just looking around for the person And to tell us about this bus or was I gonna get a hotel? I wasn’t sure. And there was nothing.
There was absolutely Nothing. A lot of people were still waiting for their bags, and some people were walking outside. And I went and looked. No, no bus there. No one from the airline there. Surely, They’d be kinda waiting for us to tell us what was going on. There must be information, but there just didn’t really seem to be. And the kids were kinda looking at me like, what’s happening, mom? Out of their brains tired.
And it’s about 1:30 in the morning at this stage. Went to the airport information desk, and I said to the man, hey. Look. We’ve just come in on the flight from Split, and we’re meant to be in Munich. And, apparently, there’s a shuttle bus. I’m just not sure what’s happening here. And he said, yes. The airline has informed us, so there was no one from the airline there, that there is no bus, that There is a train to Munich at 4:52 AM From, like, the central station in Nuremberg, and they will cover the cost of that train trip, but Not that the cost of the taxi to get there, if you get a taxi.
If you get the local Train. They’ll cover that. And I’m thinking, is this actually for real? Is this some sort of weird, crazy nightmare? And I said, look. I’m traveling with my 3 children on my own. I’m also considering getting a hotel. And I said, I checked, and there is an airport hotel. And he said, yes. This would be a good idea.
So I said, okay. I went off, and I said to the kids you know, I explained to them that we have a few choices. And then I realized I went to book the hotel, but because it was sort of I mean, it was pretty much 2 o’clock by this stage, and I couldn’t book that night via the apps because it was it had tripped over into being the next day, you know, like Booking .com and all of those sorts of things. So I could only book for the following night. It was a new day, and so I couldn’t Make a booking for that night, so I went back to the information, and he was so kind to me. He said, I came to look for you. Do you want me to help you find a hotel? And I said, yes. I do because I can’t book 1 on my own.
So he called the airport Hotel, no rooms. He said there’s another one in the city. It will be good. He called them. No rooms. And he said, I’m having trouble because there’s a special fair happening in Nuremberg right now, and there’s no accommodation available. But I will keep trying, and There was a line behind me of people who were also very confused and wanting help and asking questions. And I said, please help these other people, And then he did, and then he kept trying.
And I reckon he tried 4 or 5 hotels, and there was nothing. I the kids, I had sort of, You know, put them all in this kind of corner, and they were just kind of like, what’s happening with mom? And in that moment, if there was a shaky moment, it was then. It was because I knew I was gonna have to told them, we’re not going to a hotel. I said to him, just stop trying. I you have done an amazing thing. Thank you for trying, And I think we’re just gonna have to power through this. I mean, by this stage, it was about, you know, 2:30. Quarter to 3, I got the kids some McDonald’s just to put some food in their tummy.
I went back to them and I said, look. We aren’t going to be staying in a hotel. We will be catching the train at 4:52. Let’s all go over behind this counter, and You can lie down and have a sleep before we have to head to the train station. And I knew in that moment, I had to be I had to be the one who was confident in the plan. They would just follow along, and they did. Bless them. They got Comfortable on the ground.
My middle child, my daughter, did not sleep a wink. She ended up sort of on me, and I was trying to get her to sleep. And she just started to do the body twitching thing, you know, when they’re starting to go to sleep and the alarm went off. Because I’d set an alarm in case I dozed off up against the wall because we had to get ourselves to the train station. I decided to stay Behind this car rental counter at the airport because it was warm. It was 7 degrees outside, and we did not come. We did not go on our little beach trip with carry on luggage with winter gear. We each had a windshield, and that Was it we’re all in shorts and skirts.
So they slept maybe 45 minutes an hour, the 2 of them, and the other one still hadn’t Slept a wink and neither had I. And it was 4 AM. The train was leaving at 4:55. I got us in a taxi, And we got to the central station, had to buy the tickets. I was just really hoping that what I was buying was the right thing, And then, of course, the kids needed to go to the toilet. And on the way to the toilet, we saw Angel. And I said, oh my gosh. Okay.
So we’re in the right place. This is the right four fifty two train, and she said yes. And she looked at my ticket, and she made sure it was the right thing. She was she’s local, to Munich. And I said, great. She said, just stick with me, and I’ll get us to the right track. And then I said, you know, we would then be getting the s 8 train out to where we’re staying. And she said, well, I get the s 8, but in the opposite direction.
So I’ll make sure you’re on the right platform. I was like, you are so kind. And she said, your kids are great, and, And, you know, they’re doing so well. By this stage, they were just, lying on the floor of the train station just Holding it together, I’d bought them some Bretson, you know, the German pretzels bread pretzels, And they’re just kind of munching on that just to keep them going. And then, of course, that train was delayed. So we thought we’re getting on it Just at 5, no, it was in 5:30, and those little bits were just they just mattered because they were really just holding on. So was I. Hadn’t slept a wink.
So we ended up getting on this train, walking through Angel, and she was with another guy. They sort of Went one direction. We went another direction to try and find seats. There was no reserved seating, and the train was absolutely packed full of Asleep people who were often taking up 2 seats. We walked the length of the train, could not find a seat, walked back the other way. And When we were walking back, we saw these Irish guys who I’d actually been talking to in the airport. We were all trying to figure out like, it was chaos. We’re all just trying to figure out what the heck was going on, what our choices were, because the other thing that I tried to do was just book us an Uber. It was gonna cost €300 to get to Munich, and I was kind of that desperate. But I thought that, you know what, the airline can reimburse that because this is not fair.
I need to get My children, asleep. This is just a horrible but, of course, no Ubers were coming, and they were not coming at that time of night to go that kind of distance. So it kept timing out, and then it was just saying nothing’s available. Oh god. Anyway, I was talking to them about it because they were like, maybe we hire a big, big, you know, bus kind of thing and take your stuff, which you really No one knew what to do. And they were on the train, and they had just sort of sat down, and there were a few seats around them, but not enough. And they got up out of their seats and said, hey. You guys should sit here.
You’ve got the kids. And I said, no. But I don’t know if there’s any other seats For you, we can just find a little spot and sit down, and you said no. That they were like, no. You sit down with your children. Everyone was Sitting next to someone else, which my kids, you know I mean, they don’t want, especially that time of night with that level of sensitivity, but they were so tired. They just couldn’t So it was an hour and a half maybe on the train. We arrived at 7, and I slept for probably about half an hour.
Just yeah. There’s just they just Crashed the poor things and then had to get up again, and I thought, no. I’m not doing the train to Tony’s house. We are getting in a taxi and getting there as fast as we can. So as we were walking off, of course, we were on the platform, and who did we see, but Angel? And she said, you made it. And I said, only just. And she said, k. Do you need help getting to the train? And I said, no.
I’m gonna put them in a taxi. And she said, I think that that’s a great idea. And, you know, we’d had a big chat at, Nuremberg train station, and I found out a bit about her, and she found out a bit about me. And it was just like She just carried me through. She was just a person who was just there for me to, like, lean on a little bit, Get instructions from, get clarity, and I was so grateful to her. I was just really grateful and the guy at Information, and then the Irish guys who gave us their seat. You know, young guys didn’t have to just kindness everywhere. And then we got in his taxi, and He had no idea, you know, the address, but he popped it in his thing, and off we went.
He was a Nigerian man. He was actually Grandfather of 5 heard a bit about his story and why he moved to Germany, and I’m, like, basically unable to use words. At this time, it’s 7 AM. I’ve had half an hour’s sleep, and he said, Where’s your husband? And I said, oh, actually, he died. He oh my god. Oh god. Oh my god. I am so sorry. And, oh, dear Dear god, please take care of this woman and her children, and he’s talking like this.
And he was so kind, You know, just sort of chatting away. And then we got to Tony Ann’s house, and he came and he said, you know, wonderful kids, and And, you know, he’d found out that it was my son’s birthday, paid for the fare, and then he was getting our bags out. And then he just said he put his hand out to my son, and he said happy birthday, my boy, and he put €10 in his hand. I mean, by this day, I just looked at that, and I just I said, that is so kind, and And he couldn’t believe it. He that he’d received €10 from this random taxi driver, and I just he just he was very gracious And said thank you, and I just looked at this man and thought, wow. I have just had so much kindness. A stowed on me on this trip. That was a total shit show, and people are so kind.
And we walked inside, and and Tonie had done a big thirteen with balloons, and all his presents for wrapped, and she’d made what I was going to be making for his birthday breakfast, which was crepes with Nutella, And and it was just beautiful, and I I just cried because I was so relieved to be there and also Just the kindness and compassion people had showed us. It was out of this world. You know, we got through the day. We went to Oktoberfest, or we actually had a Sleep first got everyone up and went to Oktoberfest, and it was just so fun. With my boy. We went and had beautiful meal in the lowen brow. Be attentive, the music And the singing and, you know, how wonderful. And I was thinking today, and I just thought that’s why I’m recording this podcast, that There were a few big things that came out of that for me, and one of them was the extraordinary power that mothers have to get their children through things and how much Our children feed off our energy, and I’ve noticed that a lot on this trip.
I mean, we’re together all the time. They’re probably seeing more of me than they ever have before, me in different situations. And I just thought that Our ability to navigate tricky things just it never ceases to surprise me. It is actually quite extraordinary, and I was pleased with how I navigated it and pleased with How they did. And I think it’s only a result if that happened on the 1st week of the trip, it would have been a very, very different story. But we’ve All built up this ability to go with the flow. Our family motto, I said it about a 100 times. I’m like, at this point, guys, we just have to go with Flow.
We have no control now. We need to just get to where we need to go, and we need to just do it as well as we can. And where everyone’s tired, everyone’s over it, and we’re going with the flow. Look at us. And the other thing that really Came through for me was that it was how I was choosing to talk about it. It was a story that I was creating for us as we went. That was powerful, and you know I’m all about that. I mean, we often look back on things, and there’s A story to it.
We give things stories. We give things meaning. It’s what we do. Someone else could have interpreted what happened completely differently to me. And I knew I was in control of the narrative for myself and for my children, and I started to talk about it like this big, crazy adventure. You know, I’d use words like random, like, not disaster, not horrible, not and it wasn’t actually Discounting that it was tricky and hard. You know? I was like, this is not easy, you guys, but this is going to be an adventure. You’ve never stayed up this Like, it’s gonna be so interesting to see how we go tomorrow.
This is the power that we have as Parents were as narrators of the story. I loved how we turned it all around together. I loved that we could all I think each of them were just kinda experiencing it in their own ways, but we kind of Flipped it. We made it into something that could be a really great story to tell. For my son, for sure, he was feeling like the birthday that he imagined in his head was just, you know, turning to shit. And I said, you know, I know that this is not what you expected, and I know that that must feel really, really tricky. But what if it’s gonna be even better than what you imagined? Maybe. I mean, we could just put that out there. And I said, Who gets McDonald’s, which, unfortunately, they think is a huge treat, on their birthday at 2 AM? I mean, it’s like a midnight it’s like the ultimate midnight snack.
It’s like, yeah. Yeah. Yeah. And I knew that I could tell myself a story about this being a total disaster. I could tell myself a story that it’s really hard when you’re on your own. I could have gone down all those paths, and I just thought I chose to travel. I chose this. I booked this flight.
This is how it’s Turned out, I’m not gonna go down that path. I’m just gonna go down the path of I’m here now, and I have what it takes to get us through, and I did. And this is the thing about the choices that we have about the stories that we’re telling ourselves. What was I gonna make this mean? You know, it just was happening. It was the situation. And I could either try and help my kids get, you know, little pockets of sleep. I could either sit down and cry, which would also have been totally fine. I did get I got shaky at one point.
But I just think always we have this choice to control the narrative. I chose to make it be a random adventure. I chose to make it into something that might be funny to talk about later where We’re eating Bretson on a random floor of a railway station in a city we weren’t even meant to visit. I made it into a story of my son’s 13th birthday, he could tell the story that he was in 3 different cities on the same day. Sometimes that shift of perspectives, sometimes just knowing that you can create the meaning that you wanna give Something is a really powerful thing. Obviously, that’s the work I do in the change method. If you haven’t accessed that program, I really would highly recommend you do because not everything can be changed by choosing what we tell ourselves about It’s not about denying the reality, and it’s not about just focusing on the positive and not seeing the negative. But Oftentimes, we actually can do that.
And when we realize that we have the power and the choice to do that, Life feels better. It just undeniably does. There’s interpretations that we could make about all sorts of things, About literally everything. When we realize that life is happening, but the meaning we give things is really what makes it either it makes it what it is in our memories, For other people, it impacts the emotions that we bring to it. I mean, if I was like, this is just horrible. Here I am stranded in a city. It was annoying as fuck. It was really not ideal.
I was angry more than anything else, and I think anger is just something very good to feel. I think all emotions are good to feel, But we also have the power to craft the interpretation and the meaning that we give things sometimes, And I chose to do that this time, and it was helpful. It was. And it still is now. As we you know, the next day, just kind of sitting here feeling we’re all feeling a little bit hungover. I mean, battered and bruised from the whole experience, but we’re okay. And that’s the story. I was not a victim of that circumstance. I was experiencing it and navigating it as best I could, and we got through.
I could see in that moment, in the way that I dealt with it, what just life and different experiences and building that resilience muscle can give to you. And also how knowing that in the moment, I am looking at this and I am experiencing it, and I am going to choose how I’m gonna talk to my kids about it and talk to myself in my head about it. That is that’s personal power. I haven’t I guess, I haven’t seen it in action as clearly as I have for a little while. But it’s really sort of how I live and how we all get to live. And that’s why I teach about stories. That’s why I teach about, you know, what’s happening under the surface and the way we’re talking to and the meaning that we give things craft so much about how we move through life. That’s why I love that program, The Change Method.
You can check it out via the link The bio, if you like, and as always, I’m encouraging you to Look at yourself. Like, what have you experienced lately that you might have been able to totally catastrophe and you did it? That’s you choosing the narrative. Now I’m gonna go for a little afternoon sleep maybe, because that’s what the moment calls for. And I am not going to out narrative. The fact we’re tired today, we’re taking it very easy. I hope you’re well and enjoyed this, This little part of the adventure. See you soon.
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