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The Story: Airport Mishaps & Gratitude En Route to Costa Rica

November 16, 2018
by Sydney Stocksdale

It was time to get out of my own comfort zone and venture out to the great outdoors. Even if those “great outdoors” were thousands of miles away. 

For me, going abroad presented an opportunity to embrace a different culture from the inside, instead of viewing it from afar. Back at home, I remember pondering the fact that there is so much out there! A total of 195 countries, to be exact, that were worth exploring. Now, being a student and having this broad vision of exploration, it isn’t always easy. However, thanks to very supportive friends and advisers, I was able to put a plan into action. 

Walking into my first study abroad meeting was exhilarating. There were alumni students who came in and expressed their immense passion for travel. This continued to fuel the fire for my curiosity. After the meeting, I made an appointment with my advisers instantly. Going in, I didn’t have a set destination. However, we did a lot of pros/cons and yeas/nays, which allowed Costa Rica to stand out from the rest. After deciding upon a destination, the countdown began!  

*Cue three months' worth of countless research and working hours* 

The time had finally come!  

I was a day away from boarding a flight to Costa Rica.  

Now, for those who don’t know, I would highly recommend bringing two suitcases total (carry-on + one piece of luggage). Prior to my arrival, I was beyond nervous about whether two bags would be two many or too few. I'm here now to say that two bags is perfect!  

I did encounter one major setback at the airport, which had much to do with my carry-on.  

Since I don’t travel very often, I didn’t initially know all the safety precautions regarding carry-ons, including the rule about no more than 3 Fl. oz. bottles.  

This minor problem of packing my shampoo and conditioner in my carry-on bag resulted in me missing my 6 a.m. flight! 

Once I ran into the security area, I had to go back in line two different times in an effort to get my bag cleared. A solid 30 minutes passed during this ordeal due to the high volume of fellow travelers checking in. Hence, my missed flight! 

At first, I laughed, then broke down. I didn’t think I was going to make it to Costa Rica, and better yet, study abroad! All these negative thoughts scrambled into my head.  

A cupcake -- yes, a cupcake -- saved the day. A flight attendant noticed I was upset so she brought me this treat and shared kind words with me, expressing her apologies for the mishap.  

Guiding me to customer service, she booked a ticket for me on the next flight to Costa Rica. With a huge smile and a pat on the back, she wished me luck for my travels and told me all would be well, and to just "keep on going; you will get there."

Those simple words restored my hope and confidence for my adventures ahead.  

In better words, even when there are setbacks, major or minor, stay hopeful -- for there have been people in those same exact shoes who are eager to help. 

The cupcake that may not have saved my flight, but sure did save the day. 


The anticipation hits!! So close. 

Sydney Stocksdale is the Fall 2018 CEA MOJO Blogger in San Jose, Costa Rica, and is currently studying at University of Southern Indiana.
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