I’m a terrible organizer and very stingy in my travel expenses so on my trip to France I spent 33 hours on 2 planes, 3 trains, a bus, and a car before arriving at camp.
As the journey progress, each mode of transportation grew shorter. The first plane, from JFK to Istanbul on Turkish Air was ten hours. Thankfully they started the trip with Turkish delight to sweeten the hours and dozed the time between bad sleep and surprisingly good airplane food. In Istanbul I had to run to my gate when they changed it from number 223 where I was sleeping to number 305 on the opposite side of the airport. I realized the switch when I tried to board a flight to Turkestan.
The second flight to Geneva was only three hours. I put my hoodie on backwards and woke up with ears popping, not upon landing, but when the plane finished its taxi and the crowd surged for their carry-on.
From Geneva Airport I took a seven minute train to the city center and switched for a TGV train going to Lyon. The train was on time departing but just as we were about to reach the city it stopped, sat for twenty minutes, announced that there was a fire “above the tracks” somewhere ahead, and started going backwards. It took three hours to find its way around the track fire and among the other confused train traffic into Lyon Part Dieu (the main train station) where I had already missed my next train connection.
I caught the next train to Marseille which was suspiciously empty amid the hustle of an overcrowded station dealing with dozens of late and suspended trains. An hour and a half later I was in Montelimar where I quickly purchased a ticket for the last bus of the evening, leaving at 9:25. As I was leaving the train I realized that none of my three tickets were checked by a conductor.
After a kebab and a struggle to stay awake I boarded the bus in the dark, promptly fell asleep in the back and woke up in Vallon Pont D’Arc where Julien, our program manager picked me up and drove us the last five minutes to camp.
Exhausted, I swam down into the bottom of a deep, dark sleep.