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  • Writer's pictureBenjamin Schilaty

Coast to Coast: Maine to New York

My mom, Lindsay, and I said farewell to Laura in a Chipotle parking lot in Bangor, Maine. We parted  ways in a restaurant parking lot last summer, too so it’s kind of becoming our thing. Laura headed off to Vermont while the three Schilatys went to Acadia National Park. Lindsay and I made our mom hike Gorham Mountain and she did it like a champ. When we’d praise her for conquering a mountain at 67 she would say, “I’m a tough, old bird.”

After leaving Maine we drove to Cape Cod and we made my mom ride an eight mile bike loop which, in hindsight, was probably not the best idea. Since she had hiked a mountain no problem I thought a nice leisurely bike ride would be a piece of cake. However, it was way hotter than we had anticipated and the hills were much larger than expected and we nearly killed her. But she survived and didn’t complain at all.

I also got to meet up with Marcie Glad in Cambridge. She is now one of my few friends who I have seen in four different states. She took me on a tour of Harvard and entertained me with her wit and stories for two hours.

The next day my mom and sister flew home from Boston and I took a bus to New York to spend the weekend with my friends Josh and Kelsee. Kelsee is doing a rotation with her company in New York and they live in an awesome apartment in the middle of Manhattan. After spending so much time in rural areas being in Manhattan was super-cool. While I like fields and stuff, seeing buildings and people and cars everywhere is kind of invigorating (I know, so very extroverted of me). I also enjoyed being in places that are mentioned on the Newsies soundtrack (you know, like Uptown, Grand Central Station, or City Hall). I really like the city and Josh and Kelsee took me to the most delicious restaurants. Everything we ate was so good. They also took me to the beach on Saturday which I didn't realize was even a thing in New York. They were fantastic hosts and their couch is superb. 

Yesterday as I was getting ready to leave for the airport I got an email informing me that my flight had been cancelled. I immediately called Southwest and after being on hold for 30 minutes I talked to a really nice women who told me the earliest flight to Tucson I could take would be on Thursday – in four days! This news was a little overwhelming. I offered that maybe they could fly me to Phoenix sooner and after being on hold for a few more minutes the nice woman on the phone had found me a flight to Phoenix for the next day (which is today). She then told me that I would have to pay $390 for the difference in ticket price. My first reaction was shock that I would be asked to pay anything and then when she insisted that the fee could not be waived I asked to talk to her manager.

The manager sounded quite annoyed when we first spoke. She explained that they could refund my ticket and I could just purchase another flight myself. I told her that that was unreasonable since I had purchased the ticket months before and buying a last minute flight would be way more expensive than the ticket I had purchased. I told her that I was already very inconvenienced by the flight cancelation, that flying into Phoenix was also inconvenient, and that I wouldn't pay to fix a problem that I had created. She then offered to waive the fee and booked the flight to Phoenix for me all while making it sound like she was doing me a huge favor. When I got off the phone I wrote a well-worded email to Southwest. 

I was pretty annoyed after the phone call, but I calmed down and managed to enjoy my unplanned extra day in New York. And I'm super-excited to finally be going home. After seven weeks of traveling I've been to eight new states (South Dakota, Minnesota, Indiana, Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Connecticut) and five new provinces (Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Nova Scotia). It's going to be very nice to sleep in my own bed again. 

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