Lessons from my first European golf vacation

A trip of a lifetime (and a trip home to forget).

James Colgan

Dear Mom,

I hope you haven’t killed me by the time you’re reading this, but if you have, I can’t say I’m surprised. Actually, I think I support the decision.

It’s just about dinnertime where you are right now. Or at least I think it is. Sometime earlier this afternoon, I left the wifi bubble at Edinburgh Airport with the promise I’d let you know as soon as I landed in Amsterdam, the connecting stop on my trip home to New York. Now it is several hours later, and my spectacular European adventure has been replaced by a torrent of disaster. 

As I write this, I’m jammed into the unreasonably narrow “window” seat of a wide-bodied KLM plane that, for some reason, has no window. My left shoulder is plastered against the plastic cabin siding, but it’s no use — my body is still too large for this seat. With each keystroke, my right elbow pokes into the ribcage of a poor mother from Washington, D.C. whose only fault in this ordeal is finding herself in the middle seat next to my own. Three gate agents have assured me that in roughly 10 hours, this plane will land at Atlanta Hartsfield International Airport, some 900 miles from my intended destination. As of this moment, I know concerningly little else. I do not have a return flight booked to New York. The clock on my phone and the one on my computer read two different times. The plane wifi — which I have paid $45 for the privilege of figuring out the rest of my way home — is currently disconnected. Will it turn back on in time to coerce Delta into a seat on this evening’s final flight to New York? The closest I’ve come to an answer is a very polite Dutch shrug from my flight attendant. If that weren’t enough, the luggage containing, conservatively, 85 percent of my earthly belongings is more lost than I am, perhaps likely never

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