On Monday I flew from Milwaukee to Cleveland for work. I was excited about the trip. And not just because I have seen all 3 of the Hastily Made Cleveland Tourism Videos. (If you haven’t seen them before take a moment now. You’ll thank me later.)
The trip had been planned for 5 months. And you know what they say about the best-laid plans…
Here is a list of things that went wrong with my travel:
- My Sunday morning flight from Milwaukee to Cleveland was canceled.
- I was rebooked on connecting flights 24 hours later.
- My return flight from Cleveland to Chicago Monday evening was delayed by 4 hours.
- I missed my connecting flight from Chicago to Milwaukee.
- I arrived in Chicago at 11pm Monday night.
- All rental cars were sold out.
- There were no buses to Milwaukee
- I had to spend the night in Chicago.
- On the way to my Chicago hotel the cab driver kept taking wrong turns and turned a 15-mile cab ride into a 25-mile ride.
- I had to sternly talk to him about his mistakes and let him know I wouldn’t pay for them.
- I checked into my hotel at 1am
- Tuesday morning I had to take a bus from O’Hare Airport to Milwaukee’s General Mitchell Field.
That Was Interesting
It’s easy to say I had a terrible trip. But it was amazing! I would do it all over again in a second. Here’s why.
1. The Talk
The travel to Cleveland was for a speaking engagement. I got to talk to teachers, and teachers of teachers, at the NAEYC 2022 Professional learning Institute. (To know what NAEYC is just click the link.)
I shared lessons from my book What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? The audience was amazing. They listened intently, asked great questions, laughed at the funny parts, and they made the whole trip worthwhile, even with all the surprises. Thanks to my friend Jenn Koel for inviting me to speak.
2. The Once In A Lifetime Experience
After my talk, I thought I would have an uneventful flight home. But my flight from Cleveland to Chicago was fouled up by the epic thunderstorms that rolled through Chicago like a Garth Brooks song on Monday evening.
If you know your Great Lakes geography (I know most of you don’t), you know that Cleveland lives a few hundred miles east of Chicago. And if you know your garden variety weather patterns, you know that weather typically flows from west to east.
This means that a flight from Cleveland to Chicago would pass a storm system traveling from Chicago to Cleveland like 2 youth sports teams high-fiving each other after a game. #GoodGameGoodGameGoodGameGoodGame
And that’s exactly what happened with my plane and that thunderstorm.
Once our 6:45pm flight finally left Cleveland around 10:30pm we started seeing flashes through the windows on the right side of the plane. However, I was in a window seat on the left side of the plane. Boo.
As a storm lover, I was eager to see what was happening on the other side of the aisle. (Kinda like a political pundit.)
When we first pushed back from the gate in Cleveland 4 hours earlier the plane was completely full. But because of the delays we returned to the gate and deplaned like Tattoo from Fantasy Island. Many of my flightmates were rebooked because of missed connections. So when we finally reboarded for The Windy City about 1/3 of the seats were empty.
I looked around and noticed the exit row on the right side of the plane was now empty. So I snuck down the aisle and slipped over to the window seat. I eagerly peered out the airplane window. And I was awestruck by what I witnessed.
I have been in a hurricane. I have seen the northern lights in Alaska. I have seen thundersnow. And I have seen lightning strike the same place twice within minutes, just yards from where I was standing. But none of the epic Mother Nature shows I have seen were as intense as what I saw out that little plane over Northern Ohio and Indiana.
The strobe lightning was non-stop until we reached Chicago. I filmed and photographed the storm so I could share what I saw.
On Tuesday, while riding the bus from Chicago to Milwaukee, I shared a video on Twitter. Fox News retweeted it. Then I was contacted by numerous media outlets asking if they could reshare the video. I have also been asked for interviews about the experience. Crazy right?
Here’s the video I shared. Note: that is NOT a time-lapse video. This all happened in real-time.
Here’s another video I took that you are seeing here first.
The Twitter Activity
Look for the good things in life and you will find them. Because of this trip, I made new friends, I enjoyed new experiences and I was able to share some of the best lessons I know with people who were eager to hear them.
Because of my flight delay going home, a window of opportunity opened that allowed me to witness the most incredible light show I have ever seen. (Sorry Trans Siberian Orchestra Pyrotechnics Director.)
After hours of delays, the view out of my window was so incredible and lasted so long, that I would have paid money and waited again just to see the show.
I will forget about the time I spend waiting for the plane. I won’t worry about the night I had to spend in Chicago or the bus ride back to MKE.
But I can never unsee what I saw out that plane window. So I’m not mad. Not even a little. I’m thankful for the opportunity, and the experience.
Remember to look for the great gifts that are wrapped in bad paper. And you will accumulate more rewards than you can imagine.
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Special shout out to my new friends Vijay Shah and Apshara Ravichandran whom I met on my flight from Chicago to Cleveland Monday morning. #Row27Crew