A shrieked expletive immediately alerts eight travelers that something is awry. Miriam stares in disbelief at her ticket, profanity steadily flowing from her lips.

“I think we’re at the wrong airport!”

The rest of us scoff, trying to convince ourselves we couldn’t have made a mistake. The intensely whispered phrases bombard me: “No, that can’t be. We followed Spencer’s instructions, didn’t we? We all listened. We must be here.”

A hurried and frantic conversation with the bus driver confirms Miriam’s hypothesis—we are at the wrong airport.

Panic ensues.

Once again I’m scampering to catch public transportation.

During the bus ride, the tension is palpable. We need to get back to London safely. What if we miss our flight? How do we get home? Someone gets directions to the train station, and I can only follow in panic.

We pant to the ticket window and discover we have five minutes to make our train or we’ll miss our flight. Curse Europe and its rigidly on-time train departures. There’s not nearly enough time for all our ticket transactions.

“I’ll take nine!” Miriam cries. She fumbles through her bag, groping for her credit card. I whip out mine, heroically saving the traveling lives of my companions with my silver Visa.

The ticket seller looks solemnly into the eyes of Miriam and then into mine. In a deadpan, discouraging voice, she warns, “Get ready to run, girls.” We snatch our tickets and sprint up the never-ending staircases that always seem to be in European train stations. I can’t believe I’m dashing for a train; I’ve become the idiot traveler.

As the stairs give way to the platform, I see inside the train that will determine our next 12 hours. We run. We leap. We land. We hear the swish of closing doors. We laugh the entire ride.

—Hannah Vinchur
Omaha, Nebraska