Trip to France on a budget: my personal train angel
It’s about perspective I guess. When people thinking of traveling, all they can think about is high class travel with luxurious accommodations.
If you think about it, average one-income families like us should not ever travel, if going expensively is the only option. So, I’ve been thinking about this. I realize not everyone has a husband whose main job is overseas customers, so I’m going to explore options beyond my present circumstances.
The most expensive thing about traveling is usually getting there. Even though Will was there on business and I went on miles, there are other ways to get places cheaply. My hairdresser loves to go to Europe every year. She waits for the rates to go down, locks in by buying her tickets around that schedule. She always travels on the off season, and she only goes to the country that she can get the best rate. We have other friends who purchase everything on a credit card that gives miles for rewards. You have to be the kind of person who can handle credit cards (not many are) and be committed to paying everything off in order to get the miles with a clear conscience.
I’m thinking about my trip home. I think I told you that I was traveling alone because my husband was already there and planned to stay a week later to do work. So, the trip on the plan is fairly straightforward. You know, you go through the checkout, passport, take the shoes off routine, and get on the plane. Ride for 7–9 hours and land in Paris. It’s when you land that there’s some unknowns. From Paris, I had to take the train to Dijon, and then the taxi to the hotel.
Well, on the way home, Will drove me to the train station and I was planning to take the 6:20 train to Paris. Because it was so early, I was not able to buy the ticket at the counter and U.S. credit cards do not work in their machines, so I was hoping the credit card would work on the train once I did get on.
As soon as we started to get me to the train, things were not looking good. Not only could we not get a ticket but all of the second class tickets were taken! I would have to go first class, which is not what I wanted to do @ 75 E (about $100.00). I felt peaceful though. I also realized that this train would not take me straight the the airport and I’d have to fumble around in Paris trying to switch trains getting to the airport. And to make matters worse, (I probably shouldn’t say this) we bottomed out our account the day prior. So, it was a scramble to get funds transferred into the account just to survive until payday (which thankfully was only a day away).. so you can see, we were at the Lord’s mercy here.
So, I recounted all of these things in my mind, as I waited for the train. Will was still with me, and we were asking (In English) if this was the right train to get on.
Out of nowhere, a middle aged man, dressed in a suit with a briefcase appeared speaking perfect English and asked if he could help. I told him that I needed to get to the airport (Charles de Galle). He said that this other train was going to the airport on it’s way to Lille. I wasn’t sure to believe him because it doesn’t say it’s going to the airport. He told me that it makes stops along the way, so I’d have to watch for my stop. I asked him if he was going that way too, and he said, “yes”. I said, “Oh great. I will follow you, then” He told me to stand “right here” and then I did. All of a sudden, the other train pulled up (the one I was originally going to get on) and he jumped on it and left. Will and I watched him go, and there was a tug to follow him, but I just stood right where he told me to.
And then I had this thought, “there goes the angel the Lord sent”… and we were not meant to be escorted by him–just follow his directions. I told Will to go home and go back to bed, and I was perfectly at peace about everything. So, he left, and I got on the other train. The second class coach was available. There were funds in the account, and all was smooth sailing from then on.