Mini Retirement Project

With no short of eventful dramas along the way

Guten Tag from Berlin! (this is about one of the 3 German words I knew at the start of my stay in Germany).

What a physically and mentally exhausting journey it’s been for us so far. From Penang — Kuala Lumpur — Abu Dhabi — Berlin, it took us a total of 18.5 hours between airports to finally arrive in Tegel Airport, Berlin. By then, I was too exhausted, to feel any excitement only to be greeted with every travellers worst nightmare upon arrival – our luggages did not land with us! ☹

But let me recap what happened before. It started in Penang, when the flight got delayed a mere 30 mins. By the time we arrive in KL, we were running across the airport to a ‘Calling’ sign on the flight display. We thought we’ve made it when we finally sat on our seats in the plane, so we quickly got comfortable for the 8hr flight. By comfortable I mean taking out my iPad mini and a slew of other flight essentials and keeping them in the front pocket for easy access. As you can guess by now, when we eventually landed in Abu Dhabi airport, yours truly has absent mindedly left her iPad in the seat pocket. By the time I realised this, it was already too late and the plane has been swooped by the cleaners and it was no longer there ☹. Needless to say, this is not a good start to my journey. (I was devastated at this point ☹☹)

So imagine my frustrations when we finally arrived in Berlin Tegel airport, only to receive another news that both our luggage did not arrive with us and the airline had no idea where they are. By now, I was numbed. Funny thing is, we actually took photos of our luggage before we checked them in, because at that moment I had a gut feel that they might not be arriving in Berlin with us. True enough the inevitable happened….. (always trust your instincts!)

After waiting at the airport for close to 9hrs hoping to get our bags, we had to leave the airport in vain as it is now getting dark and cold in Berlin (4pm!) with no news of the bags. Leaving the airport was no fun at all, as we left our jackets in our bags so we had to brave the 6dg cold weather outside in just a single layer of clothing. ☹☹☹ For the next day or so, we survived by borrowing jackets from our hosts, until we finally heard back from the airline.

Fastforward today, we got our luggage back after more than 24hours delay and the kind souls of the Etihad staff in Abu Dhabi found my iPad and sent it back to me in Berlin. ❤ I guess everything worked out eventually despite the tumultuous start.

So my advise to my fellow travelers based on my lessons learned:

  1. Always photograph your check-in luggage
  2. Make sure you keep your bag tags from the airline
  3. Always keep essentials in your hand carry i.e. toothbrush, vanity kit, scarf (very useful for the ladies), and jacket(for colder seasons)
  4. Keep your expensive gadgets, personal documents and cash with you at all times.
  5. Buy travel insurance and seek compensation from the airline of any delays or loss.
  6. And lastly, don’t panic, stay calm. I’ve been advised that majority of missing/delayed luggages are almost always found in the end.

Improvised: Eye mask turned shower cap/hairband

Update: Thanks to travel insurance, we got compensated for the inconvenience caused by the luggage delays. Yay!

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Debbie Lim

Born and bred in Penang, Malaysia, Debbie has spent the last decade in her second home Brisbane, Australia as an engineer. Her professional experiences have taught her how to plan efficiently and manage effectively in the various aspects of her travels. She is an experienced minimalist traveler who believes in keeping it simple yet fun. You will not find a fixed itinerary sheet on her and definitely no alarm clocks or wake up calls when she travels. After spending most of her adulthood in a highly analytical and tightly regulated environment, she currently revels in a a good adventure and spontaneity when least expected.

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