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2011/10/21 von Marilou Lavallée

Marilou arrives

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Marilou and her boardbag landed safely in Brazil. But from experience she knows, that it's not something you can take for granted.

Good morning everyone! I am super happy. Believe it or not, I haven’t paid a surcharge for my luggage. Hourra! Except the $100 for the surfboard, but I already knew that. I am happy about the NO charge for my other bag weighting 20kg extra. Knowing that, I should have forced my bindings in (well next time).

Also, I’m happy because no one seems to mind my late check-in and also they seem not to mind too much about calling for me saying the famous: ‘passenger Marilou Lavallée you are delaying the flight, we will proceed to unload your luggage’.
‘Great!’ Looking all surprised, I started to run. Normally, I’m in the Duty Free trying creams and perfume and I’m much more surprised cause I have much more to try (I love the little cream testing thing)? But this time, not even for this good reason.

I was just there sending emails (yes, we have free internet in Montreal airport - good thing). So I found it a bit funny that I did not notice everyone boarding.
By the way, I’m sorry for anyone who will ever have to take the same flight as me, even if I hate being late to board, it’s seems I do this all the time. Well at least you would be prepared!
Anyway, I’m typing this story comfortably (that is a strong word for my position) sitting in this tiny plane. My fault – it’s only a small plane  because I’ve booked my flight without really looking. Therefore I will land in Brazil after like 40hrs flight with way to much transfers. Ok, exaggerating here but still it’s about 24hrs and 4 stops.

So far, I am still convinced that it’s a good start. Now, the next big step from what I have profoundly learned is to be serious about following your luggage. We all know how precious our kite gears are. Even if it says FOR (Fortaleza-Brazil) on my ticket, I know they might not arrive in FOR.

Let me share a memorable experience with you about traveling with TAM and American Airline. The setting of this story took place on my first year competing in the PKRA tour. After spending all my money trying to follow the tour and flying everywhere in the world I had confirmed to myself that Canada would be my last destination. Plus it was also my home base.

Somehow after the competition I changed my mind. Using only the ‘non-rational’ side of my brain, I decided that flying to Brazil, with the NO money I had and the NO sponsor I had at that time, wasn’t a very bad idea after all. I estimate it will give me, for once the chance to really train (which means kiting every day- no exceptions), gain more experience competing and who knows, maybe lead to something else. So I decided to do something about it and use my last pennies to jump on the flight. 

I DID something, but clearly someone else forgot to do his part. The result was that I landed alone. Luggage lost. Worst: the two airlines were fighting each other about who is responsible for the loss of my bags (Fighting is a generous term as they both sounded like they politically and correctly didn’t care at all). Both companies would not help me.

‘Wow’... thank you guys!

So here I was, crying like a little girl and about to jump in a bus for a 7 hour drive to join the PKRA event without one single kite and a probably very discouraged look in my face. 

The idea of having completely lost my luggage was terrifying me. I already did not know how to afford this trip, how could I buy a new quiver? I could not imagine this scenario.
It was impossible. Plus, I knew that my baggage Insurance covered only about $500 or $700, but not more. I saw my last chance of getting in the ‘professional world of kiting’ falling apart. My dream that was so close, now seemed totally unreal. I even thought I might have to stop kiting, (I know... I can be really dramatic sometimes... ‘but I did think that at the time’). I felt really, really sad.


Plus, forget about the preparation before the competition; I had no gear! Well, I got lucky enough and other competitors lent me some gear, but still, it was very stressful. I did manage the competition and on my way back, I finally had a phone call with a positive answer. Finally, after FOUR long weeks they found my bags. May I say that I was crying again from HUGE relief. 

After all, this trip to Brazil really had a happy ending. I could finally kite with my gear and satisfied my drive and motivation. The big surprise was that, on my way home, I had even more gear than ever, as I signed my first sponsorship contract with CORE. There were a lot of emotions! 

From all that, even if it was ‘all good’ in the end, I still learned that I need to take care of my luggage, more than anything. So from that time on, I’ve made sure on each trip  that my bags were also on the same flight as me. And it worked out. I am now in Brazil, ready to go riding and meet my friends.