I felt my blood drain from my face and my vision blur when she informed me the next flight was on Monday. I was going to Oaxaca for a photography workshop for Day of the Dead. Monday would mean I would miss most of the workshop that I had already paid for and I would miss Day of the Dead in Oaxaca. Monday just wouldn’t work at all. I was stranded.

On top of that I’m in Mexico City, a place I’ve never visited by myself. Let me tell you I’m a planner. When I travel I know where I’m staying every night and I even know sort of what I can do each day. I’ve never winged it before and now I may have to do just that, in a city that doesn’t have the best reputation. That may be exciting to some of you, but for me who had never been out of the country by myself, it was terrifying. Oh and did I mention I don’t speak Spanish…

I had missed the flight because I didn’t allow enough time to get through customs and change to another terminal. Mexico City’s airport is divided into two terminals and you have to go through security all over again to get to the next one. I quickly found out two hours was not enough.

So now I’m standing at the Aeromexico desk trying not to have a panic attack. I take a deep breath and think. Maybe I can get a bus? I ask the lady at the desk and she doesn’t make it sound too promising. She doesn’t know of a bus route that goes there and tells me it’s a good 9 hours away.

I try anyway and managed to find the bus station after a harrowing taxi ride. Being so frazzled and thankful there’s a bus that even goes to Oaxaca, I get the first bus going there. This doesn’t leave me any time to get food or to really take a breath before I’m searching for the correct bus. At this point I haven’t eaten in 12 hours and I’ve been on a roller coaster of emotions; another mistake.

I climb on the bus and settle in feeling nauseous from the hunger and all the excitement of the past few hours. I just have 9 hours till I’m able to lay on a hostel bed…

These are the lessons I’ve learned

  • If you are flying into another country make sure you research if you’ve left enough time between flights.
  • Check if you have to go to a completely different terminal
  • Don’t miss a flight during an important holiday
  • It’s really easy to take a first class bus in Mexico. So if something ever happens don’t freak out :)
  • Don’t forget you need to eat!
  • Or maybe just make sure you’ve got snacks on you!
  • If you’re already out of your comfort zone. It’s worth it to splurge on something a little more comfortable at least the first few nights to get your bearings.