A Letter From My European 'Volcation'

Stranded  tourists i i

hide captionStranded tourists wait for departure at England's Dover port ferry terminal on Monday. More than 100,000 flights were canceled in the past week because of volcanic ash from Iceland.

Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images
Stranded  tourists

Stranded tourists wait for departure at England's Dover port ferry terminal on Monday. More than 100,000 flights were canceled in the past week because of volcanic ash from Iceland.

Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

Jon Kirby is a highly employable music writer based in New York City. A native of North Carolina, he helps maintain the music blog CarolinaSoul.org, dedicated to the sonic culture of the South.

I came to France with my father for vacation on April 2. He left on the 11th, and I proceeded to London on the 12th to stay with friends for a few days before returning to the States. I will turn 30 in May and had never been to Europe!

I was laid off from a music magazine about a year ago and had saved up just enough scrub money to putz through Europe with Pops for a few weeks, with intentions of searching pseudo desperately for a job upon my return. My money and clothes and toiletries were timed to run out in unison on April 15.

On that morning, I returned from Heathrow to my friends' house, who themselves were humorously scheduled to leave for New Zealand the next day. I spent three more nights on a futon in Camden Town with a dog chewing on my hair — living off of beers and Ribena — before I came to Manchester on the morbidly affordable Megabus. I crashed with a casual college friend who offered to put me up for a few days. By eating street food and staying with friends, I have managed to operate in a pretty budget manner.

Jonathan Kirby

hide captionJonathan Kirby is a highly employable music writer based in New York City. A native of North Carolina, he helps maintain the music blog CarolinaSoul.org, dedicated to the sonic culture of the South.

Courtesy of Jonathan Kirby

I have done laundry three, going on four times. I suspect my bill for long-term parking will be well into the triple digits. I return to London tomorrow to stay with a friend, who lives with her mom and sister in Brixton, which is cool, because I've always dreamed of being adopted by Caribbean immigrants.

I am treating myself to a pair of Nikes tomorrow on the credit card (currently a $700 bill) because I have worn through my Air Force 1s. I wanted to tie the shoestrings together and throw them over a telephone wire, but I'm not sure anyone would get the reference.

I am supposed to fly out Saturday, but who knows?

I look at the news feeds every day, and think, "At least I'm not sleeping at the airport." But then again, it kind of just looks like camping, with a greater likelihood of Cinnabon.

I don't know what else to tell you. It has all been very surreal, but not unpleasant. Most people, here and abroad, are pretty understanding about the situation. The people who are acting stank about it can fly through volcanic ash until they're blue in the face. I just want to get home safely.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

Support comes from: