I am stranded in Dubai, without a single item of warm-weather clothing. No sandals, no bathing suit, no sunblock. Not even a pair of sunglasses. I have come here with a surprisingly small suitcase (surprising for me, anyway) packed with a modest assortment of dark-colored business attire. I thought I would be in and out of here, days and evenings spent indoors at work. Never did I imagine that a cloud of volcanic ash would anchor me to this bizarre place, with a brilliant sun shining overhead and more free time than I actually want to have.
Travel mishaps happen, and I have never been one to be bothered when they do. Cancelled flights, re-routes, whatever it may be, I have always been the sort of traveler who coasts along, believing that everything happens as it should, and that I will get there eventually.
But this time I feel frustrated. After all, it wasn't just anywhere that I was heading back to. It was Paris. And not only was I due to return, but I was ready to do so with a renewed sense of spirit, a rediscovered inner joy that had been temporarily lost. My timing was off when I first arrived in March. Emotionally and physically exhausted, I found it difficult to embrace the opportunity I had created for myself. But this trip to Dubai may have been exactly what I needed. Unexpectedly, the time away has hit my "restart button". It's as though I have been given a rare opportunity to start again, to begin anew my life in Paris. And with a busy week ahead planned for all sorts of adventure and new discoveries, I was eager to get back. But as I sit here at the Atlantis hotel, surveying the latest news and flights statistics – another flight cancelled, another airport closed – it looks as though "starting over in Paris" is going to be delayed for awhile.