Archive for August, 2014

A few months ago I was in Malaga, Spain attending a conference. As the conference fell on my birthday, I took my mom with me so we could spend a little quality time together during my off time. I bought both of our tickets using my miles, which ultimately means that our flight tickets didn't cost me a dime. When we took off for Malaga from Vienna, Austria, I checked on the tickets to make sure I had the times down right. I read 10:45 a.m. as our departure time for our flight back to Vienna.

We spent a great time together. Did some sightseeing, walked along the beach and enjoyed great foods and of course also some delicious Spanish wines. The evening before our flight back, I checked on the tickets again and, again, read 10:45 a.m. as our departure time. I then proceeded to check us both in for the flight, chose our seats and then received our boarding passes via email. Hence I ordered a taxi to the airport at 8:45 a.m. giving us ample of time to drop off our luggage at the check in counter and then have a morning coffee before boarding for our flight. So far so good.

Malaga airport was only a 15 minute drive from our hotel. We arrived at the airport by 9:00 a.m. and the first thing I did was to check on the board to see if I could find my flight. As I scan through the departure times I saw a flight at 9:45 a.m. to Vienna but when my eyes arrived at the 10:45 a.m. section there was no flight to Vienna. First thing that happened was disbelief. Where is my flight? Second thing that happened was, OMG, don't tell me they moved the flight to 9:45 a.m. without telling me! So I rummaged through my briefcase to have another look at my ticket. And lo and behold it said in big, bold and clear writing that my departure was at 9:45 a.m. Then I cheched on my electronic boarding pass, which also clearly stated 9:45 as our departure time. Shock and disbelief settled in! Sweat started to form on my forehead while I was trying to process the situation. I just could not believe what I was seeing. How could I have misread the bloody departure time TWICE, if not THREE times?! 

We ran to the check in gate and explained the situation. By now it was 9:10 a.m. They told us that there was only one chance to catch the plane and that was to run with our luggage through security and to the gate. We had to be at the gate at 9:30 though. My poor mom and I pushed through the line at the security and put our suitcases on the belt. Next thing I know was that the friendly security staff wanted us to open our suitcases. It was 9:20 by now. Of course I totally had forgotten about the liquids in our suitcases. All the great wine bottles we bought were trashed. And all of our shampoos and gels and lotions as well. Poor mom was getting a heart attack as it was mostly her stuff that was being thrown away left, right and center. Finally, stripped off of our liquids, we were allowed to continue with our run to the gate. It was 9:25 by now. I told my mom to just walk as fast as she could while I would run ahead with my suitcase and both of our carryons to the gate. Of course the bloody gate was at the farthest possible location of the airport. Totally drenched with sweat and out of breath I arrived at the gate at 9:30 a.m. precisely only to see that the gangway was being pulled away from the aircraft. I yelled at the gate agents that we were promised that we could come along if we made it by 9:30 a.m. – and here I was. The agent only said sorry, the captain had decided that it was time to leave and that is it. 

My entire clothes were wet from sweat, my legs shacking from exhaustion, my lungs burning from the run, I waited for my mom's arrival. As soon as she saw me she knew that we wouldn't be on that flight. I really had to take many, many deep breaths to keep calm and not shout and curse at the agents at the gate – after all it was my own fault for being late – and no one elses.

We had to walk all the way back out into the checking in area and organize a flight back. To add insult to injury I was told that on that day Lufthansa was on strike so there were no more flights to Vienna anymore with Lufthansa. Period. I couldn't believe what I was hearing. They referred me to their competitors. After shopping around for a while at the airport I had to come to the conclusion that I either had to fork out some major cash or we would have to stay for another night. So I ended up biting the bullet and with my hat in hand accept the offer of an airline to fly us back to Vienna that afternoon for a mere EUR 270 (U$ 380) a pop. Pain, that is all I could feel. 

After all was said and done and we were sitting in our seats ready to take off (hours after our original flight, needless to add), I closed my eyes and started to meditate. I went through the events step by step and bit by bit and I had to realize that somehow my mind had chosen to read 10:45 a.m. as our departure time the first time I checked up on our flight times a week ago. And then it refused to let go of that image in my mind even though I physically looked at our the tickets again the evening before and even proceeded to check us both in online!

And once again the universe taught me that it is my own mind that creates my reality and not what I perceive as the objective reality to be. Even when physically looking at the ticket I could not see what "reality" was as my reality had already been created for me within. 

May this be a reminder to me and to you that our mind has incredible powers, much, much more than we are aware of and that we may invest all of our energies into utilizing its power to our benefit.

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As FIFA Word Cup has come to an end and Germany successfully claimed their fourth grand champion title, I thought I would share with you what happened to me on April 29th of this year. I was guiding a trip through Germany and it happened that on the 29th I was in Munich and had a free evening as well. So my driver who is a big Real Madrid fan suggested to see if we can get tickets for the Champions League semifinals game between Munich and visiting Madrid. I highly doubted that we could get a ticket for this game, as such a big game had already been sold out for weeks.

What the heck I said, let’s try it. It was a fairly nice day, not too cold, not too warm and we had a free evening. Since I had never been to a CL game before, I thought this should be a memorable event. And indeed a memorable evening it became.

Upon arrival at the stadium there were already thousands upon thousands of people, some hanging out, some drinking beer, some buying tee shirts and many trying to buy tickets. I thought to myself that there would be no chance on earth to get a ticket (and if, then for sure not for a manageable price). But lo and behold, we found a couple of guys who wanted to sell their tickets for a mere EUR 175 a pop – after some negotiation that is. Given that the original price was EUR 90 we thought this to be an awesome deal. So we went for it and bought them. I must admit that I was really worried that they would try to sell us forged tickets, but since they didn’t run away after the deal and, most importantly, our tickets were accepted at the gates, I thought that nothing could stop us from an awesome night at the world famous Allianz Arena.

As soon as we got to our seats and I saw people sitting in our seats, I knew that trouble was not far away. They told us that their tickets had been stolen somewhere outside the stadium. They of course already had reported it to the police and had the tickets blocked so no one could actually use them anymore. Well, apparently the blocking of the tickets didn’t work out that well, as we indeed use them and got in with them.

I did not want to make a fuss about it so we sat down on the stairs right next to our seats. The peace and joy only lasted for a few minutes though. Soon after the game started an usher came to us asking us to move to our seats. Since we had the original tickets in our hands the usher asked the guys in our seats to get up and follow him so that we could claim our seats.

Just a few minutes later the usher came back with the two guys and asked us to follow him. Reluctantly we followed. On our way down Real scored their first goal, which we did not see.

In the grand entrance area, away from the stands, we were asked to wait until further instructions were given. We asked if we could at least watch the game through an opening in the stand, which we Thank God were permitted to do. In the meantime Real had scored their second goal, which we also missed.

After watching the game for some ten minutes from our not so fortunate position the usher came back asking us to follow him. When we turned to follow him, Real scored their third goal, which we of course also missed. (You should know that I am a Bavaria Munich supporter, so I was not very happy about the score, while my friend is a huge Real supporter and thus was in 7th heaven regarding the score).

In the meantime we found ourselves surrounded by five (!!) riot squat police officers. One of them asked us how we ended up with those tickets. We truthfully told them that we bought them from a person outside the stadium. And, no, we did not know that they were stolen – of course not! Still, we were asked to follow them to the station for further questioning. When I asked whether we were asked to come along as witnesses and actually ultimately victims or as suspects we were told that that was remained to be seen. Just incredible! We were furious about this as you can imagine!

Even though I was shocked, a little scared and upset about the situation, deep down, I was grinning as was thinking to myself, what an adventure this was and that I most certainly will never forget this football game. While my attitude was pretty much a laissez faire one, my driver was seemingly getting more and more upset and angry. While I perceived our situation as an adventure my friend looked at it as an insolence and a waste of his time and money.

We both had to stand against the wall outside the police station deep below the stadium being looked at, literally face-to-face, by riot police. It was surreal. The minutes were ticking by and a fourth goal was scored by Real, which we, of course did not see as well. I was laughing. My friend was steaming.

Finally, the chief of the squad arrived and told us that we were free to go. Our story was believable to them and had been verified. We were free to go.

So basically we had spent EUR 175 per ticket to not only not see a single goal scored but also only able to sit in our seats for maybe 5 minutes and spend about an hour surrounded by riot police while the game was being played.  What an adventure! Something I will never forget in my life.

And the morale of the story you might ask? The morale is that it really doesn’t matter what you are experiencing in your life, as there is no clear cut “good” or “bad” experiences. What indeed matters though is how you go about your experiences! For example, I could have been extremely upset and angry and could have looked at the evening as a waste of my time and money (kind of like my friend) or have a big grin on my face and look this experience as an adventure and something I can “brag” about and share with my grandchildren in decades to come. Life and the experiences it throws at you is what YOU make of it! Period!

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