In July of last year we mapped out how we’d spend our five-continent oneworld round-the-world airline ticket and we found we couldn’t get a simple flight out of Nairobi, Kenya. The oneworld partners just didn’t have the routes we needed.  We tried many different scenarios but finally settled on flying from Nairobi to London to get to Dubai. This option wasn’t a favorite solution of mine at the time. oneworld counts the Middle East and Europe as one continent,  so we’d need to use two of the four flight segments our pass provides for each continent.

It turned out to be one of the best options we had.

Sometime in December, Eric, one of my oldest and closest friends, told us that he was thinking about coming over to London in February. And it looked like he could be there during the week we were flying through. It took one quick call to the American Airlines oneworld desk (ok, it took two because we were in Livingstone, Zambia and my internet time ran out) and we extended our one hour layover through London into three days. (Sidebar: That’s been one of the nice things about the round-the-world ticket. While we get charged for changing our route, we can switch flight dates and times as often as we want at no extra cost. We’ve moved several flights over the course of this trip.)

This would work perfectly. Eric was definitely one of the last people we thought would meet us on our trip, primarily because as a freelance stylist he doesn’t get paid vacations. (I wrote that line mainly so I could segue into a suggestion that you check out Eric’s work here and here.) One added bonus, Eric is one of the few friends in the world that I could absolutely count on to support our decision to buy a side table in Zanzibar with the expectation that he would carry it the rest of the way home.

It’s too cute not to show you again. Our elephant side table safe at home in NYC. Photo by Eric Launder

The only hitch in this plan was that it was snowing in London. In the 10 months worth of clothes we had packed for this leg of the journey, we hadn’t planned on cold. I had my winter coat in South America but I left it at home in the face of China in August and September in India.

So we did what anyone would do when given the opportunity to meet up with their best of friends after camping for a month through Africa and being away from home for more than 6 months. We layered up every warm piece of clothing we had and headed out into the cold.

Nellu and I at a cafe in London. Photo taken by Eric Launder. Note to self: when your best friend flies across the ocean to meet you on your round-the-world journey make sure he’s in the photo next time too.

And we had a fantastic time.

When we said goodbye, Eric checked one more time to see if I wanted to keep his coat for the rest of our journey. “Nah,” I said. “We should have warmer weather from here on out.”

Famous last words.

~ Molly

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