Tough Way to Start A Trip!

Jill Marks

by Jill Marks

Jill Marks is the daughter of Kristen Marks, founder of My Pink Lawyer, and is currently backpacking across Europe. She has her bachelors and masters degrees in Marketing from The University of Alabama and is excited to be back with the My Pink Lawyer team.

“Bad news… my backpack is also still showing in Frankfurt…”

For those of you who I haven’t met before, I am Kristen’s favorite (and only!) daughter, and I am two weeks into my 14-month backpacking trip across Europe. My best friend Abigail and I began our adventure in Vienna, Austria, and we got off to a rocky start when we landed and realized our 65-liter Osprey backpacks were still in Germany!


All of our essentials were in these bags, so when we landed in Vienna, I was trying to be as optimistic as possible when my AirTag showed my backpack was not where I was. Abigail initially noticed this about her bag, but I was trying to justify it any way I could.


“Maybe the cell service hasn’t picked it back up yet?”


“There isn’t service under the plane I’m sure, so it should update any minute.”


Alas, this was not the case. Soon we found out that not only had our two bags not made it, but a whole crate of bags hadn’t been loaded on the plane, resulting in 50+ unhappy customers trying to speak with the workers at baggage claim. Thanks, Austrian Airlines!


This resulted in us wearing our same clothes for the next 24 hours, and the only toiletries I had were from a travel pack the Austrian Airlines workers gave me. Deodorant, laundry detergent, and an XL sleeping shirt were secured, but conditioner, body wash, and face wash were woefully missing.


When we realized that we “may or may not” be reimbursed for anything we purchased, we hoped for the best that our bags would arrive the next day.


We powered through that night and into the next morning while tracking our AirTags religiously.


We were told once the bags arrived in Vienna, we would get a call “soon after” with a time for them to be delivered.


Well, when our bags arrived at 1 PM the following day and we still hadn’t received a call by 6 PM, we took matters into our own hands. Paying the 25 Euro charge for a round-trip ticket to the airport (which was a tough decision to make at the time since we are traveling on a tight budget!), we arrived back at the airport 26 hours later and begged the person in charge of lost baggage to let us retrieve our bags. You see, the bags had never been scanned in that they arrived, so if the AirTags hadn’t been in our backpacks, we would have had no idea where our bags were!


Thankfully, the bag handler let us into the room where over 100 (!!!) unclaimed bags sat. Who knows how long we would have waited for them to be delivered otherwise. I never thought I would be so happy to lift my bulky backpack onto my shoulders, and that night I gratefully showered, changed clothes, and felt like a whole new woman.



At the time, I was frustrated with the setback in starting our trip.


Wearing the same clothes for a collective three days straight and needing to stay close by to our hostel in hopes of getting the call that our bags were delivered put a “meh” feeling on the start of our adventure.


Thankfully, this is by far the largest setback we have encountered so far, and we already laugh about it now looking back. It is a reminder about the beauty of traveling: you will always face obstacles and setbacks, but the important thing is how you handle these situations. If you can take the setbacks in stride and accept the realities and make the most of your circumstances, you will always come out ahead!


The same thing applies to dealing with setbacks in your estate planning; it provides an opportunity to reflect on valuable lessons and adapt to unforeseen circumstances.


1. Being Prepared for the Unexpected


Life is full of unexpected events, and it is crucial to be prepared for them. In estate planning, unexpected situations like sudden illness, accidents, or untimely death can disrupt the intended distribution of assets. It highlights the significance of having a comprehensive plan in place, including wills, trusts, guardian nominations, and powers of attorney, to ensure your assets are protected and your wishes are honored even in unforeseen circumstances.


2. Flexibility and Adjusting to New Circumstances


Flexibility is paramount in estate planning. Life situations change, relationships evolve, and financial circumstances fluctuate over time. It is crucial to regularly review and adjust your estate plan to reflect these changes and ensure it remains aligned with your current goals and circumstances.


3. Proper Documentation and Organization


Losing your bags can be made even harder without proper documentation, such as AirTags and baggage receipts. Similarly, estate planning requires thorough documentation and organization. Maintaining an up-to-date inventory of assets, current beneficiary designations, and ensuring the accessibility of important documents (wills, trusts, insurance policies, etc.) for loved ones can greatly ease the process during difficult times.


4. Seeking Professional Guidance


When I was dealing with my lost bag, I had to turn to the airline staff for help. In estate planning, professional guidance from attorneys, financial advisors, and accountants is invaluable. These experts can provide the necessary knowledge, expertise, and professional guidance to navigate complex legal and financial aspects, ensuring your estate plan is accurate, legal, and optimized to meet your goals.


5. Communication and Sharing Your Plans


Estate planning should also include open communication with family members, beneficiaries, and potential executors or trustees. Sharing your estate plans, discussing your intentions, and explaining the reasoning behind important decisions can help minimize potential conflicts and ensure a smoother transition when your plan is implemented.


Call our office today to seek your own professional advice about your Florida estate plan. My Pink Lawyer® offers no obligation initial estate planning consultations and free resources to get you started: 850-439-1191 or visit our website.


The lessons above carry beyond losing your bags or estate planning and can be applied to so much of life. I know travelling will continue to teach me lessons I will always carry with me, and I cannot wait to continue sharing all that I am learning!


This isn’t the last you have heard from me, so be sure to stick around. 😊


Jill “Embracing the Adventure Every Day” Marks


P.S. – If you are looking to follow my everyday travels, feel free to check out my travel Instagram page @jetsetting_jill




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