On the International Trail

Feeling Fresh

AQHA’s Sierra Kane learned the hard way that liquids and internationally checked luggage don’t always mix.

By AQHA Manager of International Activities Sierra Kane

When presented with the opportunity to attend the Israel Quarter Horse Association’s first AQHA-funded Educational Marketplace Clinic, you can imagine my excitement! I leapt at the opportunity to meet our AQHA members in that part of the world and I looked forward to enjoying the history and beauty along the way. I quickly prepared and set off to Tel Aviv.

My travel started out smoothly, as it always does, when leaving from the tiny airport in Amarillo where you can arrive 30 minutes before your flight and make your departure time guaranteed. My layover in Madrid, Spain, however, was not as easy. Not only did I arrive hours late in Madrid, due to a technical problem on the flight before, but I also was randomly selected for additional security screening.

When the security stewards took me aside, not only did they ask me questions about where I was going in Israel, what I was doing, what’s an American Quarter Horse, etc., but they also requested to search through my checked luggage. While I was clearly in a rush, I knew there was no speeding up the process, so the security check began.

Everything was going fine until they asked me to open my luggage. To my dismay my shampoo bottle, which happened to be ‘family-size,’ had exploded! It was a brand new bottle and the air pressure had burst the cap open. Because of the added pressure in the zip-lock bag my shampoo bottle was in, it ripped open, too.

Needless to say, you can imagine how much shampoo this amounted to. There was enough shampoo in my luggage that I was scooping it out with both hands cupped together. I even had to pour it out of my patent leather shoes! Immediately I panicked a bit because this never happens to me – I travel all the time to visit AQHA members around the world. Alas, this was a humbling experience that reminded me travelers’ misfortunes hit everyone sooner or later!

The security stewards were kind enough to let me scoop (and pour) as much shampoo out of my checked luggage as possible before closing it again. They even offered to wrap my clothes and a few other valuable items in plastic wrap to try and contain the damage, which I was grateful for. At this point in my trip, I simply had to shrug my shoulders, giggle at my misfortune and tell myself I was going to smell very fresh in Israel! So when travelling on an airplane, friends – no matter the distance – do not forget to tape your bottles shut and double-bag everything!