The secret combination

When the news came out about the thwarted terror attacks on U.S.-bound flights from London Brian and I re-evaluated our fall trip plans. We meant to fly to London, hop a RyanAir flight to Dublin where we’d spend a few days before flying AerLingus to Prague then flying to Paris for a 24 hour layover before flying home(not in the original plan but when Delta changed our flight times from Prague home via Paris we were left with 10 minutes in Charles de Galle and got to switch to the next day, giving us an overnight in Paris).

Fresh from being inundated with hysterical news reports of four hour security lines, suddenly five flights in 11 days sounded like a dreadful way to spend our time on this trip. 48 hours of frenzied discussion, our living room looking like a battle-planning ground littered with guidebooks, maps, notes and both laptops, we came to an itinerary we both could live with. We were constrained by flying into London and out of Paris, so couldn’t stray far. We decided on two days in London (it’s our third time, and frankly I’d have been OK with one, but with Brian agreeing to spend the remainder of the time all in France, I couldn’t really fight him on that one) then the Eurostar to Paris (my first time on the Chunnel!) where we’ll rent a car and drive to Normandy. Four days there and four in
Paris before we fly home – not a single intra-Europe flight being taken.

The “new reality” of travel also changed our luggage plans. Because of the low-cost carriers we were flying we had intended to pack lightly and return to our carry-on only ways of early travel days. Obviously this won’t happen now. And if we were entrusting all our belongings to the baggage handlers, our soft-sided luggage would certainly not do. We needed some good old-fashioned hard luggage.

Very pricey, that sturdy kind of (non-disposable) luggage.

Goodwill to the rescue. We found some nice strong, hard-side Samsonite suitcases that will protect our accoutrements well, and for $35 for two. The only slight drawback is that one of them has a combination lock, which was open at first, but we somehow managed to close and lock it after inspecting the suitcase. So we’ve got about a month now to try all possible combinations. I wonder how long it will take if we start at 0-0-0, 0-0-1, 0-0-2.

Guess I should go get busy on that now.


8 responses to “The secret combination

  1. Back in the day when “professionals” carried briefcases with combination locks I learned that the most common combination for men was 007. For women it was 321. Go figure.

  2. Email from Samsonite in response to my plea for help:

    Dear Sir/Madam:

    The following are the lock picking instructions you requested from Samsonite Consumer Relations.

    1. Position the luggage so that the numbers on the wheel are
    right-side-up as they face you and set all three wheels to “0”.

    2. Starting with the wheel on the left, to the right of the wheel,
    look into the narrow space between the right side of the wheel and
    the body of the lock. Look down into the shaft. (If you have a
    safety pin, straight pin, or thin nail file, place that in the
    narrow space.)

    3. While looking down into the shaft, rotate the wheel slowly. You
    are looking for an indentation (a square notch). When you find
    the indentation, stop and write the number down. (If you are using
    a tool, the tool will fall into the indentation.)

    4. Follow the process for the remaining two wheels.

    5. Try to open the piece of luggage.

    6. If the luggage still will not open, please try the following:
    a) If the number on the wheel is over 5, subtract 5 from the
    number showing. For example, if the number showing is 8 turn
    the wheel to 3 because 8-5=3.
    b) If the number is under 5, add 5 to the number showing. For
    example if the number showing is 2 turn the wheel to 7
    because 2+5=7. The numbers showing on the wheels will be
    your combination.

    If you still have a problem with the combination lock, contact the nearest authorized repair center to your zip code for repair assistance. Our warranty and repair information can be viewed at under the heading “Customer Service Repair Centers” for your reference.

    We appreciate your loyalty and will continue to design products that are reliable business or travel companions.

    • EXCELLENT IMSTRUCTIONS!! Only took me about three minutes to feel the notches on the combination pins and open the piece of luggage I purchased at a garage sale earlier today for $5. Thanks Samsonite!

  3. First of all I would like to say awesome blog! I had a quick question that I’d like to ask if you do not mind. I was interested to find out how you center yourself and clear your head prior to writing. I’ve had difficulty clearing my thoughts in getting my ideas out there.

    I do enjoy writing but it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes are usually wasted simply just trying to figure out how to begin.
    Any suggestions or tips? Thank you!

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