I would rather not have the occasion to write this. I am at a hotel in Stavanger, Norway, and my luggage is lost. I am giving a plenary talk tomorrow morning, and I will have to it in my travel clothes. I have bought a toothbrush and toothpaste in the reception.
Every time it happens I tell myself that next time I will be clever and take my toothbrush and nightie and a change of underwear in my handluggage. At least I have my talk with me. In my laptop.
I once had to wear my travel clothes for three days at a conference before I got my luggage back. I had changed planes in Chicago for Winnipeg, I was dead tired after a Transatlantic flight, the flight to Winnipeg was overbooked, I almost had to fight my way to the plane. And my luggage didn't get on board. Luckily, it came the day before the conference was over. I was travelling on in Canada afterwards. I have a T-shirt from that trip.
I also have a T-shirt from Kruger Park in South Africa. Staffan and I missed a connection in Paris, spent a long day at the airport (we were not allowed to leave the airport because our luggade was checked in), arrived in Johannesburg dead tired, and our luggage wasn't there. We were going to the Kruger Park, and we changed lodges every night. The suitcase came on the third day. Staffan also had to buy a T-shirt, and it is quite a problem in his size.
The worst story is, however, from when I was going to Worcester for my inaugural lecture. Packed my best academic clothes. Changed planes in Copenhagen. At Birmingham, no luggage. And I didn't even know where I was staying, so I had to give the university phone number. And I had to buy the whole outfit: pants, top, socks, shoes. The luggage arrived during the refreshments after my lecture.
And still I haven't learned.