Tag Archives: flying

Why? Because…

Society seems to be addicted with wanting to know the reasons we do things. “Why do you choose to be vegan?” or “Why do you want to get married so young?” or the one applicable to me “Why do you want to travel so much?”. For a long time, I stuttered through an answer that sounded a lot like “Oh, uhm…passport stamps?” which is definitely not the reason but it’s a good deflector. For now, though, this is why I travel:

1.I love the sense of wonder and the curiosity and also the nerves (masochistic as that may be) that lead up to travel. I love those moments in transit where you are a blinking red dot on a map, constantly moving. I love the sense of anonymity that starts in the airport, and doesn’t fully leave you until you come back home.

2. I love what traveling does for me. The experiences I have had abroad make me a stronger person. Flying by myself at the age of 12 was a good start, and working through the hell that is homesickness (a real sickness, you guys. REAL.) and then finding the courage to move away again are evidence of the little bits of strength that I have gained. I like understanding now that there is no weakness in missing people, only in letting that feeling control your actions.

3.The person I am when traveling is the best version of myself, and the one I love the most. I am better at making decisions, I am more confident, and I am certainly more happy. …I’m also more sassy, which I love, but I’m sure others could maybe do without.

4. Being away makes me more appreciative of being at home. There is a sliding scale for this. If I leave for 10 days, I am happy with home for 4 days before I’m planning another escape. When I was gone for almost 6 months, I think I had a 2 month honeymoon period before it seemed like the walls were closing in. I love my family and friends always, but I appreciate them more when I cannot take them for granted. Occasional emails, Facebook messages, and Skype dates make me love who I surround myself with.

5. Mostly, I love the people I meet and the things we do while in a country. Feeding elephants with my team in Malaysia; Working with children in Peru; The weekend trips skiing or shopping in Tbilisi. These are fun moments that differentiate my trip to a country from others who travel to the same place.

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Pretending to be an Expert…

…Isn’t that what having a blog is all about?

This is my third disgustingly long travel itinerary.

(2 hour flight to Houston. 8 hour layover. 10 hour flight to Istanbul. 8 hour layover. 2 hour flight to Tbilisi.)

And so now I fancy myself an expert in the drudgery and exhaustion that those travels entail. My tip and tricks.

1. Airplane food is…useful. Why I was fed breakfast at 2 in the afternoon (local time) I don’t quite understand. But find something on that cafeteria style tray and eat it. **Don’t eat everything because being full, and crammed into a seat that barely reclines–not my idea of comfort.

2. Embrace the layovers. Turn off your brain–but not all the way. Obviously then you die. Rest, without sleeping too much. Strangers, strange countries, and foreign languages do not mix with sleep.

3. EAT FRUIT. For the love of it all, eat fruit. Or vegetable if you’re into that kind of thing. During my layover in Istanbul, I had a fruit plate for lunch and a fruit cup as part of dinner. You’re crammed into tight places with a lot of people and a lot of germs. Be kind to your body.

4. Sleep on the schedule you are flying to. So many people tell me to sleep on the plane, or sleep when you can! But I try to sleep at times I would be sleeping if I were already in the timezone I will be in at the end. Usually I cannot sleep at all so this is a moot point.

5. This is NOT the time to rid yourself of a caffeine addiction. Trying to come of the Coca-Cola products is commendable, but please wait until the few days of chaos are behind you. This is not the time for caffeine-induced headaches. (I was writing this as I sipped a glorious Coca-Cola Light in Istanbul, until my laptop died thanks to the complete lack of outlets in that airport. More on that later.)

6. Drink water and stay hydrated. That means lotion, fruits, water. It’s a fairly simple concept.

Stick with these, and you’ll come to your final destination a little sleepy, but not nearly as exhausted as others. I promise. **I don’t actually promise. This just works for me.

Flights! (Finally)

I adore plans. Plans and checklists and itineraries are my love language. So when I was accepted to teach English in the Republic of Georgia, of course the first question I asked is ‘When will I arrive?’. And I was told January 12th. That didn’t happen. And then I was told January 31st. So when January 28th rolled around and I hadn’t received a ticket, I was getting nervous. There was talk of whether these delays were meant to be a practice in faith, or a sign that this wasn’t for me. But after much praying, and talking, I decided to wait a little bit longer. I FINALLY HAVE MY FLIGHTS! I will leave on February 5th and two days later I will find myself in a country at the crossroads of Europe, Asia, and the Middle East!

I know I was a bit annoyed (peeved) at being delayed so much, but I am so glad I had this month to focus on schoolwork and spend with family and friends!

I was able to spend time with my Pops as he was admitted to the hospital first with a blood-clot and a week later as he suffered a stroke. I visited the panda bears at the zoo with Miss Tamara. I drove to Fort Rucker to see another my friend before she begins flight school!! (SO, SO excited for her!). I was snowed in on my birthday!! And spent one last day sledding and eating pizza with my favorite cousin.

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#pandaswag

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Pandas are fascinating. And one of my favorites.

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One of us (ME) was obviously prepared for the snow. The other threw snowballs at my face.
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Birthday Selfie! an excuse to use my scarf. snow!
A trifecta.
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Cramming in one last picture before I leave. Future pilot and future teacher.

This delay, while NOT in my plans, was certainly in my best interest. And where a month ago I was not ready to leave, and actually dreading it, now I am so unbelievably excited and anxious to visit new places and spaces. 

Stages of a Transatlantic flight.

Flying is fun! Alliteration, apparently, is also. Flying for 8 hours straight and you start to hear voices. 

 

Stage One:Excitement. This plane is going to take you somewhere new. All you have to do is sit back and relax. Piece of cake! (2 hours)

Stage Two: Boredom. There is only so long one can look at cornfields and lakes the size of puddles, or houses that resemble a mini game of Monopoly before it all gets old. And that book you brought? Snooze-fest. (1.5 hours)

Stage Three: Rationalization. You can make it. Only..5 and half hours to go! Maybe you can sleep? Wait,how do you recline this seat? And who said the passenger next to you got the armrest?! And can that row of girls SHUT UP!! Nothing is funny about bad airplane food. (1 hour).

Stage 4:Hallucinations. At this point, you may be experiencing many things. The constant white noise is making you question your sanity. You need to escape, so you make your way to the bathroom and stare at yourself–did you look this tired when you boarded the plane? Personally, I started hearing things–ominous plane noises. Somewhere in here you may snatch some sleep. Don’t expect more than 15 minutes before a stewardess inevitably comes by rustling a bag to wake you. (1.5-2 hours.)

Stage 5: Bargaining and Denial. If only you could parachute out of the window–anything to end this. You cannot sleep, you cannot think straight, and that blasted passenger next to you! Surely landing is close…45 minutes tops. Check the time–make that 2 hours. You will do anything to fall asleep. Drugs? Does anyone know where you can get a great Xanax? Or alcohol. Eight dollars for a mini bottle of tequila is starting to sound quite reasonable! 

And finally, blessedly, you start the descent that means you can STAND UP, and walk around, and most importantly, TALK. Freedom.