My family has never once taken a vacation. The typical ones you see on TV with snacks packed, luggage taking up the trunk, souvenirs bought only to be forgotten as soon as you got back – nope. That was never something we did. We went to Disneyland once that I can remember, a hotel in Palm Springs one weekend and took 4-5 drives to my mom’s family in Arizona when I was younger, but other than that my life was void of the travel I hear about from friends. Maybe that’s why I lacked the initial interest to ever see past my television screen. Why head to Africa when the Discovery Channel can tell me all about it?
This all changed though in recent years when I finally faced my irrational fear of flying. Really though, I still don’t fully understand how planes work and am forced to just tell myself it’s witchcraft so I don’t drive myself crazy thinking about it. Nevertheless, I finally got on one in 2015. A decade after I graduated high school. 28-years-old. Years and years after everyone I’d known had taken trips here and there. My boyfriend of not even six months had his sister’s wedding to go to and I was determined on going. When all was said and done, I was extremely surprised I didn’t make a scene crying after we got to the airport, once we checked in, when were about to board or when we sat down. I did however keep that barf bag in my hand for far too long after we took off. Note: I did not utilize it, and because of that the hoarder in me wanted to take it as a souvenir – I restrained myself.
The ride itself was not scary in the least. It was though one of the most boring times of my life. Nobody warned me that it was like sitting in a floating waiting room at a hospital; quiet with just the sounds of restless children and shuffling to the bathrooms, mostly everyone fearful – not of their appointment but rather the voice from the pilot saying anything that’d cause us to kiss our asses goodbye. So yeah, planes are less a fear now and more of an experience I loathe due to boredom and lack of legroom, but man oh man – how I want to jump on every one of them now.
The girl whose family’s photo albums are deficient when it comes to vacation memories now wants to make up for lost time. I love to sit at the airport and watch the thousands of people pass, wondering where each one is going and why. Sitting there waiting for my gate to load and to escape the routine LA has to offer; wake, write, sleep, repeat. While I do write when away, I am less attached to my laptop, which is a vacation all its own.
Since boarding that first flight to a wedding in Virginia, I’ve been back there once and have gone to Portland. It’s not enough and I want to go everywhere. Even states I can’t locate quickly on a map, I want to go. Nebraska, Idaho, Maine – where you at? It doesn’t matter because one day we’ll see one another, but it’s not just the US I want to conquer, it’s the world. Well, not all of it. While some countries look great on small screens – I will stick to the Discovery Channel for South America and Africa. I ain’t down with the wildlife lurking outside. Give me the cuisine of Italy, the grace of London, the greenery of Ireland. Facing my fear was easier said than done, now it’s about saving up and facing adventure one step at a time.