Chasing the sun, chasing the moon.
Current status: it is pitch dark outside, way too early and I am sitting at ‘Joe & The Juice’ in Copenhagen airport, one of my FAVORITE places to stop when I am in the airport in Copenhagen or Stockholm. It is a really good juice, coffee, and sandwich bar. The names of the food items alone are enough to pull you in with things like ‘hell of a nerve’ and ‘sex me up’. The staff is always really pumped and fun, and well…very attractive. ;) Highly recommend. I am also currently running on about 2 hours of sleep. I had to go to Tallinn yesterday evening since my flight to Copenhagen was at 6 in the morning. I was staying with a dear friend and well, of course I didn’t get any sleep because we were chit chatting away and my mind just kept telling me, “you’ll be fiiiiiiiine”. Ha, the long leg of my journey has not even started yet and I already feel broken. What can you do? If you have read my post about travel before you know that I truly believe that travel is not meant to be glamourous. These long journeys home to the US are so far from that. I know many people have not experienced long distance flights, especially consistent ones every 4-6 months. You would think it would get easier and while the process gets more automatic, the travel and stress never really fad for me. I use to hate flying prior to moving to Estonia for university, but I was kind of forced to accept it and while it still makes my stomach churn, I respect it. I find it a wonder how humans can be so high up in the sky and travel distances that at one point were impossible. In a machine that glides like a bird through the slivers of clouds, the rain, the wind, with such ease. It is so powerful and inspiring. Now, that doesn’t go to say my heart doesn’t stop when the plane shakes a little, OH it does. But, I try to refocus and center myself. My fear of flying really has improved. This part goes to all those that share the same fear, I feel you. However, it doesn’t have to control you. I LOVE to travel and I can’t let my fear of flying stop me. Fears that hold you back from things you love are not serving you any good. That applies to anything. When I was in a really bad place with my anorexia, my fear of not being in control and the unknown was taking over my life and not letting me live. I let that shit go. As with the flying, it is still there, but I can refocus myself. My new motto that I found recently was this:
“At this point in my life, I catch one wrong vibe and I’m out.”
Let that be your mantra, too.
So, here I am and I have about 4 hours until my big flight to Washington D.C. What do you do during layovers? You basically sit around. There is no sugar coating that. Wi-Fi is your best friend. Sadly, many airports are getting rid of free Wi-Fi which to me, is blasphemy. Wi-Fi in all airports should free to access unlimited. However, many still offer unlimited or a few hours free. I also use the layovers to take a chance to walk around especially before a big flight. Your legs get so cramped for sitting so long and it’s good to get some fresh blood in your legs before the journey. There have been so many moments during flights where I just want to stretch my legs across the seat next to me even though there is a person, but of course, that is not socially acceptable SO, make sure to walk out those legs. :) I even do some yoga stretches sometimes, but that is optional.
I am writing this post in fragments and right now I am sitting in the coziest spot with a cup of hot green tea, a beautiful plane in my view and the sun rising to my left. WHAT A SIGHT. It is a lovely thing when you can wake up with the world together, as your eyes rise so does the sun, but even more beautiful when you wake up before the world has even stirred and darkness envelops everything and then, slowly, she wakes up before you. It’s wild.
Side note: Do NOT pack ripe bananas to take with you in your bag. They will explode, cover everything in your bag with a sticky slime, and the smell will forever stain your mind.
Yes, this did just happen to me. :)
Well, this fragment is MANY hours later. I have been awake for easily over 30 hours. I am about an hour and a half away from landing in my hometown. However, the journey from my long flight to my last flight to my hometown is one to remember.
After we finally landed in Washington D.C., I realized I only had about 1 hour (plane was late due to wind) to get through border control and customs, get my suitcase to put it on a transfer and get alllllll the way to my gate for my last flight. For many of you reading this, it is hard to put into perspective, but let’s say that is barely enough time in fact, NOT enough time. Customs is ALWAYS slow and the lines are tremendous. What blew my mind was that they only had a few officers checking passports while there were 285730487047 vacant spots for other officers. A ratio of 10000000 to 1 it seemed like, not an exaggeration. Many people around me were also worried and had flights in about an hour as well. We were all sighing and furious. I finally got through customs with ease, but at that point I had about 20 minutes to get to my flight and I had no idea that my gate was a different galaxy away. Also, during this time the staff was saying that the other staff at the gates knew we were running behind and they would wait for us so, I was trying to be calm…
I grabbed my suitcase and bolted to bring it to the transfer. I rolled it violently to man in charge of them as he told us to RUN for our gates and guess what I did? I RAN like I have never ran before in my life. Again, no exaggeration here. Here I am sleep deprived, just crossed 7 time zones, and my FINAL flight that takes me home, is at a threat. My heart was in my throat and I gave all the energy I had left into this. The woman I had spoken to about where my gate was made it seem like it was close, but noooooooo it was not. I had to take an air train to get there and many flights of steps. Washington Airport is just one MASSIVE long hallway that never ends, it was insane. I am pretty sure I was cursing more than I would have liked. I had a sweater on and I was getting drenched, but I really did not care. I HAD to make it.
FINALLY, I make it. I take a deep breath and tell myself please be the right one and as I approach the counter the staff is shouting first call for North Carolina. WHAT? That’s not Kansas City, I know this is the right gate. I ask them immediately where the Kansas City flight is and you know what they said? “We already closed the door and the plane was already about to leave.
….I exploded in tears. After ALL that running, my chest in so much pain and all I could think about was..I have to get home, I need to get home…I just lost it. My chest caved and I felt defeated..
However, this journey does not have a bad ending. As I mentioned earlier, I did get on the flight. One of the employees hurried me down to the plane and they were able to squeeze me on right before they were about to pull out of the gate to take off. I have never been more grateful in my life. Sitting here right now on this plane and knowing I will see my family so soon, warms my heart. I feel like smelly garbage, but there’s a small part of me that feels like a complete badass.
It’s about a day and a half since I’ve gotten home. It’s six in the morning, helllllllo jet lag. You have not experienced jet lag until you’ve crossed at least 7 time zones. It’s one thing when you travel somewhere with a 1-2 hour time difference, but 8 hours? That is something else. It’s really hard to explain to other people, but it feels like complete rubbish. Imagine feeling like its 2 or 3 in the morning, when it’s only 1 in the afternoon. The tiredness that takes over you is so much more than feeling a little sleepy. It is a tiredness that consumes you entirely and wants to take you down and put you in an eternal sleep. Your hunger cues are all over the place and you either feel ravenous or with no appetite at all at the most random times as your body is adjusting to eating at different times. Your muscles ache from all the travel and sometimes you feel like you’ve ran a marathon (like I ACTUALLY did when I was chasing my plane..). Your energy levels dip and rise and you’re up super early and in bed super early. I don’t mean to scare anyone from travel at all! I just want to be transparent and real. This is the reality of long-distance travel. But, for me, all these things are worth it. All the discomfort, the stress, anxiety, fear, everything is worth it.
To me, the good is what stands out. Being in the air with the clouds, defying what years ago was impossible, seeing so much of the world, the adrenaline rush of take-off and landing which is a combination of anxiety and excitement in one, the people waiting for me at my destination or the people who have not even met me yet and the unknown, crossing time zones and chasing the day or the night, and the list goes on. Travel is such a crazy wonderful thing.
Being home for Christmas is one of the best things. I got to meet our new puppy, Pax who I have been dying to meet since my family got him. Being away for such long periods of time hurts, but it makes the visits even more sweet.
I really hope to be honest and real on this blog and uncover all the fakeness that we see on social media and in life. I want to show the ugly and uncomfortable. That is relatable. That is real. That is this crazy wonderful thing we call life. If you ever get a chance to travel long-distance, DO it. Don’t let the fear or worry consume you. I always thought it would consume me, but it gets better. It really does. Travel changes you. I feel like it brings you closer to yourself. It challenges you. It pushes you over the edge. It inspires. It boils your blood. It is unbelievable.
I can’t express enough how important it is to break out of your comfort zone. I spent so much of my life living in this safe box I built for myself. Afraid to be different, afraid to figure out who I was, afraid to grow up, afraid to feel pain, afraid of anything that may cause discomfort, but that will never get you anywhere in this life. Trust me.
Give yourself the benefit of the doubt, let yourself break...
… and truly feel what it is to be alive.