I am a very nervous traveler. In case I haven’t made that clear enough.
By the time my date of departure has arrived, I’ve left Bones copious notes on how to run the office without me. He has copies of my travel itinerary, travel insurance, and visa. And he’s had to deal with my almost-frantic need to be at the airport 2 hours early.
“It’s a tiny airport,” he reassures me. “An hour will be fine.”
As it turns out, my itinerary has the wrong departure time on it, and we end up arriving at Kalamazoo Int’l Airport about 10 minutes before my flight is supposed to leave.
Of course, everything is fine – it’s always fine – and Bones walks me up to Security. I realize that the last person to do this was my mother, in North Carolina, many years ago. I pretty much always fly alone, which is partly why I’m so nervous about travel. (Ironically, someone that was a love interest for half a second told me I was a ‘cupcake’ and he couldn’t imagine me navigating an airport alone. That statement still has too much volume in my head.) Don’t get me wrong..I love travel. I love flying. I love the adventure of it all and I think I even love the overly inflated sense of responsibility I have to make sure everything I can control goes right. But anyway….yes, Bones walks with me and I am overwhelmed by how patient and supportive he is.
I start to cry.
“You’re going to AUSTRALIA!” he says, and hugs me, and he looks so damn happy for me that it makes me cry a little more. He’s so selfless. Never at any point has he acted jealous or negative in any way about this trip, this opportunity.
I am so very, very lucky.
The Kalamazoo airport is just minutes from my house, and it may be one of the nicest airports I’ve ever had the pleasure to visit. I board a small plane that hops me over to Detroit, where I decide to go get a drink and some lunch. Idly, I check in with JS and discover he’s also in Detroit, a few gates over from me! (We’d been joking about racing to see who got to Australia first..after we actually compare our tickets, we realize we’re on the same flight from LA to Australia. So much for racing!)
JS and I visit for a bit. His flight is scheduled to leave a bit after mine, and he strikes me as someone who is remarkably ok with waiting for the next stage of his trip. (I get a little restless, I admit, and while I like to be at my gate early, I will also tend to go look at the local shops to kill some time.) Then it’s off on our next flights, to meet again in LA!
This is my second time at LAX, and I can’t say I’ve cared for my experiences there yet. Today is no exception. A glance at the departure board tells me I need to go to gate 52B. Which takes some searching. Because it looks like this:
As it turns out, we have to take a shuttle bus from this gate to the int’l terminal. Have you ever wanted to be in a vehicle driving alongside planes? I did not want that experience. But I got it. We are taken to a TOTALLY EMPTY terminal and I won’t lie, it’s a little creepy..
I send JS a series of Facebook emails (that he doesn’t see until he gets to Australia) telling him what to expect, as the passengers that share the shuttle with me admit they’d all been sitting up by this sign for far too long, not knowing they had to go somewhere else, and I know JS has a shorter layover than I do. I then walk along with my six fellow travelers to what I’m pretty sure is our certain doooooooooom (Clive Barker’s Midnight Meat Train, anyone?), but – lo and behold! – instead we find ourselves in the happily busy international terminal. YAY! I get my American money converted into Australian dollars, find some much needed coffee, eventually find JS, and get in line to get onto the next plane. Which, as it turns out, is on Virgin Australia.
Ok, Virgin. I think I love you. Everyone gets water, eye masks, ear plugs, book marks, and a pen. Snacks and sodas by the rest rooms so you can serve your own dang self all thorugh the 13 hour flight. Also? USB plug so I can charge my phone AND an entire row to myself so I can stretch out and SLEEP!
Next stop? AUSTRALIA!!!