Over the hills...

October 27, 2009

Tears welled up in my eyes, as I spoke a single drop of moisture made its way down my face ‘Tricia I don’t know why this is happening.’ My big sister was positive and resolute and she had surely been through similar emotions catching her first flight out of the country. Out of the people I had called while attempting to talk over my shaky feelings about my flight across the Atlantic, I think she was the best equipped person to make me feel better.

I had wondered around Grand Central Station trying to find food after my friends left and I felt positive and upbeat that I was on my own and ready to face a new adventure. I made my way to JFK airport to catch my flight. I had already made myself at home in the terminal, sitting next to a power supply so I could type a future blog entry on my laptop. I managed to detail the previous nights drinking before I started to think about my friends and my family that I was leaving behind in the country I had known for my twenty-five and a half years of life.

I packed the laptop back up into my backpack and pulled out my cell phone. I called my mom first but there was no answer. So when my sister picked up she got the brunt of my confused ramblings about leaving. I knew I wanted to go still, I just didn’t expect to feel choked up about leaving. After a conversation with her about travel and home  I felt better, and by the time my mom called I had sorted out my feelings somewhat.

I had a few more conversations with friends and family before it was time to start boarding the plane. I got in line and waited for what seemed like forever to take my window seat on the JET airways plane. I noted the touch screen LCD TV in the seat back, and the remote control embedded in the armchair. It had been a while since I had flown anywhere, and I had never taken an international flight, so this technology was exciting for me. I quickly figured out that the book, dual MP3 players, and laptop I had brought in my carry-on bags would receive little use.

I made small talk with the woman in the seat next to me about the airline and comfort features, which we both agreed were stellar. Our conversation soon moved on to bigger things such as travel, work, family and hobbies.

By the time the plane landed in Brussels we had talked for almost the entire flight and I found that I had made my first friend while traveling before I even reached my initial destination. We were heading to different cities in France from Brussels, but we hung out in the airport together and I used my new credit card to purchase my first meal abroad.
Perhaps I should’ve splurged on something more interesting than a sandwich. I guess the egg and the baguette set it apart from the typical American style sub.
The Brussels airport was interesting and modern and I wish that I got to explore more of Belgium than just that concourse. I snapped a few pictures with my trigger happy camera hand, the most interesting and appropriate being this photo of a strange  art piece that rested at the far end of the building.
My friend got on her flight to Nice, but not before offering me a place to spend Thanksgiving; a holiday that I had mentioned as my favorite of all, and one that is unfortunately not celebrated in Europe. I was happy, and any notion of uncertainty that I had before boarding my flight was gone. I knew that I was in for a great journey.

I had saved and invested as much money as I could for years so that I could take this vacation and I knew that it would be positive and life changing. I had a sense that every day was better from the first day that I left home and anything was possible in the coming months of travel that I was looking forward to enjoying. I hadn’t even gotten to Paris yet.


  1. I think it was bound to be an emotional moment, leaving the country, family, friends. But you had to do it, and I know you are glad you did.

  2. Thanks for posting these thoughts and your journey Andy. You're a great story teller and you have such beautiful stories to tell!


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