Sunday, August 16, 2015

blast off

Chronic Overpacker:(noun) Definition: see above.

You would think that I would've learned my lesson. YOU WOULD THINK. I may not have Bertha in tow this trip...but there's a new beast in town. One that is going to create permanent marks on my shoulders. I'm sure of it. 

In my defense, I did pack for 5 months this time...I may have to look up a support group when I get back. Or something. In the meantime, I'll be looking for an appropriate name for this beast. Suggestions welcome.

But let's back up a few, shall we? That's right, I said 5 months. I was about to embark on an epic trip and had somehow convinced one of my BFF's from college, KJ, to quit her job and come with me. The goal? To check off my new list of 33 items within a year (see above tab "the list"), most of which would be done while traveling, annnnnd make something of myself in the form of a writing career. No pressure or anything. 

Many intense questions and thoughts constantly flooded my mind as I prepped for this trip; making it a reality. 

Some of which were:
"Fuck, am I really doing this?"
"I wonder if I can see a reindeer in Norway."
"What if the writing career fails and all of this produces no job?"
"Maybe I could hold two goats, one under each arm..."
"Would I be able to poop this time?"

After months and months of planning, it was finally time to pack up and leave. Boy that happened quickly. No matter how much planning and prep you do for something like this, nothing will ever fully prepare you. 

People's thoughts on my trip played on repeat in my mind... 
"Your itinerary makes me tired."
"How are you going to afford this?"
"You're brave, not a lot of people would do what you're doing."
"Be present. Everywhere you go, be present."

Nevermind that I had done exactly what I didn't want to do. I had returned from my ventures in Italy and Switzerland at the end of last summer prepared to save, write, and plan my next trip. One that would be bigger in various ways. That was supposed to be it. I wasn't supposed to build a life here.

I went to trivia every Tuesday with my sisters and bro-in-laws. I gazed at glow-in-the-dark stars with my niece. I shared epic nights with friends. 

I had spent loads of time with family, and accidentally became close with a few peeps during my time at home. All good things, except that meant it would be harder to leave. I tried my best to avoid it, but getting close to the few that I had met over the year happened anyways, and I wouldn't change it for anything. Not the conversations, drinks, laughs, or support. Sometimes, harder is better.

That being said, leaving was a bitch. Especially saying goodbye to my 2 year old niece who I had literally become advanced level 10 besties with. I cried a bit. Ugly cried. 

The weird thing for me was that I kept waiting for it to hit me. My last week of work it didn't. At my farewell soiree...not yet. The ride to the airport produced butterflies in my stomach, but it still didn't totally smack me in the face (shout out to the Captain for the transport!), and as I boarded the plane I didn't feel that it had hit then either. Sure, I had fleeting moments during all those times where it would creep in...but all in all I wasn't completely realizing what I was about to do. I was oddly calm. Welp, at some point it would hit me. I just hoped I could handle it.

I had really done it now. I scored a seat despite flying standby again to Europe in August, and had boarded said plane. My carry on roller suitcase was no Bertha, but perhaps her little sister, seeing as she was still heavy. I regarded the overhead carry-on space with annoyance. Why was it so god damn high? You'd have to be a giraffe to reach the overhead compartment, or be employing the use of stilts, at the very least. Every which way I tried, I simply was not lengthy enough. Luckily an old Greek man came to my rescue. However relieved I felt, it was laced with guilt for allowing an old person to assist me. Either way, the biatch was finally up there and I had 10 hours to worry about getting it back down. 

Buckled in, and there was no turning back now. My stomach growled audibly on account that I had eaten exactly half a cookie so far and it was 4:30pm. I had purchased a likely 2 day old sandwich for the hefty price tag of $15 and I couldn't wait to stuff it in my face. I figured I should probably at least wait until after take off to avoid looking like a heathen. 

Due to the now frigid conditions on the plane, and my lack of clothing coverage because of the hot summer weather outside, I opted to pop into the bathroom and change. My turn was directly after a mom and a baby which could only mean one thing...

That's right, and that poopy diaper must've been a REAL ZINGER. I changed as quickly as I could in the 1 inch cubic space, simultaneously holding my breath. My hope now was that people sitting near that particular bathroom didn't think I was to blame for the poop smell on the plane. Forget snakes. Poop is the real threat here.

We arrived many hours later, touching down in Athens, and to my surprise the first thing I saw from the runway was Ikea. 

Made it to Athens, now I just had to find KJ. Luckily she arrived just before me and was waiting by baggage claim. After a solid reunion, we made our way to check in for our next flight, that was a mere 8 hours later. We'd be putting in a full work day at the airport.

Hours 1 & 2... coffees and catch up.
Hour 3... the internet stops working.
Hour 4... KJ and I are both experiencing horrible gas.
Hour 5...the couple across from us is face timing with someone with the volume as loud as it can go.
Hour 6...I witness the most impressive rat tail waterfall I've ever seen (4 super long dreaded rat tails, creating a waterfall effect)
Hour 7...The lady next to me is an aggressive magazine pageturner and I'm chilled from the breeze she is creating.
Hour 8...KJ and I can't keep our god damn eyes open since we've been awake for about 36 hours at this point.

After some serious head bobbing narcoleptic moments, we board the plane to Santorini. FINALLY! We took off and the views from high above were incredible. Tiny toy sailboats. Islands I wanted to hop to and from. And somewhere in between the stark blue waters and misty purple haze was the realization that I was really doing this...and it would all begin in Greece.

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