Growing up, my father lived in Vancouver and I lived with my mother and younger brother in Edmonton. Starting at age 8, I would fly every summer to visit my dad. When most kids were still cutting the hair off their Barbies, I was mini jet-setting around Western Canada.
With my back pack jammed with whatever miscellaneous kids supplies I needed [most likely Barbies with their hair cut off], I happily got on the plane without an ounce of anxiety. I had zero fear of flying and only the thought of adventure in mind with no clue how fortunate I was to have such a rare experience for someone that age [keep in mind this was the 80's].
The airport was always such an fascinating place for me. Travelers of all sorts beaming with either excitement or fear, huge billboards advertising fantastic places [anywhere but Edmonton] to visit, only junk food to available eat and the sense that something wonderful was about to happen. Even the smell of an airport gets me going to this day.
I would say my mother had the opposite sensation when dropping me off at the airport. At all of 8, 9, 10 years old she would triple check to make sure I had my ticket, walk me right to the check-in counter and with the nervousness that any good mother would have, give me a big hug and ask me to call her once I arrived.
I never did.
Well, some times.
But most of the time I would immediately forget about the promise made and immerse myself into the task at hand; having fun. The flight attendants would pay loads of attention to me, offering toys, books, pillows, FREE soft drinks and candy. How can you expect an 8 year old to pass that up? I don’t think I needed a single thing offered, but gladly took them all.
Once I arrived in Vancouver, I would follow the herd of people rushing to grab their luggage. Being a minor, I was always chaperoned by the flight attendant to find my father; predictably late and frantic as fuck. I would bet 9 out of 10 times he was late. Still, this never bothered me. I was on an adventure! The later he was the longer I got to spend in Airport Land.
My father is a beach bum. And, because I lived in Edmonton for the first half of my life, when he suggested to go to the beach with the potential of ice cream, I was all over it. Calling mom to let her know that I wasn’t dead in a burning pile of twisted metal, was the last thing on my mind…or my fathers’s apparently…ahh I just realized where I got it from. She just kind of got used to it.
And, that was the beginning of my independent spirit.
So, when my visa was running out and I had to leave the Australia. I planned to travel South America by myself. I didn’t think anything of it. I’ve been a nomad since age 8!
I say all this with one of the major downfall of traveling alone ever increasing as I type. I have to pee. I’ve had to pee almost this whole time, but I have all my luggage with me. I’ve checked out of my room and waiting for the 20 hour bus back to Buenos Aires. I have passports, cameras, this snazzy little computer and a bag filled with all this other stuff that I don’t particularly want to donate to the black hole that is travel theft. So, what do I have to do? Either find someone slightly trust worthy to watch it for a second or bring all this shit with me. Most of my friends are out by the pool so I choose the latter.
Also, I’m one of those girls that doesn’t just throw their purse on the floor; the dirty, wet, hair covered, bug crawling toilet floor. It’s gross. Eventually you’re going to need to place your bag on your lap and then all that gunk is on your pants. Then you touch your pants with your hands and then touch your face with your hands and then you have toilet floor on your face. Ok, maybe not that extreme. But, basically.
So there that.