On to California Training

Saying goodbyes at the airport. Sunday morning about 6:00AM.

Today, I left Raleigh, North Carolina at 6:50am EST with rain making the black streets shine in the light of the airport. I was nervous, yes. Excited, yes. But more than that, my mind was busy. For the last two weeks I’d been going over list after list: what to pack; what to clean; what to pick up from the store; what did I really need to live for a year? I’d been going over these lists in my head, giving each item a mental check or star. Of course, in the Ecuador packing list from Global Citizen Year it said I’d pack some things I didn’t need and I wouldn’t pack some things I would need but here I was trying to avoid the curve. Did I put the iPod in my bag? Or did it get left on the table? Who could tell with all the things in various backpack pockets. Of course, the iPod was in the little baggie tucked under a book at the bottom of my bag, right where I had put it. Of course, it got put in with everything else. I hadn’t left anything behind, right? Besides the only place I’ve ever lived, I mean.

It didn’t matter that anything I’d forgotten was well gone by then. I’d already boarded the plane, awaiting take off. Anything left on the dining room table was staying in Raleigh. But I felt like I needed to know that one thing that was missing, and I could feel it, a dim light calling attention to the one list with the one item I’d forgotten among the hustle and bustle.

I turned my mind to the window to distract myself with the slow pull of an airplane dragging itself to its runway. I do love watching airplanes take off from the inside. I intend to never take an advanced physics class so the flight of a jet is always like magic to me. Reaching the runway, the vibrations of an engine somewhere beneath us warned of our departure. The little white lines on the asphalt outside the miniscule window began to zip by faster and faster. The engines roared in a united effort and buzzing in my feet stopped as the front wheels lifted off the runway. The back wheels followed. And just like that, we suddenly weren’t on the ground anymore. It’s funny how most people are nervous of traveling by airplane when flying is the favored would-be superpower.

As the plane leveled out, people began to relax in their seats, assured that the worst part was over. The pressure of a rising altitude built up in my ears and I yawned in an attempt to relieve them. When my ears finally popped, something else in my head popped as well and I remembered the one thing I’d forgotten: Q-tips. The only thing I’d forgotten was Q-tips. I smiled with ease knowing both that I probably wouldn’t need them too badly and that I probably was going to be alright.

Leave a comment


  1. Have a safe trip!!

  2. andy

     /  August 20, 2012

    Nice to know you’re safely on your way! And, I just have to say, your writing style makes reading your posts a real delight … thanks!

  3. Hi – I got your blog from your dad sharing it at work. Andy is right. You have a wonderful writing style. Although, being a mom, reading it made me tear up. 🙂 Leaving the only home you know, well, that sparked the melancholy for me. Good luck to your adventures. What a wonderful way to start a new chapter. Big admiration from someone at a far away age. 🙂


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