Countdown

It has been 162 days, 7 hours, 24 minutes and 10 seconds since I was on an international flight. It has been 26 days 8 hours 10 minutes and 22 seconds since I was on a flight within the U.S. It has been 18 hours 32 minutes and 5 seconds since I was in an airport and it has been 2 minutes since I heard an airplane fly overhead.

I admit it — I love anything related to an airport or an airplane — I love to travel.

I have been to more than 20 countries and countless cities and small towns throughout the world. I have travelled as far as China and know Europe like an old friend. 

As I try to determine where the fascination began I look at my first flight to Dublin when I was 5 and from the airplane window I saw the gorgeous patchwork of green flying over the landscape of Ireland — or was it the first time flying into Glasgow, Scotland and seeing the lush highlands and mist below — or was it flying into Paris and getting a first glimpse of the Eiffel tower from the air or was it seeing the sky turn from night to day on the redeye to London — or was it flying over Alps on a flight from Paris to Venice or seeing the Himalayas to my left before landing in Tibet?

I believe it actually started with a dear old friend and never stopped.

I lost my mother when I was barely 7 years old while living in Washington, DC. The last present I was given by mother and my father together was a stuffed, jointed bear that stood 30” tall — He was just 16” shorter than me and I named him Pooh. For the next 3 years I spent summers in Boston while my father worked in DC. Sometimes we would drive up but I always flew back with Pooh. We were treated like gold when we flew. I was given stewardess wings and Pooh was given pilot’s wings. Sometimes during a flight we both were invited up into the cockpit to meet the pilot and to look out the front window. We both were in awe and I must admit it was magical.

Pooh now lives in the country with other stuffed animal friends from my youth. He shares stories of our adventures of youth; of tea parties in the park; of climbing trees to reach the sky and of the adventures in the air looking down past the clouds to the cities and towns below.

I continue our fascination with flight — with airports and with travel. I volunteer at National Airport/DCA and have written & published papers including a thesis on airports and the interaction of the humans within the spaces. I am always dreaming and working on my next trip to a distant shore or a distant city.

They say life is a journey not a destination. I agree — but without walking along the River Seine in Paris with a baguette and a slice of brie in hand or without the joy of an espresso below the Duomo in Milan — without the view of the setting sun over the old city of Florence — without your first taste of yak butter tea in Lhasa, without the tears of joy when seeing the last supper for the first time or without catching your breath on the 72nd floor of the Shard overlooking London you will never experience what life can entail.

Yes life is a journey but the destinations give reasons to take that journey.

In 2 minutes I will hear another plane fly overhead. In 46 minutes 20 seconds I will be at in an airport in at least — 36 days 45 minutes 13 seconds I will be on a domestic flight and in 136 days — 11 hours 26 minutes 16 seconds it will we wheels up on my next international flight.

Paris IS always a good idea.