Travel Log Day 1: Out of the fire and into the flier — bye bye, Arizona!

Arizona was so sad to see me leave that it cried relentlessly for me to stay. I may have actually listened except that, well…Arizona will always be here and Atlas Lab is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Even if they will host it again, I say it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity, so it is!

Okay, so I made it to the airport nice and safe thanks to my father’s amazing driving, and all it took was the bribe of a Godiva cheesecake, so good deal, right? Did I mention we (I) left at 4:30 am?

My plane ticket said Aer Lingus, which was funny since Aer Lingus doesn’t fly to Phoenix. So after a very nice man at United helped me out, we (I) were on our way. At better-than-expected quesadillas and then boarded my plane for Amsterdam!

Just kidding! I boarded a plane for O’Hare.

For those of you who don’t already know, I’m visually impaired from macular degeneration. In Chicago, given that I had no time to make my next flight, the kind people put me in a wheelchair and ran me through that airport like I was a little racecar driver with the secret to how to save the plane waiting for me from sudden disaster. Seriously — thank you O’Hare, you guys rock!

One casualty: at O’Hare, the international terminal is separate, so you have to go through security again. So, while Arizona believed that my toothpaste was safe for the United States of America, Chicago thought my toothpaste was just too much of a risk to allow in the air. So the amazing TSA saved the US once again by dumping my toothpaste out. Please picture, if you can, a legally blind man — carrying flutes in a wheelchair — being told that his toothpaste is a threat. And then they make me take the toothpaste out of the Ziploc bag in case there’s, like, a bomb in the bag, and throw it out. Good job, TSA! Way to save us from a minty bacteria killer! If you ever want to see a free play, go to the airport. There’s a play going on every day: passengers play the role of potential terrorists and the TSA play the role of people pretending to keep us safe. We pretend taking our shoes off, having three ounces of liquid, etc., will sabotage the terrorists’ plot, when all it really does is waste a ton of time and resources.

Okay, back to the trip. Once through, got to the gate, no problem, and was on to Amsterdam…just kidding. I was on to Dublin. The good news, though: I finally made it onto Aer Lingus. So that’s a win, right? I mean, I always wanted to fly Aer Lingus, given that all other types of lingus are amazing.

So far Aer Lingus is way worse than the other lingus I’ve tried. If it improves, I’ll let you know. Although since my toothpaste has been confiscated, I don’t know if I’ll be invited to try any lingus ever again.

I will get better at taking pictures, I promise. I should’ve taken a pic of the TSA agent stealing toothpaste from a legally blind man in a wheelchair, but I was worried about not making my gate and suddenly being rerouted to Guantanamo. I’m still Atlas-bound and I’m gonna make it, baby!

Don’t forget, you can still contribute to my GoFundMe campaign. Anyone willing to buy me a new tube of toothpaste?

Love you all,

Colin