To the end of the world
Trip Start Feb 28, 2011
22Trip End Jun 01, 2011
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We were the only plane on the runway; actually, the only people still at the airport, because it had closed for hours. By this point even the employees had all gone home. I was trying to "will" the plane into the air to Athens along with everyone else
When we got to the customer service desk in an empty terminal at Newark airport, we heard the news that the airport would be closed for the next few days with no time table to re-open. Re-booking our trip for a few months later would be the only option. That was fine with me but I still needed to get back to Miami from the same airport, which would be closed for days. The first sign that told me not to worry, and let me know that it was meant to be, was when Nancy, the Continental customer service manager, gave me her personal cell phone number as I tried to re-book my flight. She put me on a flight to Miami for the next day, which was scheduled to be cancelled anyway, and she told me to call her so that I didn't need to keep coming back to the airport and rebook each day. I didn't realize what a lifesaver she truly was until four days later.
So Ben and I grabbed our bags and headed to the sky train, which was broke and took hours to show up
Nancy told me to call her to rebook and over the next four days she booked, re-booked, triple booked me on every flight to Miami until finally I got on the first one that actually flew out of Newark. I got a call from Nancy telling me to get my things and head to the airport; she had put me on a flight that she thought would actually take off. I couldn't even get into the airport because there were thousands of people in line to re-book their flights. I had never seen a line so long and a sea of people snaked through the same terminal they slept in the past four days. Somehow I was able to spot Nancy behind a counter and she got me my boarding pass within five minutes. If it wasn't for her I would have had to stand and sleep in line for four days like everyone else in the airport. I tried to thank her but she wouldn't accept it. I probably spoke to Nancy fifteen times over four days and she went well out of her way to help me
Once back in Miami I went through my typically New Years routine of laying at the pool, late nights out, sleeping until mid afternoon, watching TV and repeating that cycle for the days I thought I was going to be in Europe and Africa. The following two months my job turned into the same thing day after day just like how it was before the holidays started. I felt myself just going through the motions for the first time in my life. Each morning when my alarm clock went off I wanted nothing more than to throw it off my fifteenth floor balcony. I knew that there had to be something more but just wasn't sure what it was. Then after a mid-year review presentation in Sarasota, one of the women in the audience pulled me aside. I had worked with her all year and we became friends. She was completely honest with me for the first time. She told me that what I was feeling about the job was now being reflected in my presentations. For a second, I felt the need to justify myself and tell her that it wasn't me and that it was her, that I was right and she was wrong, even if she was right. We sat there talking for about thirty minutes and I decided to just listen instead of trying to defend myself. Her honesty and that conversation changed the course of my life
Along the way home it took about one minute to decide I was going to backpack around the world. I reached a point where I needed to follow my intuition and take this journey. I had a great job on paper, it paid great, I could travel, set my own schedule, work from home and help teachers and kids. But I felt as if I had lost some of my inspiration along the way. I told myself that if that ever happened at any point in my life I would make a change. I was given a leave of absence from my company with no guarantee that my position would be there when I returned. I already knew in my mind that I would never be able to return. Within two weeks I finished up work and bought a one way ticket to Hong Kong. I am leaving with no plans or agenda other than to do and go everywhere I want. Not in a bucket list sort of way, but in a way where I am going to let the universe guide me and be open to everything. The world feels like my own personal menu and each stop along the way I will decide where to go next. Some people have told me I am crazy but I think I would be crazy for not doing it. I know its going to be an amazing journey and just the two weeks leading up to this trip have felt like I have already lived a full lifetime. I got five shots, a visa to India, found a sub-letter, stopped my bills, put my car in storage and bought a backpack. The day before I left I made 3 trips to the post office and mailed 14 boxes of my ex-girlfriends things to back to her. I knew they couldn't be in my apartment whenever I return. Just having the courage to confront my dreams is a freeing feeling. Really looking deep within to find the one thing that you want to do with your life and being truly honest with yourself is the best feeling in the world.
"To do one's own duty even unsuccessfully is better than to do someone else's duty successfully. It is better to die while trying to accomplish one's own duty than to settle for another's duty though safer and easier. That course is filled with danger and uncertainty."-The Bhagavad Gita