Day zero or: How I learned to stop worrying and get on the plane
The airline staff were watching me with unveiled interest.
I had arrived at 5:30am (after a brisk hour of sleep) with unusual luggage and a buddy pass for the first flight to San Diego. I wasn’t broke 19yo hippie Sabrina anymore, I was the suburban 2.0 model. I had options for different everything: different, easier transportation, different accommodations, better hiking dates and considering that I had a cold brewing, better grasp on homeostasis. But this trip was never about things coming easy. I liked the buddy pass because it was given in love, and therefore comforting and blessed, I also liked it because it was simple and frugal and open-ended. Show up, wait, think, at some point fly. When will you arrive? I don’t know. What’s this going to look like? No clue. That uncertainty was what my soul craved.
So I waited as they glanced at me from time to time, typing and clacking and referring to me in almost motherly tones.
I closed my eyes and tried to sleep as the passengers filed in slowly. The line died down and a nervous gang of butterflies started a mosh pit in my stomach. The air travel world went on its way as I waited. The staff told me it wasn’t going to happen on the first flight out but then a few minutes later it did happen and I was instructed to run to the gate. Everyone was happy for me and oh boy, was I ever happy for me.
On the plane, there was a lady to my left (who was potentially a softball player based on the number of sunflower seeds she was going through) and a woman to my right who had a pink cardigan with turtles on it who were wearing hats. I sat in between them, terrified. Their ordinariness and calm just highlighted my inner tumult. I felt like a runaway. I mean – I looked like a runaway. I felt like a child who has demanded, then gotten, his way and now fears that the adults are not actually in charge. The only thing wrong with that analogy is that I *am* an adult, the only adult in the traveling party, in fact. Stare at turtle sweater, note the incessant shelling of sunflower seeds, watch the carts driving luggage on the tarmac. Surreal. This is happening.
I was doing the thing I’d been planning for a year and a half.
It was all easy peasy sitting on my tufted couch with the sounds of the kids playing a few rooms away, watching youtube videos of people hiking the trail, talking about gear, answering questions about what to eat and how to hang bear bags. It wasn’t really going to happen. Just fun to imagine, fun to see the amazon purchases trickle in like gentle waves on the beach of a normal vacation. As time wore on I began to feel performance anxiety creep in. I had some bizarre dreams and a few times woke suddenly exclaiming something while jumping to my feet. I posted on the 2017 page, “Am I crazy to be considering this?” to which someone responded, “Of course you’re crazy. You’re a hiker.”
Anyhow, wheels up. Clouds, Skymall magazine, towns looking like computer motherboards. Too late to turn back now. Leaving Dallas. Next stop, San Diego.
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