I would consider myself a somewhat to moderately experienced traveler.
I remember the days when you could get into Mexico without a passport.
I survived getting frisked and questioned about a bottle of Elmer's glue in Moscow, not to mention figuring out that the arrivals and departures took place at two different airports about 15 minutes apart. Good to know.
I learned the hard way to be vigilant about checking visa laws (I guess sometimes they change without telling you), and had to miss and rebook a flight for the next day in order to take care of some paperwork, paying hundreds of dollars of fines in the process.
I figured out the bus system in Panama because it was cheaper than a taxi. No small feat, let me tell you. (Don't even get me started on bus systems...how is one supposed to know where their stop is if they have never been there before?)
I fended off a would-be mugger who threw me to the ground in an attempt to steal my bag in Panama, in the rain.
But I have never, until now, flown by myself.
Let me explain. I am no stranger to group travel (mission trips, immersion trips, etc.) I have been to 5 countries with my bff April. I studied abroad with Emily 2. But I have never been comfortable as a young female traveling alone.
Recently, however, I had the opportunity to join previously mentioned bff April in sunny Las Vegas, NV for a bachelorette extravaganza. We no longer live in the same state, so planning the trip proved to be a difficult task. She and her sisters booked a flight and hotel, and it was up to me to find my own flight. This suited me just fine, since I had saved up my credit card reward points for just such an occasion. (Free flight...winning).
I honestly didn't even think about what it would be like to travel alone until my husband dropped me off at the airport. And there I was. Alone. An experience that had always seemed so simple and mundane before suddenly had me second-guessing myself. I wandered through the big glass doors of the airport with an awe-struck and slightly dazed expression. The expression of a first-time flier. Smartly dressed business people and seasoned travelers smiled comfortingly in my directing, as if to offer encouragement and support to the obvious newbie.
Not to be discouraged, I took a deep breath, pasted a huge smile on my face, and marched up to the Delta baggage check, ready to take on MSP airport. Just as though I was riding a bike, it all came flooding back to me. Once again comfortable in my own skin, and ready to join the in-transit masses, I allowed myself to relish my favorite airport past times. I treated myself to a new magazine and some McDonalds. I chatted with my fellow passengers. I even enjoyed the in-flight movie when the snores from the elderly lady with the neck pillow seated beside me weren't distracting me.
"All in a day's work." I thought confidently as I disembarked the aircraft. "What was I so worried about?" That is, until I got my luggage, looked around, and realized I had no plan for getting to the hotel. But that, my friends, is a story for another time...