A few months ago, while biking to a small Swedish town, I asked Rachael to contribute to 'The Flight Attendant Life.' I felt that the website could use her contagious energy and spirit of adventure. I love being around this girl who exudes a love for people and shares a smile that makes everyone's day better. I am better for knowing Rachael and love that I can be her colleague and friend. Rachael will be contributing regularly as 'The Story & Interviews Editor.' Please feel free to reach her at editorial at theflightattendantlife dot com. Enjoy! -Kara
What are you infatuated by?
What do you want more than anything else in the world?
Night after night, I sat slumped in a wooden chair in a cold, dark 15ft x 15ft hospital room. I wasn’t sick, ill, or in the need of medical care. It was my job to sit there, in the 15ft x 15ft hospital room. There was the sound of telemetry monitors beeping and bed alarms screeching. It drove me insane. Maybe I did need this hospital, or at least the mental ward.
I asked myself constantly, ‘What am I doing?’ and ‘How did I get to this place?’ I was working; working with patients who were at their lowest points in life. I certainly wasn’t at my best either. The greater percentage of these people had attempted suicide. I wasn’t at that point of hopeless, but more of a numb mundane dissatisfaction with my existence. From 11pm to 7am, it was my responsibility to monitor these patients, making sure that they didn’t harm themselves or bolt for the door. I forcefully fought sleep, battling eyes closed, which if that did happen, would have been grounds for an automatic dismissal. I sound over dramatic, I know, but this was honestly my own, personal hell. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed sharing brightness and positive energy in these peoples’ dark situations, but all I was doing in the midst of their sadness was dreaming of my own escape. I was dreaming of the things that I hoped to do, and the better days that I hoped to experience. The days that belonged to my future. The days that would include my obsession with seeing…
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I had to do it, but sitting there in that hospital was not getting me a millimeter closer to what I day dreamed upon. Dreaming without effort is fairly pointless, thus I kept my fingers busy googling everything to do with traveling. Programs for young travelers, Peace Core, Mission Trips, Study Abroad…everything. Nothing seemed possible, felt right, or fit into the timeline of my life, but that didn’t stop my search.
I remembered a dream I had as a young girl. I was never sure if it met the requirements society seems to have set for a proper career, or if I was the stereotypical type for this job, so I didn’t push it. But now, at 23, I no longer cared what people thought. I understood what mattered most to me, and I understood more of who I was. I refused to be locked into a box any longer. Where I was, in that hospital, wasn’t the place for me. My excessive energy and eagerness needing exploration. The world belonged to me and I belonged to the world. I was born to explore.
I began to type into that Google search bar streams of words like, “how to become a flight attendant”, “flight attendant jobs,” and “flight attendant open houses.” For months, I completed more employment applications then I ever had in my life and probably ever will. I went to open houses, and got a couple of one-on-one interviews, but still no job. There were rejections, but with each “No Thank You. Please pursue other opportunities,” I learned. I met great people, gained confidence, and my smile grew brighter. One late evening, I got a call from a man whose accent I couldn’t place with its correct geographic location. He invited me to interview for a job as cabin crew for an International airline. I chose the first day available, and the earliest time possible. I couldn’t wait! This time I needed a bright red scarf. That would complete the deal.
I couldn’t find that scarf, so I made one to go with my navy blue skirt suit. I repeated to myself, “It’s your turn Rachael Anne. It’s your turn,” and I believed exactly that. I could feel the sincere smile painted across my face during that interview. I know that the interviewers felt it too, because after an extensive interview, swim test, uniform fitting, and a week of anxiously awaiting (and to say I was anxious is an understatement) an email from them, I was offered a position. My body trembled after reading the good news. What I had always marveled about was now my reality. I did it. I finally did it!
I’ve been flying about five months now, and every single trip is such a journey for me. I don’t care if I am sitting in a crew room with my colleagues, biking to the gas station for a snack, or making a bonfire on a beach in Denmark and then jumping off a pier into the sea, it’s all complete bliss. All of it. Hiking through a Swedish forest, enjoying the beauty of California, or being engulfed by the energy of London- it all makes me so incredibily happy. Actual work is not bad either. I love simply talking the passengers, making their adventures enjoyable, and getting to know my colleagues. The places we visit blow my mind; the landscapes, sights, famous landmarks, and are so intriguing. When I am buckled into my jump seat going away or coming home, I can’t help but think “Is this really happening? Is this really my life?”
There have been lessons for me even in just a few months. I have found that the locations mean little without the people that are tied to them. Both the people I work with and the people in the places we visit. I can’t explain the euphoria of introducing myself, or being introduced to someone I haven’t known before. Every single person’s story interests me. I am always digging deeper to discover more about who they are; their culture, their lives, families, how they got where they are, and where they are going. I have this idea that you never get to truly know a city unless you get to know that city’s people. So, I’m on a mission; a mission to explore, to share love, to make memories, to take pictures, to talk, to listen, to care.
To meet you, and to find out your story.
Santa Monica, California
And maybe I’ll even tell it here if that’s ok with you. If you want to tell your story, I would love to listen. Please introduce yourself and by emailing editorial at theflightattendantlife dot com.
Now go explore!