Rachael and I giggled as we wandered beneath bright blue Scandinavian skies; past bright buildings and impeccably dressed Danish men. Impolitely—we stared with gaping mouths and eyes wide—at the beautiful species of humans that inhabit the city of Copenhagen. Gawd…the Danes though. [Insert love eye emoji here]. Rachael—a colleague and one of my favorite people, not just at work, but in the entire world—had joined me for my standard Copenhagen excursion of avocado toast and lactose-fri cappuccinos. She was the best adventure friend, and it was days and trips like this that made me believe I truly did have the best job in the world.
After two years, my job was wearing on me. There were things that I hated. I missed having a choice in what I did and where I went. I sometimes craved a normal life; with a normal boyfriend and a normal place to live. It was my layovers though, that had me holding on to this certain airline. When you spend more time in London in a month than Los Angeles (your home), because of your job, your home becomes the British metropolis—even if only for that month. Your heart falls for a place and out of probability, you happen to find yourself a London lover. The next month, when you no longer get any London layovers and instead get stuck in Vegas and Stockholm for three nights each, you shrug your shoulders and think, “Alright, cool.”
This is life. Typical life. You roll with it.
I love my layovers and I type that with the thought that really, it would be nice if this 9 day trip was only three days in total. I’m using this time to catch up on sleep. I would like to have my own life outside of work every once in awhile. I’m using this time to catch up on writing. I’m using this time to catch up with the crew, going to pool parties and maybe some clubs. When you work as an international flight attendant, your personal life is so intermingled with work life, there is no defining line of where one ends and one begins. I have no personal life, except one that fits and fills the gaps in my work life. I stay because of my layovers. I stay because of my crews. I stay because it’s easy and fun and unique. And it’s familiar.
This last week in Copenhagen, I sat on the wall by the lakes. Traci— a former US Airways stew— sat next to me, both of us smiling under the hot sun as we observed the Danes kick off the weekend with drinks and drugs. I shook my head in amazement over where my life ended up. It was five years prior that I had wondered what it would be like to work for a European company. It had been four years exactly since I had sat on this same wall with my local friend Sascha, doing the exact same thing. I never thought any of this would be my regular existence. It’s regular and yet, never ceases to inspire a well of gratitude within me. Not everyone gets to live like this. Not everyone is this blessed.
I know that when I do leave this company, I’ll always have to make time for Copenhagen, London, and Bergen, Norway. But, it won’t be the same. Layovers bring with them the consistency, familiarity, and friendships that travel alone does not have the power to do. Because, it’s not just a job, and the places I go are not just destinations. They are part of my heart and my home, which make letting go harder than I ever imagined it could be.
How wonderful that I can say that? How wonderful that I get to sit under the sunshine with a best friend and watch hot Danish men walk by. And we can giggle and laugh and say, “We are totally doing this next week!”