I’m on planes a lot. If I’m not working on them to raise money for the travel piggy bank, I choose to sit on them, subjecting myself to long flights, hours of waiting, and all the various horrors of air travel, just because “I wanna see the world.”
I must see the world. There’s not even a question of if, it just is, the deep seeded, all-consuming passion, of going…
But, I’ve noticed something. I’m always leaving. Flying away; saying goodbyes to places, people, and moments, holding to the hope that the goodbye will sway to more of a comforting, see-you-later tune.
Leaving, like traveling, is a recurring theme in my life. Maybe the two go hand-in-hand for flight attendants, or for anyone, for that matter. I think that they must exist as a pair, but I haven’t truly accepted this fact, as every time a plane I’m on hits the tarmac, returning me home after one of my holiday adventures, I feel the missing, the slight twinge of empty. (Side note: Interesting I get “away sick” instead of homesick…hmmm.)
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I admire the gypsy souls; the individuals that float from place to place, completely free and untied, savoring what is, and not looking at the has-been. I was talking with one of my favorite people, a friend of mine, about travel and always going away. “I just don’t miss people,” he said, matter-of-factly.
And I was jealous. I am jealous. Jealous because after three years of the flight attendant life, I thought for sure, by now, I would be used to leaving. Be used to walking on an airplane, pressing my forehead against the cold plexiglass oval, staring longingly out the window, my mind wondering when I will be back, if I will be back, wanting to press repeat, rewind, or the just-one-more-day button. Questions unanswered, as I squeeze my eyes closed, hoping that this time, I can avoid missing.
Because missing hurts.
My first memory of missing was when I was four years old. My barefoot little feet scuffed up the dirt beneath my toes, as I walked hand-in-hand with my mom down the dusty road by our house. My Dad ran up to us, in a frantic, somewhat uncharacteristically animated way. There was some mumbling and talking between the adults. I didn’t understand. There was a funny car in the driveway. In only the way a child can relate to the world, “Jesus gonna give Grandma new skin?”
In my four-year old mind that meant missing doesn’t last forever.
You might think that because I am a flight attendant, I am immune to the effects of leaving, but that is not the case. As much as I have tried to convince myself that saying goodbyes would get easier with each departure, it hasn’t eliminated the sense of loss I seem to feel each time. I lecture myself, “Kara, why do you act so surprised? Like you haven’t said a goodbye in your life? Why won’t you toughen up? You knew this would end!”
From the day that I understood what missing could mean as the four-year old, to spending weeks at summer camp, and moving away from home at fifteen years old, I’ve been carried by currents of change. We all are. But, before any social title, job, or hobby, I am Kara, which means that I interpret my world through a lens of loving adventure, but not wanting to leave anything I care about anywhere except for close to me. I may be able to throw on a different pair of jeans and change style easily, but I cannot change my DNA. Someone created me this way, but if I won three wishes from Genie, one would most definitely be travel related, and one wish, hands down, would be a city full of my favorite people.
Miss My favorites…
Miss time spent with the kiddos…