I’m sitting at a cafe in Oslo. It’s been rainy most of the day, but I forced myself to leave the comfort and coziness of my airport hotel room, venturing into what can be argued as the most expensive city in the world. Magically, the 20 minute Airport Express lead way to deep blue skies and dancing clouds, new adventures and fresh realizations.
I don’t make the effort to come into the city that often when in Oslo. I will always go in Copenhagen, fairly often make the journey by train when in London, face the hassle of Queens to Manhattan when overnighting in New York, and drop the change to speed my way into Stockholm, but Oslo— for some reason— takes mustering additional motivation to venture beyond my “lakeside resort.”
Many may assume that the term ‘flight attendant’ is synonymous with the word ‘travel.’ The two are interrelated, but oh so different from each other. If you want to be a flight attendant, be one. If you want to be a flight attendant and travel, you’ll have to be one and work for the other. Travel is part of the lifestyle when you make it part of the lifestyle, but it’s not like you are going on a pre-booked tour around the world. As cabin crew, you go on a pre-booked airport hotel tour and airport shuttle van adventure around the world. You will need to be intentional about making true travel part of your flight attendant lifestyle, because it is so easy to become extremely complacent in this job.
We have reasons why not to be adventurous and why not to explore. “Oh, I’m in this city next week. I don’t have money. I am SO tired. It’s cold. It’s hot. I’m alone.” The excuses—many of which are completely valid—can go on and on and on. Trust me when I say that you will have to find the motivation to experience each layover city instead of simply exploring your hotel room and the hotel lobby bar.
The way that I approach my flying life is with a determination to capture all that I can out of the good, minimize the bad, and handle (even if falteringly) the awful. I see the world with eyes wide in wonder, being thankful for the adventures and constantly looking for more. There are two things that I have done during my flight attendant career that have completely changed my experience for the better. These two facets have completely changed my life and I cannot emphasize enough the importance of intentionally including these two aspects into your own flying life in some way.
The first thing that I did when I began my flying life is travel. I traveled wherever I could, whenever I could. I used my flight benefits and made the most of all of my days off. I saved all of my money to see the world and I did. I went. While flying a full-time schedule of only domestic day trips, I was still able to go to over 13 countries I had never been to before during one calendar year, not including the states that I visited, or the second-time-around countries that I found myself in again. Travel changed my life and changed my flying experience. It made the bad days worth something as I wasn’t there for someone else or the measly paycheck, but I was there to see things, do more and experience life. Make your bad days worth something more by actually using one of the finest perks of the job; the free or discounted flight benefits. It’s time to go places!
The second thing I did that has completely changed my flying life was starting this blog. I created a career outside of aviation where I can use my mind and expand my resume. I cannot emphasize enough how critically important and serendipitous it was that I started a travel blog. This blog has lead to freelance opportunities, brand partnerships, ambassador gigs, friendships, and comped trips all of which have enhanced my life. I no longer have to be concerned over my flight attendant paycheck covering my bills. I have another way to support myself. Not only was I lucky enough to start a company where ALL of my expenses during my trips can be a tax write-off that goes with me wherever I go and for one who lives a suitcase life, that is of utmost importance.
If you are a flight attendant, you know it’s not always daisies and roses, so you will need to play your part in making the most of it. Don’t just settle into letting your cabin crew career carry you through, but do something in your free time that enhances you as a professional. Not a writer? Try photography. Interested in music? Play around with Soundcloud. Could care less about any of these options? Get yourself Rosetta Stone and learn the language you have always said you would learn. Don’t let your brain go idle during your fun flight attendant life. Make yourself something more. Be your own boss in some way. Do something you can be proud of. Go and find your niche.
You will be the one that must find the motivation to make your life more. I know I wouldn’t be in Oslo City right now if it wasn’t for this blog. This blog motivates me to be adventurous, hunt for a better story, and see the beauty all around me. We all need a little extra push every once in awhile…