**I wrote this post a while ago. Before moving to Mexico, and before Coronavirus changed everything about daily life, and a lot about how I feel. But the questions and emotions described here have been so core to who I am for so long, that it was a big part of “Flight Attendant life”. For that reason, I’m dusting off this old piece, this homage to faltering uncertainty, to life on the road, and finding yourself a bit lost. This carefully crafted confession: I don’t know what I’m doing. If you’re a flight attendant or a wanderer—and more so if you wish to become one, these feelings may resonate. They no longer fit me exactly, but the spark of them may never fully extinguish.
“You told me you were good at running away, domestic life had never
suited you like a suitcase.”
Do flight attendants get homesick?
A lot of flight attendants talk about how this job has made them appreciate home. How living this crazy life in airports and hotels and different time zones makes them crave and savour the little things. Small pleasures like your own bedding, that fancy coffee maker you got last Christmas, sounds of footsteps of those you love or live with, the subtle but distinct smell when you walk through the door—the smell of home. A good number of my coworkers have told me how when they’re off they don’t want to be traveling or jet-setting. They just want to be home. They want to rest, to be with their loved ones. Or alone with their belongings, their space, their piece of peace.
And I see where they’re coming from. But I’ve always been a bit different.
The chaos of being on the go suits me. Maybe more so than sitting in my “real life”.
Perhaps I’m missing something. Maybe that’s the reason I feel most comfortable in an airport full of strangers or in a new city, anonymous in my hotel room.
Last year I went through a breakup of a very long relationship. It was five and a half or six years depending on whose start date you’d use, but I think both of us believed it would be forever.
When we split up, I moved in with my parents. You know, while I sorted things out, figured out what to do next.
I dreaded this. Not because of the unpleasant circumstance of being in close quarters with my parents, which was actually quite lovely in practice. But because of the blow to my pride. And even though I set my mind that it would be temporary, it still felt like failure.
I count myself lucky. I’m lucky to have family that I can lean on when shit hits the fan, when your world is turned upside down and you need somewhere to crash, someone to talk to. I’m lucky that my ex and I don’t hate each other. Never will.
But going from a committed 5-year relationship to being and alone and living with your parents, in your thirties, can do a number on one’s self esteem.
I turned to work.
I worked a lot. I worked less productive trips and I worked more trips with long layovers. I partied. I treated my crewmates like my besties because truth be told, I’ve never been all that great at relationship maintenance, even with my real besties. I dated, to put it politely. I distracted myself in any way possible.
Because when I came home, that sense of calm that my co-workers talked about, of solitude and serenity, was nowhere to be found. I came home to living in someone else’s space, and not my own. I came home to the anxiety of not knowing what my next step should be, where I should go. What would help me further my goals, my dreams? How could I make my life mine again?
My unopened mail was a stacked reminder of the ways I was failing. Of my willy nilly finances. Of the minute details of everyday life that I couldn’t wrap my brain around keeping up with—registration renewal, wtf is that?
It's okay to feel lost sometimes,
and still know you're exactly where you're meant to be.
My parents bought a new house and they moved to Maine. And instead of fleeing for sunny San Diego or moving to Colombia, I stayed right in my hometown. I’ve been living with my brother and brother-in-law ever since, citing financial ease as the reason for my stagnancy.
“I’ll save and look into buying next year.”
I said it out loud to others and to myself. As if I were saving face by having the shallow beginnings of a plan. As if it would soften the blow to my bruised ego. Yes, I’d save and buy. Despite the fact that I don’t feel ready to put down roots, or don’t have any interest in it at all. Despite the fact that I don’t know where I’d want to buy, really.
We received word that the house we live in would be placed on the market.
And while my initial reaction was stress, feeling pressed for time and money, what I felt deep down was relief. The push to go, to make my way, was back again. The universe had taken the decision to stay or to go out of my hands. A line of decision-making that has never been easy for me, in any of the instances I’ve faced it.
And then, another curveball.
The rent was raised, so slightly in terms of North-of-Boston area rentals that it would make you laugh. And with that, the talk of selling ceased. The house would not be placed on the market. The push for a plan felt lighter. The need to make decisions for myself, by my own accord, returned. And since decisions are hard I made a compromise.
Visiting Colombia? Resources below!
I really hope that someday I feel that peace when I get home that so many people feel. That I’ll long for it when I’m away and revel in it when I’m there.
For today, I find comfort in knowing that I’m on an adventure, that just around the corner is something new and wonderful. I find comfort in meeting new people, in exploring new cities, in blending with the scenery and resting my head on white pillowcases. Alone. On the road. Free.
Read more about my time living & studying Spanish in Medellin, Colombia. Plus accommodation recommendations.
Airbnbs I can personally recommend:
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