In contrast to the flight there, I felt very relaxed when I boarded the plane home. Sunlight was streaming in. The flight attendants were extremely friendly and joked in flawless English and Spanish. A couple of guys brought instruments on board and the coolest flight attendant, a bald guy who’d just said something witty in Spanish, quipped, “In-flight entertainment!” as he helped put up an accordion. It was a rather festive environment that almost made me feel happy to be suddenly flying home for no reason my heart could understand.
This should have been my first entry, but for whatever reason, I didn’t think to write this until now. Either way, it’s not too far into the trip that I can’t tell you about my original itinerary.
When I opened a map of Europe and set it before me to pick my route, it was like facing an array of jelly beans without ever having tried a jelly bean before. I had no preference or stronger pull for one place over another, save for some vague mental notions that there were certain countries I especially wanted to see (Ireland, Spain, and Switzerland. The latter because I had been saying I wanted to live in a Swiss castle since I was thirteen. I had googled some pictures once of castles in Switzerland and/or had been told that the country has really nice castles). Everything else had shone dimmer in the history books, and I knew sadly little about most of the countries except for their roles in wars that involved America.
For a long time, as I watched people do it from afar and felt envy, I’ve wanted to travel. The foreign grass on which they ran free looked so green in my mind, and on the panoramic photos they posted on facebook. I read blogs of girls who went backpacking alone; studied maps and lists for where to go; usually at work when I had nothing else to do. Therefore I’m reasonably sure that everyone knew I was going to quit my job after a year.