fun fact: it took 15+ total travel hours to get to HNL
fun fact: Hawaii is, in fact, part of the United States
It was the start of summer; I’d enjoyed a week of loafing around at home and I was ready to begin something new. Despite the 5am departure time, I was excited for the journey to Honolulu, Hawaii. And I say the journey, because while the destination may be the reward for many, I was actually really looking forward to the long flights and lacking leg space and airport layovers. For me, plane rides have never been the means to an end. They’ve always been part of the fun. There’s definitely some metaphor to life tucked away in there.
Regardless, I locked up the house at 2:45am and was speeding towards PHL by 3am. I didn’t slept the night before, partly out of fear of not waking up to an alarm and missing my flight and partly out of fear of forgetting to pack something important. Pretty soon, I arrived at a near-empty airport terminal, which came with its unique perks (no lines for TSA).
On my 5am flight to Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH), I was immensely blessed on two fronts: I had one entire spacious row of three seats to myself (for a brief few minutes before I offered to switch seats with a mother traveling with her two children) and I saw sunrise from a plane for the first time (it was beautiful and pink and orange and we literally flew through a sorbet-colored cloud). Flying into IAH was another pleasure – there was farmland wherever I looked out and after a short layover, I boarded my flight to HNL.
One of the reasons I love travel is that everyone around you is in a similar state, in flux. Traveling alone is a strange thing – you become exceptionally aware of the families with young children, the young in-love couples, the older in-love couples, and everyone in between. You don’t have anyone to rely on but yourself. I’ve always imagined myself getting on a flight, making conversation with the person sitting next to me, and forming a life-long friendship. On my flight from IAH to HNL, I had the fortune of sitting in between a couple traveling to Hawaii for a family vacation. I asked, “Would you like to switch with me so you can sit next to each other?” They refused happily. But throughout the flight, I learned that the husband was from New Zealand originally, but they lived in Kansas City now. His side of the family now lived in Australia and they were meeting halfway between there and the continental United States in Hawaii. They were so fun and so kind, repeatedly offering me fruit snacks and candy and more. The 8 hour flight flew by (ha ha).
In the future, I always want to travel like that. In a way that brings people together. After all, you’re going to be sitting next to these people for a third of a day, may as well befriend them and not resent them for taking the armrest.
I’m excited to start my summer in beautiful, hot Honolulu.
I also really love tomato juice on planes.