Student gains perspective from traveling alone

An old saying says something like of “it’s not so much about the destination as it is about the journey.” This statement is true for a variety of reasons, one of which includes the experience you get from traveling.

In my opinion, it is essential that everyone should travel alone at least once in their life. It sounds crazy, but it’s an opportunity to grow, and it ignites a sense of freedom that wasn’t there before.

Over Christmas break 2017, I traveled to Florida for vacation.

The worst part of the trip was the flight. This was the first time I had ever traveled alone and, to be honest, it was extremely nerve racking. Anyone who has been in the Denver International Airport knows it’s not exactly small, and if you’re not used to it, it can be scary.

I arrived at the airport at 5 a.m. on Dec. 7, so the airport wasn’t necessarily packed. When I walked into  DIA, I had four things I knew I had to accomplish before my flight left. First, I had to get through security. This was where I first messed up in my travels. Apparently there are multiple security lines, and you’re supposed to just know which line to get into. I, of course, went into the wrong line.

The second thing that needed to happen was I needed to find my gate, which wasn’t too difficult. Airports are very good at giving you instructions on where to go.

The third and probably most important step, after finding my terminal, was coffee. Denver is about two hours away from Cheyenne, so sleeping was a bust. Luckily, I found a nice little coffee shop near my terminal.

The fourth step; however, was the step that scared me most. I had to actually board the plane. Have you ever been worried that something was going to go wrong, and it wasn’t necessarily anything logical? For example, what if I die before I get on this plane? What if the plane blows up? These irrational fears definitely kept me alert, but boarding the plane was easier than I thought.

When traveling, there is always a possibility of a layover. With a layover, there is is always a small worry that you won’t have enough time to get to your second flight. I had less than 10 minutes to board my second flight because the first flight was delayed.

Because I was seated near the back of the plane, I had to wait about 10 minutes before I could actually get off. When you are out of shape and running on only coffee, running through an airport is difficult. Even with all the funny looks I got, I still made it on the plane before it took off. After that it was a short flight to Fort Walton Beach.

The best part of that trip, though, was when I finally landed and realized that I made it out alive. All those irrational fears were just fears. The most irritating part of this trip though was baggage claim. With the short delay, they weren’t able to get my luggage loaded in Houston, so while I had made it to Florida, my luggage hadn’t. It took two days into my trip for my luggage to catch up.

Traveling alone forces people to actually live in the moment. As hard as you try to schedule things and keep on task, traveling has a way of ruining all of those plans. A good tip for traveling is always have extra money on you because you never know when you’re going to need to buy two days’ worth of luggage.

The rest of the trip went well, regardless. I met up with an old friend from high school, and we went to Orlando together. It’s always nice to have a friend to travel with; however, the experience gained from boarding a flight alone is unforgettable.   

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