The first time I traveled overseas

Man reads Alive
Seeing someone reading a story about a plane crashing into the Andes just before we boarded a flight that passes the Andes before its destination was concerning for 19-year-old me.

It all began just under 10 years ago when I decided to spend my first Uni holidays in Chile, getting to know the relatives I’d left behind 14 years prior. The original plan involved a very disorganised stopover in the US. Due to an oversight on my travel agent’s part it did not come to fruition, but it did leave me on a more direct flight at their expense.

On the way back from my first, failed attempt at departure I was a bit numb to what had just happened. My parents took me to the travel agent who had been mistakenly under the impression that I had an Australian passport (I didn’t, but this event became central to our later decision to become citizens). She was extremely apologetic and booked me on the next flight to Santiago, with a stopover in Auckland, New Zealand. I went home that day, and hid in my room until my flight. I was embarrassed and did not want to socialise with anybody.

My second attempt at departure was successful, and I soon found myself above the clouds, with South America as my destination. I was alone and sitting next to an annoying girl, but I didn’t care because I was embarking on an adventure.

We were required to disembark the plane in Auckland, and that is where I snapped this photo. I found it quite odd for someone to be reading a historical account about a flight that crashed into the Andes range, given that we would shortly be flying towards one of its neighbouring cities. I’d watched the film, and it wasn’t exactly imagery I wanted on deck, not on my first solo trip.

The next leg of my trip was longer, so I was pleased to see that the annoying girl had swapped seats with her mother. My pleasure turned to bemusement when I realised where the girl had gotten her annoying traits from. Even a fidgety woman, however, would not dampen my spirits, as the plane took me closer and closer to what would ultimately be a beautiful reunion, and the reboot of a relationship I’ve since attempted to keep strong through email, subsequent visits, and social networking. My plane landed and I was welcomed with open arms. My travel adventures began.


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