Writer’s Block: Asian Anticipation
Preparing for the trip of a lifetime is exciting—and a little daunting!
It was May 29th and the big day had finally arrived. I had anticipated this day from the moment I’d purchased the plane ticket. I was leaving the comfort of Canada to begin my two-month long exotic adventure in Southeast Asia. Working every day, back-to-back shifts at two jobs for more than a month had finally paid off. I managed to earn $3,000 just standing around a golf course trying to look pretty, and working a mundane reception job at an office.
My flight was just before noon and the sun was beginning to emerge, slowing brightening the quiet city while I was still frantically packing for this trip. My eyes began to feel more and more heavy, and I used whatever ounce of energy that was left in me to repress the panic that had the potential of erupting like a volcano. Knowing that there was 23 hours of travel time to Bangkok ahead of me, I resisted the urge to collapse into bed and continued stuffing the essentials into the backpack. Frustrated with myself, I thought about how easily this entire process could have been. I should have been more prepared and if I was, I would have been able to get the beauty sleep I needed. It would have been smart to make some sort of packing checklist, or not wait until the day before to start packing. It was about 8 a.m. when my mom insisted on leaving to ensure I had an adequate amount of time to make it onto my international flight. So, I zipped up my huge backpack and said screw it to whatever I might have forgotten.
On the way to the airport, the loud music on the car radio minimized any small, pointless chit-chat between my mom and me. Her demeanor seemed happy and excited, but deep down I knew she was filled with worry— as if all the bad things that could possibly happen, would happen to me.
It was about two months prior to leaving when I had mentioned the trip to my mom and dad. Filled with excitement, I explained how I made it through the painful third-year of university and how I deserved the two months to recharge and explore parts of the Earth I have yet to see. My dad was very unimpressed with the whole idea and insisted I stay safe in Canada. Throughout the two months, he constantly explained how I was at high risk of being kidnapped or robbed as a solo, female traveller. He tried to frighten me with all the possible scenarios of either injuring myself or catching a foreign disease, and how I couldn’t possibly rely on any healthcare system outside of Canada. At that point, the flight ticket was already purchased and there was no turning back: I was leaving for two months and there was nothing they could say that would change my mind. I was determined to become an
experienced traveller and visit the different, beautiful sights of Asia. They had every right to be worried, but they needed to realize that I was a big girl and I could handle any situation that was thrown at me. Hopefully. After finally arriving at the airport, we exchanged our goodbyes, gave each other one last big I’ll-miss-you hug and off I went to help reclaim the Lonely Mountain, like Bilbo Baggins.
The whole checking- in, baggagecheck and airport security process was surprisingly quick and painless. I was at my gate number before I even knew it —with an hour and a half to spare—so I endured the agonizing Tim Horton’s line for brunch. After getting my French vanilla coffee and jalapeño bagel with cream cheese, I searched for a comfortable seat that looked out the window. I took a sip of my hot beverage, savouring the oh-sosatisfying rich, sweet and creamy vanilla taste as if it was my last. As I looked mindlessly towards the other side of the glass, the excitement began to warm up my lower abdomen as I imagined all the fun I was going to experience in Asia. I was most excited about the food, getting to taste the truly authentic and unwesternized local cuisine. I was thrilled to spend a day with elephants and see all the different temples of gold. I was enthusiastic about hiking the foreign landscapes of Asia, because it was going to be so much different than the Alberta Rocky Mountains I’m used to. I was excited for Asia. After pulling my thoughts back to reality, I glanced down at my phone only to realize that there was still
another hour before takeoff. I sent last minute goodbye texts to those I deemed important, so if I were kidnapped in Asia my captors could ask them for ransom in return for my freedom.
After a lagging hour had gone by, which consisted of nothing but a blank stare out the window, an announcement was made that passengers on the flight from Calgary to Vancouver could finally board the plane. Waiting patiently in the line of people, one by one the airport employees scanned both the boarding pass and passport of fellow travellers, before allowing them to enter the rectangular tunnel leading into the plane. Inhaling deeply, I took one last breath of fresh Canadian air before entering the plane. I was instantly greeted in both English and French by a female flight attendant wearing a scarf around her neck that matched the red colour of the Canadian flag. I responded with a pleasant smile, then continued walking down the narrow aisle, looking left and right, back and forth, until finally finding my seat. I plopped myself into the stiff blue seat, strapped the seatbelt across my hips and tightened the belt so it was secure, yet comfortable, before being hit with the realization that the adventure had officially begun.
JUDY TRAN Judy is a Mount Royal University alumni currently pursuing her dream of becoming an optometrist. She says she’s never been much of a writer, so is thrilled to have her very first published story, and is hoping there will be more in the...