The last time I was home could best be described as a visit. I was there for no more than 18 hours; enough time to do my laundry, and spend some time with the wee fuzzball who seemed in desperate need of hugs and belly rubs. But that was all very short-lived as I was up early to repack my suitcase and head to the airport; once again to board a glorified metal lawn dart that would take me from here to there (in this case from Toronto to Calgary).
When I received my boarding pass I thought very little about where I was sitting, save to note that I was situated in one of the middle seats. I shrugged off the fact that I’d likely have to compete for armrest space, figuring that the flight to Calgary would be relatively short compared to some of the other flights I’d experienced this year. On boarding, however, I soon learned that my flight would be super comfy as I had been assigned – despite having not requested – the emergency exit super-ample-leg-room row. After all the previous flights where I’d been far more confined, this felt like I’d won the lottery.
I sat down and took in what would be my domain for the next several hours, and I truly felt spoiled.
My joy seemed short-lived, however, as I soon overheard Passenger Gillis, please identify yourself. A flight attendent made her way to me and informed me that my seat had been reassigned. Oh well, it was nice while it lasted. I almost voiced a complaint, but remembered my flight was going to be quick compared to many of the others I’d been on this summer, so thought better of it. And that’s when the flight attendant directed me to my new seat – at the front of the plane. Holy shitcakes! I honestly thought I had misheard her, but then she motioned for me to move. She seemed to be taking as much joy out of the moment as I was; delighted that she was able to move me to business class.
And it was glorious. So much leg room. So much armrest. So much cushion. And so much wine! It really was a fantastic and entirely unexpected way to journey to Calgary. By the time I landed I was feeling quite content, which may or may not have had something to do with the glass of wine that somehow never seemed to empty despite my best efforts, and despite some rather rocky turbulence during a significant portion of the flight.
After gathering my carry-on luggage I stepped off the plane taking some bizarre delight in the fact that I was first through the airport gate. I looked around and couldn’t help but smile. I’d made it to my final destination after a summer of travel that had me effectively circle the equator twice. I’d flown to China, Ireland, Scotland, France, Spain, Ethiopia, and Malawi, and then along the East Coast through St. John’s, Halifax, Nain, Hopedale, and more, all on my way to Happy Valley-Goose Bay, and Rigolet. And now, after all those flights and all those miles I was safely in Calgary on my way to see Rick, to catch up, to plot new adventures, and to spend time together hiking through the mountains.
And there I was, at the beginning of the end of my incredible summer of travel, and I couldn’t have been happier.