“My bags are packed and I’m ready to go”, well not quite I still have an hour before the taxi comes and whisks me off to the airport.
The first time I flew on my own I was five years old and my sister was seven. We were unaccompanied minors and on way to visit our grandmother and aunt in Germany for the summer. I remember being all excited and anticipatory, not really knowing what to expect or what would happen. It was the first year that Are Lingus flew directly from Dublin to Hamburg, if memory serves the first flight ever, and there was a bit of a buzz about the whole thing.
I had been to Germany before but it was always with my parents and we did sometimes drive, so flying on my own, well with my big sister, felt grown-up and very special. The only down side was that we both had to wear a bright orange plastic purse around our necks containing our passports, tickets and all the other vital travel documents.
I was never a quite child, I was always chatting to strangers and quickly made friends with the beautiful Aer Lingus stewardess who was looking after us. My sister and I got sweets and colouring books, a few toys and we spent an enjoyable time up in the air. What we didn’t know was that my mother was having a panic attack back in Dublin.
As soon as we had taken off, the airport attendees in Hamburg went on strike and we were re-routed to Holland. I loved the adventure of the whole event, we got to stay in a VIP lounge in Amsterdam and drive around in a little buggy, while everyone around us was frantically trying to get us to our relatives in Hamburg.
I can’t remember exactly how long the whole thing took, but it was dark outside when we finally arrived. I know that both my aunt and mum were very relieved when my sister and I ran into the wide open waiting arms, legs and blond hair flying, and in my case an stream of excited chatter following in our wake.
Today I am quite use to flying, but I still love the anticipation of going away, however nothing can quite compare to that very first trip. What made me grin this morning was that my sister told me Hamburg is back on strike, so I am sort of wondering where I’ll end up, a possible adventure on the horizon. The only downside is that I have to be back on Monday morning to teach.