What is that feeling of leaving home and arriving in a foreign place?
It’s excitement, touched with fear, but anticipation through and through. It’s giddy, it’s happy, and it’s freeing. Whatever was back there is just … back there. Left. Escaped? Avoided? Maybe, but not here anyway.
That “back on the road feeling” starts to hum when the last home task is done and it’s off to the airport. When the ride is successful and the terminal reached. The old familiar security line. Getting to the gate, grabbing a snack and a coffee, feeling the simplicity of it all, the purity. Everything I’ll need is right here in my bag. One last check of the email. A little more sweetie talk on the phone.
Then the thrills get bigger as it’s down the ramp to the plane, into the seat – in this case, a free upgraded aisle seat with no neighbor. Thank you, Virgin Atlantic, and this trip is off to a fine start. When the flight attendant, in an English accent that always melts me, calls me “love” and brings a ginger ale, I purr inside and settle in a little deeper. (Hat tip to Virgin for hiring friendly staff.)
The next moment is getting out the computer to do a little in-flight writing. We all feel like inspired geniuses in the air, don’t we?
Buy my Book,
The Groundhopper’s Guide to Soccer in England
Seeing the American coast in the evening light, then the lights of Dublin in the morning. The approach over London through clear skies, a long descending turn over Wembley, The Emirates, and then spotting “The Bees” on red seats and realizing it’s Griffin Park, home of Brentford FC, then adding, “I hope to be there on Friday!” My gosh, I remember, I am back in England.
A chat with another footy fan (Liverpool) at customs, and the realization that I am developing traditions in my visits to England. Through the last exit, into the UK, and it’s the last of the transition. Time for the Trip Itself, which always starts with a cappuccino, croissant and some wifi to check in. Again with the little rituals: setting my devices to UK time, topping up my English SIM card, moving the London and England travel apps to the front screen.
It’s comfortable and familiar, even as it is exciting. It’s like reuniting with an old friend who was with me all along, just forgotten or ignored. It’s like turning on the lights in an old favorite room, an adventure room filled with pleasant memories.
And now I am back in that room, on another adventure, and another bus. Today it’s Reading for my Jetlag Zombie Day, another tradition of the England trips. Tonight another game. Tomorrow a train to my London Family and another game. And after that, only more and more and more.