Eighty-nine minutes before boarding, I sank down across from the Duty Free shop in deep relief. Vanilla warmth wafted up from my steamed milk, familiar and soothing. After many mishaps and two missed flights, it looks like the universe is letting me take this trip after all.Throughout the last month, everyone seemed excited about my going to Europe but me. I wasn’t not excited per se, I just was wrapped up in my internship at Eddie Bauer. You would think working at a company which sold travel apparel would make me think about vacationing all the time, but the more I thought of my impending trip, the more I procrastinated on preparations. Finally my internship ended, but I wasted half the weekend decompressing from our intern project presentation to the company.


It took me until Monday night to finish packing, but by then a fiery pain had set into my right ear. My two cartilage piercings had gotten infected, and all the Internet seemed to suggest I was at risk of cauliflower ear. The swollen, red flesh wasn’t the only symptom; the cartilage itself was thickening around my piercings, nearly swallowing them up. It was a scary choice to make at 3 AM: when the 7:30 plane to Barcelona left in a few hours, I would not be on it. A visit to the urgent care later, I was on antibiotics and strict instructions not to poke any more holes in my ear for a while.


Rebooking the flight cost me an extra $300, but better that than heading to the ER at some ungodly hour in a foreign country. The extra day gave me time to tidy up remaining emails, so when I finally got in the cab at 5AM on Wednesday, I finally felt ready to travel.

And then I proceeded to get stuck in the security check line for 1.5 hours.


It was like some horrible movie scene: as I sprinted around the corner, I saw the final bolt be pushed into place, locking me outside the plane. If someone has the footage of my sad arrival at the gate, please send it to me so I can apply for acting jobs in B-rated rom-coms.


I like to think of myself as an experienced traveler, but maybe I overestimate myself. That seems to be the theme these days, a illusion built up by habitual procrastination. Not good behavior in the person I want to be, so I’ll be actively working to change this during my travels.


I’m really my best self when I’m on the move. Not just in my habits, but also my lifestyle and, subsequently, my personality. The last time I was abroad, I came back home far more outgoing and confident than before. I do wonder what kind of person I’ll be after this time. ¡Que será será!

Thoughtfully yours in Toronto,

All photo credits to me. Please do not use without asking me first.


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