It’s interesting how you can look forward to a journey, but at the days before departure don’t like it so much at all. Saying goodbye to family and friends, finishing work and packing everything isn’t my favorite thing to do. Especially the packing. I’ve traveled quite a lot so far, but I still always manage to pack too much. I think it’s because I like to have a choice when I’m traveling. Choice of clothes to wear, choice of books to read and so on. After a bit of a struggle I manage to bring the weight back to about one kilo over the limit hoping it’ll be okay. Just before I go to bed my neighbor Liv-Marit texts me to say goodbye. I walk downstairs and have a short chat. She recommends me to do some meditation before sleeping, to relax and have a good nights rest. I say goodbye to her, set two alarm clocks and follow her advice. It was a good idea, just focussing on your breath for a moment before you fall asleep helps clearing your mind.
After a short but good night’s rest I wake up around 4.30am. It takes me a few minutes to wake up, but then I’m ready for the day. I drink some water and read for a while, before I start doing the last things needed to be done. Finishing some last work for my business, packing the laptop again and making breakfast for me and my other neighbor, Martijn. He’s one of my best friends and happens to live right under my apartment, such a blessing. Normally I like to go alone to the airport, without having to say goodbye, but this time I actually enjoy going together. With a big smile he greats me in our kitchen and we have breakfast together. After breakfast we pack my bags and walk to his car, the adventure begins. It’s a nice drive to the airport, not too busy on the road and with some music on we have a good time together. I come to the airport quite regularly to work or just hang out, but it feels different to go the airport when you’re actually going to fly.
I say goodbye to Martijn, pick up my bags and walk to the check-in desk. I smile at the lady at the counter, but I still have to make my luggage a bit lighter. I take a book and some other stuff from my backpack and carry it with me in hand. Not a big deal and I’m happy that I can take it all with me. Two more stops at customs and the usual interview for when you’re visiting in America. They always ask you what the purpose of your visit is and who you are. My interview is short, the excitement is probably easy to see at my face when I talk about the road trip and the national parks. The security guys smile at me and wish me a great journey. When I’ve gone through customs, the pre-travel stress falls from my shoulders. This is it, I’m going to America! I search for a Starbucks, get a Venti Cappuccino and text and call with some friends and family to tell them I’m ready to go. I had thought about doing some work at the airport, but by now it’s only 45 minutes to boarding so I decide to let go of that and just wait for departure.
Usually I get myself a seat with extra leg space (the joy of being a tall Dutch guy), but they aren’t available this time, so I keep my normal seat. It’s a bit challenging to get your legs in such a small place, but it’s okay and I walk through the plane from time to time so I won’t get too stiff. Despite having a bit less space, I always prefer a window seat so I can look outside. Taking off if my favorite part of flying, seeing everything become small and leaving it all behind. In only a matter of minutes we’re above the clouds and the we’re flying over the North Sea. Time to read, watch some series or movies, play some games, talk with people and enjoy the view from time to time. It’s a new thing that they also offer Wi-Fi in the flight now, but I’m not interested in that. I’m okay with being offline for eight hours, I think that’s actually the beauty of flying, being forced to be disconnected for some time. Besides, I think it’ll be quite expensive to have satellite internet in the plane. No, I just enjoy my time in the air without internet.
Flying can be quite relaxing. Looking outside and seeing the blue sky and the waves of the sea far below you, nowhere to go and just sitting there high in the sky, I like it. After reading and writing for a while I watch some episodes of Friends. It’s great that a tv show of years ago which I watched several times still makes me laugh out loud. Up to this point it felt quite unreal to go on adventure again, but now it starts to sink in and it excites me. I’m looking forward to a long road trip in America’s beautiful nature.
At about half way the flight is Greenland. I had chosen a seat on the right side of the plane on purpose to be able to view the wild white landscape. I can’t see much of the land this time because of cloudy weather, but still it speaks to my imagination. Greenland seems so remote to me and still there live people in small towns. I would love to go there some time. After Greenland comes Canada, also a beautiful wild landscape, mountains covered by snow. For someone from the Netherlands where we live with millions of people in a small area, it’s nice to see those wide uninhabited landscapes. After having traveled to New Zealand last year, this trip looks very short. Before I know it we’re close to landing and get a final surprise: ice cream for dessert, thank you Delta!
Entering America is the same as usual. It’s about an hour waiting in line for customs. Fortunately I have 2,5 hours to the next flight, so I’m not too stressed. While in line for customs I’m thinking about the rest of the day and I realize that after a long flight I don’t feel like camping tonight, so I go online and book an Airbnb apartment for one night. I think it’ll be nicer to start the road trip with a shower and a good night’s rest.
After waiting more than an hour for customs it actually becomes a bit stressful, but as soon as I’m through security I run to the next gate and arrive just in time for my next flight to Denver, Colorado. Thinking back of my missed flight last year on my way back from New Zealand, I’m happy that I got this connecting flight. The plane departs, I watch a few more episodes of Friends and I’m landing in Colorado. Enough flying for today, from here on I’ll continue by car.
When we’re landed I see the Rocky Mountains in the distance and it makes me happy. I’m looking forward to going there tomorrow. I pick up my car at Hertz, a nice comfortable minivan which will be my home for the coming weeks. Then I drive to the address of the Airbnb. There is no one home. Fortunately after a phone call the house owner tells me where to find the key and I can go inside. I’m actually glad I stay the first night in a house. I do some groceries for breakfast tomorrow and get some sandwiches for dinner. Back home in the Netherlands it’s now about three o’clock in the middle of the night, but here it’s only seven o’clock in the evening. I’m not super tired yet, but I think I’ll sleep well tonight. I decide to take a shower and post this first blog. I know it has become quite a long story for one day. I think that’s partially because I had a lot of time in the plane, but then again it also was a very long day. After about an hour the owner of the house comes home. It’s a guy of about my age called Adam and he’s a personal trainer, also very energetic and loves to hike as well, so we have enough to talk about. Adam gives me some recommendations for hikes and provides everything for a good stay. I would love to hang out longer with him, but I’m getting really tired, so I call it a day. It was a good decisions to stay here for the first night, tomorrow the adventure continues.