Going home

The alarm clock goes at 3am. I had set three alarms, but the first one is enough to get me out of bed. My bags are packed and I’m ready to go home. I take a shower, eat something and then walk to the hotel lobby where Brittany is picking me up. I think that a friend who wakes up before 4am to get you to the airport is a good friend. We talk a bit more about the trip and she tells me how it all sounds so magical. All the events that happened, how everything worked out. I can only agree, it was wonderful indeed.
The ride to the airport is only ten minutes and then we say goodbye. Just like when I arrived at San Diego weeks ago, it feels very unreal again to leave now. It’s not busy at the airport this early in the morning and I less than ten minutes I’m through security and waiting at my gate. That gives me some time to finish and post yesterday’s story and upload the pictures. I think it’s nice that I managed to write every day of this journey, even on the ones that were a bit less eventful. I think it’ll be nice to look back at someday and read about the great adventures I had here.
The flight starts better than I could have imagined. The plane is half empty and I have a full row for myself. I enjoy my Starbucks coffee while stretching my legs. We start flying at sunrise and I get a beautiful last view of San Diego. It feels strange to leave America again. Well, I’m not leaving the country yet. I have one stop in St. Paul, Minneapolis before I fly back to Amsterdam. I know it’s good to disconnect sometimes, but to be honest I actually like that I can stay online these days in flights. It allows me to post a picture of the sunrise and to play some scrabble with my grandma. It’s a clear day and it’s very nice to look outside. We fly over the desert landscape of Arizona and I see on the map that we’ll be flying very close over the Grand Canyon. I hope I’ll get to see it another time. Not much later I see that the answer is yes. I get to see the Grand Canyon once more from a higher perspective. I can even recognize the little town of Tusayan where I stayed one night. This sure is one of the most beautiful flights I ever had. To see the red rocks covered by snow from above reminds me of the wonderful adventures I had just a few days ago. Not much later we fly by the Rocky Mountains. I didn’t get to drive there this time, so I’m happy to see them now after all. Seeing all this beautiful nature really confirms it again that America is for me the most beautiful country on earth. There is so much varying nature here. From oceans to desserts to mountains, it’s all amazing. The first flight of today feels more like a personal tour along some national parks than a way of transportation. I really enjoy it and am once again thankful to the brothers Wright who invented the first airplanes. What a wonderful time to be alive and to get to travel around the world like this.
The second half of the flight to Minneapolis goes over Nebraska and that’s mainly farmland. Also it’s getting cloudy now, which makes me extra thankful for the clear skies at the places that I really wanted to see. Since there is not much to see outside, I take some time to look up flights for the summer. I also talk with a friendly lady sitting on the other side of the plane. Her name is Laura and she tells me that she and her husband travel a lot. Since she is a sky lounge member, she can bring people into the lounge with comfy seats, free food and WiFi for 39 dollars. I just happen to have about 40 dollars left in my wallet, so that works out fine. I’ve never been to a sky lounge before and happily accept the invitation.
The sky lounge is nice. It reminds me of a school cafeteria. There is a buffet with foods and drinks as much as you want. I get a nice pasta with meatballs and some fresh juice. Laura and I talk more, she had many interesting stories about life in Minnesota where she grew up. I also have a short talk with one of the bartenders who turns out to be very creative and shows some of the beautiful drawings and pictures he created. I like how I keep meeting interesting people. I’m thankful for this cool experience of being in a sky lounge. Laura and I talk more about traveling and life. The three hours pass by quite quickly and we say goodbye again.
I get on my second flight and am blessed and lucky again. Even though this flight is a lot busier, the seat next to me is empty again, so I have extra space to put my stuff. I also have two windows at this seat, so lots of opportunity to look outside. I do some reading before we take off. Fun fact is that the distance from Minneapolis to Amsterdam is about the same amount of miles as I’ve driving with my car in the last two weeks.
As the plane starts moving, I switch my phone back to the Amsterdam timezone. It feels like the official end of this adventure. As we’re taking off I have a double feeling. On one hand I feel sad for leaving America, on the other hand I feel determined to come back soon. I think my personal challenge for the coming time will be to keep living life fully when I’m home. I love this life of freedom and adventure I have here in America, but I also need to get back to work to make sure I can afford living like this. As we’re getting higher in the sky, I remember my grandma’s words: This is not a goodbye.

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