A number of hours ago (after all the time zone changes etc. I have no idea) the day began. I rolled out of bed, stumbled around, said goodbye to the cats, managed to put my clothing on in the right order after a few tries and jumped into the car with Mom and Dad for the car ride from Prescott to Phoenix. Luckily the drive was quick and easy with minimal rush hour delays. We left at 6:00AM and were in Phoenix a bit after. I said my goodbyes, strapped on my pack and was officially on my own. Check-in went quickly – traffic was light due to it being 9/11. The security screening process also was quick – a 5 minute wait max. Then I was free to roam. I tracked down my gate quickly, got some food and waited the 40 or so minutes before they boarded the flight.
The first leg of the trip was from Phoenix to Atlanta. Apparently, the plane then continued on to Ft. Lauderdale. It was pretty interesting, there were almost no children in the airport – probably because it was the 11th – and also surprisingly few young people. My hunch is that was also tied to it being the 11th. Either way, the flight had lots of space and was full of old people. In fact I’d be surprised if there were more than 4 or 5 of us under 25 on the flight. The woman I shared my seat with was a wonderful woman on her way to Dublin to work on a peace program. Truly a fascinating project – she called it the Tiny Peaces Movement – www.tinypeaces.com. When I have more time I plan to check out the site and see what they are doing.
It was surprising – I was expecting heavy security, to be hassled, searched, and that i would have all sorts of issues. The reality was the exact opposite. It was one of the smoothest flying experiences I think I’ve ever had. If Delta had been a bit better and i’d met a gorgeous travel partner on the plane it would have been perfect.
Atlanta was rainy, and mirrored how phoenix had been. I ate again, explored a bit and then settled into a chair at the gate. Took a quick nap, then chatted a bit with a few of the others waiting. Met a gentleman on his way to Edinburgh to visit his sister, with his young son and a Scottish couple on their way back from Florida. The plane arrived, we boarded and squeezed into our respective seats. The gentleman I sat next to for the duration of the flight was originally from Edinburgh and worked as a deep ocean diver doing long duration, deep water diving projects. A lot of which apparently are for the big oil companies on their rigs etc.
9:05 this morning we arrived in Edinburgh, the line through customs was quick and painless (our plane was half empty) and I was able to find a bus quickly that would take me to the town center. After about 5 minutes on the bus i started to recognize things. It turns out that the airport is down the same road as the University where i stayed in 04 when I did my study abroad. So, after about 5 minutes, I began to recognize where I was. That helped enormously as I decided where to get off the bus and how to try and find the hostel. I’d lost my directions – but vaguely remembered where it was. I figured i’d just walk until I found it – which thank god was pretty quick. A quick hike up to the royal mile (now that’s a hill) then up almost to the castle, a quick left down about 100 feet and walla! I’d arrived. My check in went well and it’s currently 11:40. At 2:00 i’ll check back and be able to get my room and bed – thank god. Until then i’m wandering the streets and trying to stay awake.
Outside it’s about 60 degrees, slightly overcast and crisp. Definitely a bit different than the 106 degree, blue skies back home. It looks like internet access won’t be a problem – so i’ll try and post updates soon.
It’s just now starting to sink in that it’s real, that after years of talking about it that i’m actually here, now, doing it. Definitely a surreal feeling. It’s weird not having any clue really what i’m doing, where i’m going, or what i aught to be in the middle of. I suppose that’s the point of a good walk about though.
So- here it goes! I’ve jumped into the the deep end. Now it’s time to go for a swim, hold my breath and walk my way out – ahh the adventure! I’m ready! It’s real!