There are 100 days, 8 hours and 35 minutes (as of me typing this) until my next big trip. I will be visiting a country that is rich in beauty, art, history and escargot: France. As you can tell, I am very excited. I've always been captivated by it, in particular Paris which I consider the most iconic city in the world.
I've had my airfare booked for months. I made a conscious decision not to fly with Air Canada because they are terrible. Truly the worst. It was just a bonus that Air France was cheaper AND set to fly an Airbus 380, a double-decker airplane and one of the biggest in the world! I've never been on one and was looking forward to this as much as I was taking in the view at the top of the Eiffel Tower. But alas, plans disappear; dreams take over (or something)...and I am now flying on a smaller plane. My upper deck window seat changed to the middle of the middle. And so begins this edition of first world problems: I am lamenting a 7-hour plane ride wherein my bladder will be tested like an Olympic sport and I will probably start snoring on the shoulder of one of the individuals sitting next to me. Hopefully they are cute. And under 40.
I also hate not having a window seat as my first glimpse of a new place is a memory that always stays with me forever. Travel is magical. The world we live in is magical! I remember landing at Heathrow back in '07 and watching the tiny double-decker buses power down the motorways lined with Georgian homes. I was definitely not in Canada anymore. I remember landing at PuDong in the same year and thinking to myself, "where the heck is Shanghai?", as all I saw were farmer's fields and an apocalyptic sky tinged red from pollution. Oh, what foreboding. This past October, I couldn't help but envision all of the characters - real and fictional - that were acting below on the stage that is New York City. From George Costanza to Carrie Bradshaw, Jay-Z to the Ramones, Scorsese to Allen, their art and influence has, over the years, made everyone feel like they knew that city intimately and were a part of something greater and now I would be too. The first glimpse of any city helps ignite that spark of imagination and sets the tone for impending adventure.
That first glimpse of a new place is the moment that everything changes. Especially the traveller.
And so I feel robbed that I will not have that moment with the city of light. I won't lose sleep over it until I'm on the plane though.
Landing at PuDong International Airport.
Landing at LaGuardia International Airport.