Scotland, United Kingdom: The Before
When I was 15, I met a girl from Scotland and I was instantly obsessed with the idea of visiting. This was way before I had applied for a passport or had taken a flight out of the country. Something about it made me want to go. I don’t know if it was the accent, the castles or just because it was something different. The weather definitely wasn’t a factor. Whatever the case, I loved it.
I’d spent many holidays and occasions with my extended family from Scotland but I was still longing for the authentic experience. I still wanted to know more. I wanted to actually be there. Now that I’ve been to many different countries, I always prefer to be with locals. It wasn’t impossible but I didn’t seem all too close.
Not too long ago, I was presented with the plan that my best friend would be moving her family to Scotland. Even though it was temporary, I was a wee bit (I learned some Scottish lingo) upset. On the other hand, I thought about how cool that would actually be. Imagine being about to take a year or so off to live in a country other than the United States to life and wake up without an alarm. That’s definitely something to work towards.
I started planning my trip as soon as they had left Miami. I played with dates and destinations for about 3 weeks until I decided to stop procrastinating and book the damn ticket. After being approved for the dates, I found nonstop flights on United airlines for a decent price. Even though I didn’t talk about it much, I couldn’t wait to go. As the date closed in on me, I began to express my excitement.
Because a decent amount of my coworkers are my friend on Facebook (never anything too interesting on there so I didn’t mind), they knew that I traveled quite a bit. It was sort of funny when they’d see me in passing and ask where I was going to next. This time when they asked, I replied “Scotland”. Each time, they had a puzzled look. Who picks Scotland? Never mind that I’ve been to many islands and lived in tropical ass Miami for 10+ years. They couldn’t see why anyone would pick to go there on purpose. I was visiting family and more than that, there’s more to life. I like to see different things and explore. Scotland was perfect.
I volunteered to work the morning of my flight and leave straight from there. Being that I had a red-eye flight, It worked out perfectly. I was planning on sleeping through my flight anyway. I breezed through my shift and changed clothes for my flight. Before I could leave, 2 of my managers convinced me to buy an Apple watch so I took the train to Grand Central. I knew exactly what I wanted so it literally took 2 minutes to get that out of the way. We set it up and I was back on the shuttle to catch my 4:05 Regional train to Newark Liberty International airport.
When I arrived at Newark, I went straight to the checkpoint. As I imagined, the line was out of this world. Luckily for me, I had recently been approved for Global Entry and had TSA Pre check. The agent directed me to the upper level where Pre-check and Premiere members checked in. It took all of 5 minutes to get it out of the way. Traveling is so much more pleasurable when you don’t have to strip, be wanded down and take all of your belongings out of your bags.
Being that I had so much extra time on my hands, I took my time walking to my gate. I checked all of the bars and restaurants to see who had the best atmosphere to prepare me for my flight. Better than all of them, there was a center bar at my gate. I was so happy that I didn’t buy the United club pass once I noticed how far it actually was. I took a seat, plugged in my watch, phone and took a load off. I swiped my credit card and began to order. 2 double Barbancourts and some fries later, I logged into my United miles and paid with points.
Boarding time neared and I knew it was going to be smooth cruising. SIKE! We had a last minute gate change and the delays started to roll in. It went from 20 minutes to 2 hours real quick! “Aircraft maintenance issues”. I guess you can’t really argue with that. I waited. It’s not like I had much of a choice. Because I work in the transportation field, I know how shit happens. I didn't really care that much about the delay. I was tired. I was going to Scotland one way or another.
Two hours and thirty minutes later, we were boarding. They really didn’t want to waste any more time so they made the process as speedy as possible. Before I knew it, we were on the jet bridge and making our way to our seats. I found 27F and put my luggage in the overhead bin. I buckled my seatbelt and was out before we could reach cruising altitude.
Next Stop, Glasgow Airport!