A 22 year old who had never before travelled long distance without her family, stepped on to foreign soil. She parted company with her travelling colleagues – they had made the international flight together and bonded despite just having met at the departing airport; bonded in the way only those can who know they are about to spend the next 22 odd hours travelling and that to do so without any company at all would be utterly lonely. Now their ways separated, each on to his or her own domestic leg of the journey, some to the hinterland in a straight flight, some via a hop to another city. She had a hop, and a skip as well. Two breaks before she reached a city that was to house her for the next 2 months. Home was behind, what was ahead was a new place, both exciting in its possibilities and terrifying in its unknownness.
She bid farewell to her fellow travellers, saw them off on their flights and waited for her connection. Sitting, observing, seeing fellow travellers, fellow countrymen, foreigners; nay they were the localites now and she was the foreigner. And then she boarded her flight, and realized that it contained not one of her numerous,omnipresent countrymen. All around her were white/pink faces, the loud tones and cadences of Americans, the accents totally strange to her, the flight announcements in an English almost undecipherable. And she suddenly realised exactly how far she had travelled from home, how far she had left everything familiar, how unknown to her all these people were.
Since then she has visited a few more countries, a few more places, with or without friends and family, but has never felt as far from home as she did on that very first flight alone.
* The airlines she flew on on that trip had baggage tags which said ‘Fly me away’ or ‘Fly me home’. Hers said ‘Fly me away’.