I actually used to enjoy flying. The excuse to read, the feeling of possibility as you’re in a building full of people of different nationalities, different stories, different destinations. It was exciting, suspenseful. Now I find the experience rather melancholy. As I wait in the terminal, my place of departure seems like a distant memory, and my place of arrival seems still intangible. I feel like I’m nowhere, with my destiny waiting to be fulfilled and my hopes pinned on my precious passport.
My emotions have heightened as the places I travel to have become more meaningful. Brazil is no longer a tropical, exotic fantasy land, and it’s no longer that one awesome experience I had in college. It’s a place with street names, greetings, relationships, memories. Even if I don’t always feel like I belong, I have a sense of place now.
I feel a bit of sad longing for my place of departure, but as I land and start seeing the signs in Portuguese, the ads for Brazilian phone companies, the exchange offices offering reais, I find myself swiftly adjusting. And once I tell the cab driver my address, my established place of residence, I feel like I’ve arrived.