Leaving, On a Jet Plane

Sammy Kessler James Cook University, Australia


February 9, 2015

There’s something about airports that make the world feel so attainable. When I gaze at the numerous flights on the departure board, listing flight numbers, gates, and destinations, I feel in awe. My flight is booked to a particular destination, of course, but staring at this board is a digital reminder of how much of the world is so incredibly feasible. Suddenly it’s like I’m on the edge of a platform – as if from this point forward any step I take could bring me to a place I’ve never been…a place I never thought I’d go, a place that seems foreign and extremely out of reach. Until, here I am, and suddenly the only thing that’s foreign is the phrase “out of reach.”

Sporting a glow of prideful independence, I looked up at the massive departure board right above the line for security at the Los Angeles Airport International terminal. There was my flight – flight Q094, departing to Melbourne at 10:50 pm. I looked down over the balcony, where the nice Qantas airline gentleman had just checked me in and taken my luggage. I reflected on how much waiting I had done for these next few upcoming moments. For years, practically a full decade, I had been dying to feed my fascination in this mysterious and intriguing country. Finally, the long-lived countdown was over, and I was ready for these next big moves.

On the plane, the flight attendants began their safety protocol spiels. It hit me: I was on the official apex of a huge plunge into a new world. The aircraft’s wheels began to pick up speed, and the song my grandmother used to play for me as a child on her Peter Paul and Mary CD, “I’m leaving, on a jet plane…” ran through my head. I sat on the edge of my seat thinking about all that I was leaving in America, and all that I would be joining for 4.5 months in Australia. It was only a short 16 hours until my first stop in the new country, and even thousands of feet in the sky, I still could not believe my next step on land would be in Australia. Eventually I forced myself to close my eyes, the tune still echoing through my brain, and I let out a sigh before slipping into a 16-hour daze – I was officially traveling the world, where nothing was out of reach.