Something New

Danya Nadel       ~      

am not a person who gets to travel a lot. I am not a person who likes to do things alone. I am not multilingual and I don’t think I ever will be (concussions are serious kids, be safe).
I don’t know how to pack. I don’t know how to navigate airports. I don’t know TSA guidelines or what you need to do when you go through security.

So, excuse me for asking, but…

How do I do this traveling thing?

I’m in my dorm room at Drew University staring at my empty backpack and suitcase. I’ll be in Vermont for two weeks before flying (alone, for the first time) to the warmer and more pleasant climates in Miami and Havana. I have a pile of assorted items of clothing on my floor, three pairs of shoes scattered across the common room, and a plethora of toiletries littering my bed.

This is ridiculous, I think to myself. How do I pack for two entirely different climates in this small suitcase?

I’ve just gotten off the plane from Burlington, VT. Going through security at the beginning of the trip I forgot to take my shoes off, forgot to take electronics and liquids out of my bag. I’m in people’s way, frantic as I try to be less of an annoyance to the veteran flyers all around me.

I’m in some airport in Washington, D.C., and my flight to Miami has been delayed four hours. I wander aimlessly toward what looks to be food and get a big cup of coffee. This will have to tide me over until I leave. I sit alone at what I believe to be my gate and skype my boyfriend.

What am I even doing? I think to myself.

How do I think I’m going to make it all the way to Cuba and back if getting to Miami is this much of a struggle?

The answer to these questions, I’ve found, is pretty simple:

Carefully and with great attention to detail.

So, to reiterate…

I am not a person who gets to travel a lot, and I am not a person who likes to do things alone. I only speak English, and packing and flying are wildly foreign to me.

But, I guess that’s okay.

This is an image from the Pedro Pan exhibit in the Miami History Museum that we visited our first day in Miami. Right after I struggled with my own travel experience we learned about children as young as 5 years-old who were put on planes and sent to the US to find a better life without their parents. They were allowed one suitcase and had to work out what to pack as they moved from Cuba to the US. They did not know where in the US they would be. They did not speak the language. They did not know when they would see their loved ones again. But they went.
This is an image from the Pedro Pan exhibit in the Miami History Museum that we visited our first day in Miami. Right after I struggled with my own travel experience, we learned about children as young as 5 years-old who were put on planes and sent to the US to find a better life without their parents. They were allowed one suitcase and had to work out what to pack as they moved from Cuba to the US. They did not know where in the US they would be. They did not speak the language. They did not know when they would see their loved ones again. But they went. To travel is to not know where you will end up or what you will see; if you know, you are a tourist.

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