“Time to fly!” the unusually chipper shuttle driver says as he grabs my backpack and places it in the trunk. He’s so cheerful that I don’t mind that he’s early and I have to scramble to get out of the house. I close the door temporarily on my regular life and exhale the tension of trip preparation. I’m sure I forgot to pack a few minor items, but I have my passport and the most important things, and onward I go.
As we head south to the airport, I watch the San Francisco marine layer hug and glide over the hilltops. It’s a sight I’ll miss — the ethereal look of the fog approaching but not quite reaching me, luminous in the late afternoon sun.
At the airport, everyone seems buoyant, fellow travelers and staff alike. Maybe I am exuding happiness about giving my soul the adventure it’s been craving, and the world is echoing that back at me.
While I wait, I am treated to a catchy playlist of songs from the restaurant next to my gate. Bob Marley, Stir it Up. The Rolling Stones, I Can’t Get No Satisfaction. Lady Gaga, Just Dance. A long list of crowd-pleasers that gets people tapping hands and feet and any other limbs generally deemed appropriate for public dancing in a typically non-dancing environment.
At takeoff, it is dark and it seems that San Francisco has rotated completely out of the sun’s reach. But up, up, up and above the fog, light lingers in the distance. Below us is the billowy fog I marveled at on the way to the airport, and just above that on the horizon, the sky is shades of dusky pinks and blues. And above that, shielded from city and suburb lights by the fog, the stars are shining.
From every angle, the beauty of the fog and light of San Francisco has been tugging at me, still there to enjoy, but looked at with the perspective and appreciation of its impermanence and my leaving. There is such beauty in that fearful thing, change — when transience forces moments to be lived for what they are because you know they will pass.
You really know what you’ve got when it’s almost gone, when the last light shining on what you’re leaving behind fades. But the unknown awaits, enticing you with the allure of discovery. It’s time to fly.
Author’s Note: This is a tale of traveling to Colombia in 2013, and it was previously published on my blog that preceded this one. This story is where the name of this blog originated, and it encapsulates how I often feel as I am about to embark on a new adventure.