Where The Wind Takes Me

One major topic of conversation on this blog has been about flexibility and spontaneous traveling. And yes, my travels are still very much spontaneous and about being flexible.

But if you’re like me, sometimes you like to know what’s coming up ahead. And that’s even an understatement- you always want to know what’s coming up ahead.

I am at a point in my life right now where I don’t have any immediate plans. I don’t know what tomorrow has in store. Or next week. Like I literally don’t have plans. And that freaks me out.

But it seems like every time I make plans something steps in and deters me from going somewhere.

Prime example: I have been paying rent in a New York apartment since April 1st. It is currently the end of May and I have only spent 6 nights total in that apartment.

It’s not that I haven’t wanted to be there. Or that I had previously made many plans that conflicted with being at the apartment. Literally every time I was supposed to be at that apartment, something came up at the last second that took me away from going. An audition, a meeting, etc.

And get this:

It’s getting closer to my last few weeks in my apartment in New York City. I decide to fly up to finally stay an extended period of time; to dive into the City life and take dance classes, meet with friends, and do things I don’t normally have the time for.

I hop on a morning flight to LaGuardia with my bags packed for 2 weeks. From NYC I plan to head to LA for a few days and then hit Florida for Memorial Day Weekend. It was a 3 hour packing job that I meticulously designed for my long trip away from home base.

My parents were to drive to Florida with our dog the morning that I left home. This meant that there would be no cars available for me to use since my personal car is stored in LA and my parents’ cars were on the way to Florida.

But that’s ok, right? Because I had a two-week plan laid out and I wouldn’t need to return home for anything.

I sit in the Exit Row of my 737 plane with a good book, dozing off in between chapters, my head rolling on my neck like a tetherball.

The flight attendant announces over the intercom: “Ladies and gentleman, we are now starting our initial descent into LaGuardia airport. Current local time is 10:15 am, weather coming in at 75 degrees. Welcome to New York”.

A hot summer’s day in The City. I can go meet friends for coffee; people that I never have the chance to see because I always just pop in at such short notice. I could take some dance classes at Broadway Dance Center, go out for dinner afterwards, stop by my favorite cookie shop afterwards… the possibilities are endless.

Upon deplaning, I head to baggage claim and refill my MetroCard, this time making sure I buy an unlimited week-long pass since I will FINALLY be spending at least half of a full week in New York City!

The M60 Bus comes (a cheap way to get into the City: read my post, “It’s Been Waiting For You” for more info!)

I plan on taking it all the way to 125th and Broadway, then transferring from there to the 1 train and taking it Uptown to my apartment.

I settle into the seat that I snagged on the bus- a single seat with lots of room to put my bags at my feet- and pop my headphones in to begin my “Bus Life” soundtrack for the 1 hour ride.

And now is the perfect time to check social media, since the plane didn’t have Wi-Fi. I head to my email first: a habit that has formed from wanting to hear some good news, check for new opportunities, and just try to advance my career. It all happens over email.

I see in bold letters: CMAIL NOTIFCATION.

A “Cmail” is a portal message on a website profile for actors. When you get an agent, you sign up for this service so that your team can submit you for auditions and projects. Once you get an audition, it pops up in the form of an email, otherwise known as a “cmail”.

Which means I had an audition.

I open the email immediately and see that it’s for a taped audition. Which means I must go to a service that I trust and know well in order to get the best result.

I search for the due date, looking to see how much time I’ll have before the audition has to be in to the casting directors. Maybe it will time out perfectly for when I head to LA, and I can tape it there with my trusted coach?

Friday, May 19, 2017.

It was Wednesday, May 17, 2017. I had two days, and I had just hopped on a bus in New York City.

You would think I would have a trusted taping service there for problems such as these, but I don’t. Well, I used to, but the service went out of business. My second resort is to ask a friend to tape me with one of their nice cameras and buy them lunch. But this idea would not suffice for this particular audition because…

It’s a big one. A Guest Star role for a TV show on a major network. And the audition came from my Atlanta agent; getting a role of that size out of Atlanta is hard to come by. So I knew I had to do this right.

I felt a pang in my gut tell me, “Kelly you know what you have to do. You have to go back to Atlanta. Right now.”

And my gut was right, of course.

I was on a moving bus to Manhattan, the heart of New York City, where I was to finally settle in for a couple days and live my fullest City Life… and something dragged me back to Atlanta.

I got off at the next bus stop, walked across the street to the stop going the opposite direction, and hopped on a bus back to the airport. A total of about 20 minutes in New York, and I never even made it to Manhattan. I just brushed the edges of Queens.

I listed on the next flight out of LaGuardia to Atlanta, and made it to the airport in time. Easy right?

Well I got to security and they decided to do a bomb test on my bag, meaning they open it up and dig to the bottom and scrape a plastic tester all around the edges. I was a little miffed because little did they know I had literally JUST come from the airport and I breezed through security in Atlanta. But of course I kept my mouth shut.

But the worst part? The TSA agent ruined my masterpiece, my 3 hours of meticulous packing. When the test cleared through my bag looked like a garbage can that was ransack by a hungry raccoon.

Just a little stumble in the process, no worries.

But then I get to the gate and realize that I have no ride when I get back to Atlanta. My parents are gone. I have no car to access. How am I going to get to my house, then to my audition and back to the airport the next day?!

My best friend. Kaley. She was home from college and agreed to be my Uber ride for the next 48 hours. Shoutout to Kaley for being the savior of the day!

*

I was back in the Peach State by 3 pm, less than 12 hours before I had previously been there. Essentially, I flew to New York to hop on a bus for 20 minutes and come right back to Atlanta. Fun, right?

But it was an adventure. And it all worked out- the audition went incredible well, I had lunch and got to spend time with my best friend, and was back up in New York sleeping at my apartment the next night.

It’s just funny how life works sometimes. You feel like you have an idea of where you want to go and what you want to do and then God comes right back and says, “Nope!” He redirects your path in an instant and takes you on a different adventure, usually a better one.

Because I wouldn’t have this blog post to write if my travel plans had gone my way!

I am a paper airplane, crafted by God and thrown into the world with elegance and ease. Because He knows where I am going. I don’t, but that’s ok. Because I am guided. And I am going

Where the Wind Takes Me.

-The Fly Girl

 

 

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Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost

Most of my air travel is spent over the US, crossing back and forth over the expanse of the country heading to LA or New York. But every so often, I switch it up and head overseas to explore.

This spring, my overseas extravaganza happened to be in Paris, France. And it just so happened that my dad had a layover there. He was to fly a plane from New York to Paris, enjoying a day or so in the city before flying that plane back to the US. The wonderful part? He invited me to come along.

Paris was the first European destination I ever visited. I was 10 years old when my family and I went over Spring Break in April of 2007. A decade later I was back roaming the streets, this time experiencing even more of the culture and eloquence that Paris has to offer.

I used to always tell myself that I only want to travel to places I’ve never been. It seemed pointless to go to a city that I’ve already explored for a couple days. But that’s just it- when I do travel I never stay in one place for more than a week. How is it fair that I assume I experience all one city has to offer in the course of a couple of days? It’s not.

When I was in Paris 10 years ago, my family and I toured the well-known sites. We gawked at Notre Dame, climbed (more like rode an elevator) to the top of the Eiffel Tower, walked through Montmartre, and looked out at the whole city while at Sacre Cour. We drove by the Arc De Triumph and even hit The Louvre to say hello to Mona Lisa. What more is there to do in Paris? Eat crepes, check. Buy a beret, check. Done.

Except these bucket list items are merely a fraction of what that city has to offer. As I came back a decade later, I honestly had no plans for the trip because I did not know what else there was to do. But when I arrived in Paris, I quickly realized I had been totally wrong.

*

Have you ever allowed yourself to get lost in a city? To put away your handheld map, your cellphone, and all sense of direction and just wander? I’m sure you probably haven’t. Cause getting lost has such a negative connotation. We all have a schedule to adhere to. Our days are filled up by the second. And on vacation? Forget about it. There is an itinerary to follow and if not, the whole trip will crumble to ruins. Right?

Wrong. And trust me, I used to think this way. I’m a type A personality born to an Air Force graduate –turned- Pilot father. If you think our family vacations are any sort of “relaxing”, you’re wrong again.

But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve begun to appreciate walking through a city. Merely walking with no agenda, just gazing at the views and architecture. It’s probably my favorite thing to do- designate one day of the trip to getting lost without a worry in the world.

I’ve done this twice now- once on my second trip to London, and most recently on my second trip to Paris. The key factor? “Second trip” However I wish I had not been so caught up in “getting all of the sites in” the first go round so I could realize that I was missing out on so much more.

When you wander through a city, you never know what you’re going to find. Mind you, you should choose a city that is safe and easily accessible to a walking person. And always be aware! (Ok, I’ll stop acting like your mom now)

My first day in Paris as a 20 year-old, my mom and I picked one spot on the map to subway to and then decided to just walk and not look back from there. Our main destination was a store, and then we figured we’d just follow the quaint streets from there.

And that’s exactly what we did. European cities have tiny side streets that branch out from the main roads, usually paved in cobblestone and strung with twinkling lights. Exploring these cute little treasures is my mom’s favorite pastime, and has become mine as well.

We shopped. We explored the streets. We sat down at a café to enjoy a happy hour beverage (or two…). We bought a mini pizza topped with brie from a little bakery. Peeked into a flower shop. Split a dinner for two and picked up some fresh croissants for the next morning. It was such a lovely day.

Those are the days when you immerse into the culture. I’m not saying that we are now completely cultured French women; by all means I still have a lot more time to spend in Paris before that ever happens. But it’s a start. There were no tourists for miles. No historic sights to see. Just incredible architecture and eloquent storefronts.

Our second day in Paris, my dad joined my mom and I and we explored even more of the city that we had yet to see. We strolled through Luxembourg Gardens, visited Sainte Chappelle and marveled at the stain glass windows, stopped by Notre Dame for a quick photo opp, and took a bike tour all across Paris. We enjoyed fabulous meals and a nighttime boat cruise capped off the day.

*

And I thought I had done it all. That my little 10-year-old self would take in the city for what it’s worth and appreciate that architecture, the history, and the worth. Who was I kidding?

After being back in Paris, I can’t wait to go again. To stop by the opera house that The Phantom of the Opera is based on. To shop for treasures at the weekend flea market in Montmartre. To visit Museum D’orsey and the original Lauderee Macaroon store. The list goes on and on.

But I also want to take another day to walk through the city without a care in the world. To get to know her on a more personal level. I want to return to other cities I’ve previously visited- Barcelona, Amsterdam, Salzburg, Munich, Rome, Brussels- and wander through them as well.

Because last week I discovered that I love Paris in the spring.

And I also discovered that,

Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost

-The Fly Girl