I woke up after less than three hours of sleep. After receiving my visa, the next 72 hours was spent in a daze of preparations for this trip. I didn’t wake up with 2500% enthusiasm since I still had to go to work for a meeting. After all, I gave a very short notice that my Europe trip will push through. I happily rode the MRT to work and I was already daydreaming of riding trains across Europe. Haha! Advance celebration. Practice lang ng feeling.
After lunch, I headed home to get my baggage. My mom and dad (he also took a half day) drove me to the airport. This is the first time that I will be away from home and from them for more than 3 weeks. To add to their worries, I was traveling alone. They thought that it was an unsafe idea for me to push through with the trip. But in the end, they were understanding and supportive of my decision (read: wala na silang nagawa dahil hindi na ako mapipigilan :P). I am very thankful to have such parents. :)
I was still stressed out about my stuff during our long drive to NAIA. I wasn’t actually done packing but I had no time to finish packing at home so I just brought everything I might need in the car and tried to squeeze them all in my 40L backpack to no avail. (You know, I might just need extra whatnot, just in case lang talaga!) In the end, I had to let go of books, a couple of shirts, a hat, and some toiletries. What was left were those in this list.
While parked, we offered a prayer for my safe journey. I shed tears because after all the preparations, it really hit me that EUROPE 2011 will really happen. I will be traveling alone for the first time. There will be no travel buddy to support me. All the decisions will be mine. All the consequences of those decisions will be mine. There is no second opinion to consider. And I will be away from my family for a long long time. I could taste my fear in my tears but there was no turning back. Wala nang atrasan. I’ve thought about all the preparations for trip. But I didn’t expect the level of emotional anxiety that it would bring.
Armed with my backpack, my heavy shoulder laptop bag, my Europe dream and some guardian angels, I entered NAIA 1’s doors alone. When I got inside, I felt the urge to go to the washroom to pee probably due to nervousness. But I can’t because I have this really heavy back and I don’t have a travel companion to watch over it. My first realization in traveling alone: no one will watch over your stuff while you do something else.
I was in NAIA four hours before my flight. OA. But that was because I had another worry: immigration. I’ve read dozens of horror stories. I thought that I would be tagged red flag because I was traveling alone. Better to have some time in case they interrogate me to bits.
Cathay Pacific (CX) allowed me to check in even though my flight was not yet reflected in the board. Kasi naman, nakatayo lang ako sa may pila nila. I was too nervous to sit down. Checked in my backpack at 12.3 kg. Wohooooo!
I calmed myself while in line at the immigration. When it was my turn, I had my hat and scarf on – todo porma para presentable! My face was still visible. The immigration officer took a look at me...then stamped my passport. “Next!” he barked. I silently said my prayer of thanks. I texted my parents that I was let thru (had them in standby just in case)
I grabbed a coffee while waiting for my flight. Three hours to go. I felt the fatigue kicking in. I was so high strung and stressed. I had 10 hours of sleep for the past 3 nights because of all the preparations that I had to do. I roamed around NAIA 1. I was still nine years old when I last step foot in that airport and I can’t recall anything back then.
With mah boots:
Finally, our flight was ready for boarding. I really really like CX’s plane. Pasensya na, ngayon lang nakasakay sa sosyalin na plane. I’ve always been a passenger of Cebu Pacific and Airphils.
NAIA 1 at night. Farewell Philippines...for now.
Landed in HK for my connecting flight. Aaaaaahhh.... HK airport relaxed me.
Figuring out the picture taking part with no one to take a pic of me (Post-trip realization: It wasn't so hard after all. Got tons of pics of myself!)
Wow! Toilet seat cleaners. Impressive.
When I boarded my Amsterdam-bound flight, I was really really tired. Didn’t bother to chat with my seatmate. I woke up when they served food, of course. I slept most of the time during this flight that lasted for 12 hours and 20 minutes.
Menu. Aba, may choices!
The meal. Oo, Häagen-Dazs® yung ice cream.
My mantra during the whole flight; I dreamed of saying these words for a long time:
Europe, here I come.