Scotland 5: Prelude 2

02.29.16 | 17:50 (Mountain Time) | Denver > Reykjavik

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The plane got to the gate about an hour and a half before our scheduled departure. I’m amazed at the number of passengers who stood up to wait in line, even though we had plenty of time before the flight crew was going to let us board the plane. Even with assigned seating, I guess they were as excited as I was.

As I boarded, I handed the flight attendant one of the boxes of chocolates that I’d brought with me. His reaction was not what I was expecting. He sarcastically rolled his eyes and said, “Just what I need, more sugar!” I should have taken it back, but I just smiled and told him that I wouldn’t force him to eat any and that it’s for the entire flight crew. A simple Thank you would have worked.

I managed to get an exit row seat. Today I’m traveling in style- economy class style. The guy sitting next to me, whose name I don’t remember, has been coughing nonstop since we were pushed back from the gate in Denver. He has finally fallen asleep, which is what I was hoping would happen. Nice fellow, though- he told me he was from just west of London and is headed home after a ski vacation in Colorado. I guess his cough is a souvenir he’s taking home from the U.S.

img_5487When one of the gals in the seat behind me was sitting down, I spied her Southwest Airlines crew badge. I told her I had one of those in my carry on bag. Small world! She is Las Vegas based and is heading to Iceland for about four days with one of her friends. After that, they plan on flying to Maine and going skiing.

08:21 | Reykjavik > Glasgow

The sun is now rising. Today is going to be awesome! We just had about an hour-and-a-half on the ground in Reykjavik. The airport seems to be a throwback to the 1970s. You know that wood paneling that so many houses had? Picture that, only a lot more of it. The flight was delayed leaving the airport because they had to bus all of us passengers out to a tarmac. Finally, we were able to de-ice and we are now on our way.

Unlike the first flight crew, this crew was very appreciative for the chocolates. The lady thanked me and a few minutes later, upgraded my seat to an exit row aisle seat that was much roomier. I don’t bring chocolate so that they’ll upgrade me, but if it happens, then that’s what I call a win-win!

I sat next to a girl named Brianna. She is from Denver and is coming to Scotland for the very first time to meet her online boyfriend face to face (eek!). I was nervous for her. She showed me his picture and he surely doesn’t look like a rapist or a serial killer. I guess many rapists and serial killers don’t look that way either. Before we parted ways, I gave her my card so that she can get ahold of me if needed. Maybe I’ll be part of the rescue operation.

A few minutes later, I saw her in the airport, close to tears, because she was unable to withdraw any money from the ATM. I asked if I could help at all, but she said no. I reminded here that she had my phone number, and also gave her my email address, just in case.


Back to the beginning of Scotland 5 | Forward to Scotland 5: Day 1

Scotland 5: Prelude

02.29.16 | 13:14 | Denver International Airport

This is the quote that one of my roommates jotted down on the dry-erase board in the bathroom at our crashpad. How inspiring is that? I googled it and found the quote on several websites, but can’t find the person who is responsible. Maybe it’s by Anonymous… Anonymous sure comes up with some beautiful quotes!

Just over two months ago, in preparation for this vacation, I checked to see how many seats were available on the Iceland Air flights from the east coast United States to Glasgow, Scotland. I could see that there were some empty seats still, but also a chance that I may not get on the flight. I’m very thankful for the job perk of flying very cheap, if not free, but I’m never guaranteed a seat when flying space-available. Non-revenue flying means that you never know whether or not you’re going to get to your destination in time. Just like the domestic rules, a fully booked flight means that I could get bumped for a paying passenger. Unlike the states, however, being bumped on an international flight means that I could possibly end up stuck in a foreign country. I guess it wouldn’t be the end of the world if this happened. I am all about the adventure, after all.

I decided that I would take a bit of the stress out of this trip by booking my one-way flight, just like a normal passenger. Kayak.com found me the fare from Denver International Airport to Keflavik International Airport in Iceland, then on then to Glasgow for only $388 after tax! I figured this was a decent deal, so I booked it. At least the beginning of the trip shouldn’t be too stressful. Hopefully, I’ll be able to find an empty seat on my return flight home, when the time comes. Perhaps I’ll just stay in Scotland forever and start a new life. I hope British Airways is hiring.

I have been counting down to this day for over awhile now, which means that there has been plenty of sleepless nights. I’m like a kid. I get so excited and I start to overthink things and am constantly wondering if I remembered everything I’m going to possibly need while I’m there. I guess Scotland isn’t a third-world country- they have plenty of stores if I need to pick something up. What is the United Kingdom equivalent to Walmart? Primark? I think Asda is owned by Walmart. I’m sure I’ll need to make some visits there before too long.

Finally, the long-awaited day has come! I’ve been at the airport now for a few hours already. Dawn asked me last night what time I wanted to go to the airport. I told her I wanted to leave at about 03:00, even though my flight doesn’t take off until 16:15. It’s just that I’ve been planning this trip for so many months, leaving the crashpad would feel to me like it’s really happening. She looked at me and rolled her eyes… there may have been some colorful language that came out next. She didn’t want to wake up and drive me to the airport that early. Even though my body woke up at about 04:15, I made myself lay in bed until 05:00. I am a strong person who has total control over himself. Yeah, right.

One of my roommates had to be to the airport at about 10:30, so I dropped her off, parked the car in the employee lot, and had to hang out near the Icelandair ticket counter since nobody was even scheduled to be there until about noon. Finally, she got to the counter so I could check my big backpack. After that, I headed to the inflight lounge for a few minutes, found some lunch, bought some chocolate for the customer service counter and the flight attendants, and now I’m hunkered down in the terminal, waiting for my phone to finish charging. It’s currently at 86%.

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Here we go!


Forward to Scotland 5: Prelude 2

At about 10:30 yesterday morning, my easy one-leg day ended in SeaTac, Washington.

As I was walking to the hotel, I thought that I needed some kind of adventure. It may be a good day to check off bucket list item number 90, which is to go up into the Seattle Space Needle. I checked online and found out it would cost me $22 to do this. Well worth the money to fulfill a dream.

I grabbed a small pizza for lunch at the hotel and brought it back to my room. After eating, I started to get really tired since I’d had to be up so early that morning. I thought that maybe I just wanted to stay in and take a nap. This Space Needle will have to wait.

While I was lying there, munching on an overpriced chocolate bar from Starbucks, my second wind kicked in, and I felt like I needed to get up and do something. I sent a message to my friend Jordan, a SeaTac-based flight attendant for Delta, to see if he was in town and wanted to grab dinner. Luckily, he was and invited me to dinner with him and another friend, Eric.

Interestingly enough, I had never actually met these two in person. I came across Jordan’s Instagram account a couple years ago when I searched for posts that used the hashtag ‘CrewLife.’ This search pulled up what seemed to be a million different flight attendant and pilot feeds. I followed some that looked like they may be sharing some of their travels and adventures. Side note: I’m not a fan of and don’t like to follow those who constantly post selfies. Sure, an occasional selfie is alright, in my opinion, but why do some feel as if they need to continually show off their face. Get over yourself! Turn the camera around so I can see what you see!

We decided to meet and eat at Coastal Kitchen, a seafood-inspired restaurant in Capital Hill. The Uber driver who gave me a ride into Seattle was incredibly chatty! I love to chat with strangers, but sometimes I get the vibe they may want me to hush. He is originally from Afghanistan and has lived in the states for years now. He told me about his family and about his growing up years. Afghanistan in the 1970s was similar to the U.S. The wrong person/people rising to power has brought on the drastic changes these people have to live with today. I’m so blessed to live in a country that allows me to follow my dreams!

My food was delicious! I recommend a visit! I ordered a lamb dish that had some white beans, perfectly seasoned. Eric had a burger, and Jordan had a pasta dish. The conversation was fun, and it’s always interesting to chat with flight attendants from other airlines to get their perspectives on things.

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Later, my Lyft back to the hotel was with a man who is originally from Mexico City. We talked about the death of his parents a few years back and how he never goes back for visits anymore. He moved to the states alone and had to save up to send for his wife and kids. He is yet another person who had/has an American Dream. I’m inspired by this.

Three Letters To My U.S. Passports

Dear First Passport,

I wish I had a picture of you to include in this letter. You’re in a drawer or a box somewhere, but when I come across you, I will be sure to scan you and update this entry. I want to take this opportunity to thank you for having been a wonderful part of my life. You first came to me back in 2007, when one of my best friends, Marcus, and I auditioned, and were ultimately selected to spend an autumn and winter in Taiwan, singing and entertaining tourists at an American-themed amusement park.

I remember the park directors coming to Eastern Arizona College to hold the auditions and asking us if we knew how to rollerblade (for you see, roller-blading Santa Clauses were all the rage in Taiwan back then, and that was part of the gig). I answered, ‘Yes’, but at the time I had never even put on a pair of rollerblades. It’s true I lied, but it got me the job (well, that and all my other awesome talents). How hard can roller-blading be? I remember being sad when I learned that the amusement park had gone bankrupt and this particular adventure was canceled. I now had you, my first passport. At that time, however, I had no place to go.

The first time I actually got to use you was after I’d moved up to Logan, Utah and was attending classes at Utah State University. This was the trip when my roommates James (a family member and another bestie), Paul, and Matt got together with our neighbors, Christy (Paul’s sister) and Marie and drove up to go camping at Banff National Park in Canada. I was disappointed that the Canadian border patrol didn’t stamp you. This trip, however, gave me a taste for the beautiful north and left me hungry, wanting more.

James had told me how awesome his trip Germany had been and then I got to meet Stefan, a boy from Germany who had once lived with James’ family as part of a foreign exchange student program. Stefan was so kind and told us we should plan a visit to visit his home. One night I was surfing the net, and what started out as simply checking how much it would cost to fly to western Europe, suddenly turned into purchasing two non-refundable, roundtrip tickets from Los Angeles to Paris.

That was an amazing adventure (and another excuse to use you, my first passport). As you no doubt remember, our roommate Jason joined us for that incredible trip! By this point, the love of travel was fast becoming part of my D.N.A. That seed had been planted and I desperately hoped to nourish it.

I used you when another James (a.k.a Zuka), Dave, Dave’s friend Jessica and another roommate, Jeremy, went on a road trip to see Dave’s parents’ who were serving as LDS mission presidents in Monterrey, Mexico. This was yet another trip where you weren’t stamped. If border patrol agents would only stamp you, this world would be a happier place!

I used you, yet again when I went with some dear friends to the United Kingdom in 2002. This was the trip with my dear friends’ James (Zuka), Julie, Colee, Dave, Dominoe and Makaylee. We spend just over a week visiting this land of some of my [and some of their] forefathers. Finally, another stamp! A few years later, you would be well used when I’d become a flight attendant. Even though at the time, the airline was only domestic flights, you came in quite handy for all of those T.S.A. lines and security checks.

I miss you and hope you show up one of these days! I am blessed that you helped me to discover this love I now possess.

Love, Dav

Dear Second Passport,

I apologize that you got so worn out! A few of your security features had even started to fade, resulting in additional questioning- but wow! We’ve had a blast! You have taken me back to the United Kingdom on a few different vacation trips, in and out of Iceland, you’ve allowed me to spend two amazing weeks in Ireland, in and out of Mexico and Canada a few times, all over the United States and even let me spend five weeks exploring some of western and southern Australia, in part to visit my dear friends, Arron and Brendan! I already had this growing love of travel, but with you, I really learned how to travel. I’m grateful to have known you!

Love, Dav

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Dear Third Passport,

Since you just arrived in my mailbox this past week, I really haven’t gotten to know you yet, but am looking forward to the opportunity. Now, If you’ll go over and take a look at my bucket list, you’ll agree that this is going to be a blast! I look forward to using you at the end of this month on our first adventure together! I even had them add extra pages to you!

Love, Dav

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Tonight I am extremely tired!

I think I got about 20 minutes of sleep last night, but somehow I could fake it through my workday. Last night, my roommate Kyle and I decided to go see the movie The Fifth Wave. I thought it was a pretty good film, but it did lean a bit heavy on the teen-drama spectrum. While at the cinema, I had Kyle get me a large Coke Zero. This is a huge mistake, as I have recently discovered that caffeine gives me energy like it does the rest of the world.

Even though I’m already lying in bed in my hotel room in Oklahoma City, I do have a tiny bit of energy left. I think I’ll use up said power by writing about three more items on my bucket list:

  1. I’m embarrassed to admit that of the 59 U.S. National Parks, I’ve only visited 7. This is horrible, I know. So here’s bucket list item number 70: To see every U.S. National Park. I found a list of all the parks on Wikipedia. How many have you visited?
  2. Coming in at number 80 is to ride on 50 different roller coasters (starting now). This is one that I had to really decide if I wanted to do. I just know that all that jostling of my brain will give me some kind of brain aneurysm.
  3. I have only been to downtown Seattle one time so far, and that was a few months ago, while I was on a work overnight. It is a beautiful city, and I have so much to learn. Number 90 on my list is to go up the space needle.

This will be the entry where I issue the needed apology. I went back and reread my entry from yesterday and realized that’s not where I wanted the story to go. You know how some people should never go grocery shopping on an empty stomach? Well, I think I just proved that I should probably never blog after working a long-haul out of Los Angeles. Lesson learned. My goal with this is blog after all, is to uplift and hopefully inspire others, not tear others down- not even those from southern California.

I know of a flight attendant blog that is very pessimistic in nature. The guy loves to write about all the things that passengers are doing and saying in such a negative light. He shares the things he wished he would have said to the passenger in different situations. Usually, his comments are rude, demeaning and very cutting. He brings himself across as very egotistical and tries to lift himself only. Needless to say, I stopped reading his page years ago.

As the passengers were deplaning at the end of our flight this morning, I was actually quite touched by the nice things they had to say. My crew was particularly fun and enthusiastic, which makes every bit of difference. Many of our passengers commented that they thought I was funny, that we were great, and many of them complimented us on how we handled one passenger’s situation or another. It made me really happy!

This may not be the best job in the world, but I feel like it’s one of the best jobs for me. I happen to be with a company that often recognizes those who rise above. Even though it is the aviation industry, I do feel like I’m in a safe and secure workplace. I’m going to try my best, from here-on-out to focus on the good. Sure, I’ll share the upsets too, but I hope I can share these experiences in a better light. I hope I learn from my mistakes.

Time to vent a little bit. Tonight I’m trying not to hold a grudge against needy passengers. I’d say 99% of our passengers today were incredibly nice and considerate, but there was that small, 1% that sort of make you want to punch a hole into his or her jaw. Thank goodness I can control my temper, but there were moments today that I really wanted to say something… I did say what needed to be said, but at times I totally understand why Steven Slater flipped out, about 6 years ago. Remember that incident?

The rules to not make me want to smack you on my flight are really quite simple:

  1. Don’t snap your fingers at me like I’m a dog.
  2. I’m not “the help”, so don’t treat me like I am, and don’t talk to me as if I am.
  3. Just because you live in the Los Angeles area, doesn’t mean that the rules don’t apply to you.
  4. Put your [choose your favorite cuss word] phone in airplane mode. If you don’t like the laws or federal regulations, maybe you should go march on Washington and get the law changed. But for now, turn it off or put it in airplane mode.
  5. Five bags are more than the allowed two carry-on bags. If you can’t combine/ consolidate, I will take them from you and you will see them when you get to your final destination at baggage claim.
  6. You’re not the only passenger on the plane. I may have to divide my attention. If I’m already assisting another passenger, don’t bother me with your little insignificant cocktail request. I’ll be back in a moment.

Don’t get me wrong- I do love my job, and I’ve been really lucky to have some awesome, awesome passengers… almost all of the time. Like any customer service job, it has it’s moments where you just know that a full moon is coming soon or something in the universe is out-of-whack.

I do work for the absolute best airline in the world. No exaggeration needed. I’m very blessed to have the best coworkers in the aviation industry! I also feel very safe and secure in my chosen profession, and I know so many friends who can’t say that.

Ok- rant over. I’ve been doing this for just about 11 ½ years and this is as negative as it’s going to get for me. I bounce back fast. I’m going to sleep better tonight, knowing I just got this all off my shoulders. Tomorrow is going to be awesome!

Today I have been enjoying my second day off of work. It’s been a good one and I’ve spent at least part of it working on future blog entries, and some bucket list organization. I also managed to watch the movie Stranger Than Fiction. Interesting film but took me a little while to get lost in. It was pretty good, I guess.

I just got back from having dinner with Harrison and Kyle. It was Chinese food tonight and I had the kung pao chicken. It was quite delicious! I am proud of myself for sticking with my food budget this month. I even have $20 left for tomorrow to stay in!

I thought I’d write about a few more items on the bucket list tonight:

  1. There’s been a time or two when I’ve commuted home on Delta and since they happened to have an empty business class seat, they were more than willing to upgrade me, knowing that I am a flight attendant. I have found myself in full Southwest uniform, sitting in a Delta first-class. I guess that would make a good commercial for Delta, huh? The dream is to fly first class on purpose… this is bucket list item number 40: To pay full price for the seat and just pretend like I’m used to it. haha! I won’t show my crew badge and I won’t tell any working crew that I’m a flight attendant.
  2. Item number 54 is to go to Jerusalem. I think this could be an incredible experience! I wonder if BYU has a course I can take to learn about it, but not have to be a student at BYU- I was never smart enough to even apply for BYU. I really need to do some research on that. Is anyone aware of this?
  3. I’m told there is a place on a mountain or hill on the coast of Maine that is the very first place that you can witness a sunrise within the United States. How cool would it be to do this on New Years’ day? To be one of the first people to witness this at the start of a new year?! This is the fodder that bucket lists are made of, and is number 65 on my own list.

Thanks to winter storm Kayla, I’ll be spending the next two days hanging out in Thornton. Nothing against Thornton- I have a great crashpad here and some great roommates, but I was so looking forward to two nights in my own bed. As you probably know, I’ve been working a lot lately for my upcoming vacation and that means that even two nights in my own bed is a blessing! Oh well. Tonight there will be food, a movie, talking a roommate into making a snow angel and hopefully, some hot tub marinating.

I’m reminded of another snow storm here in Thornton, back in April 0f 2013. Jeff has this trike thingy (I’m not sure what it’s for) and for some reason, he decided that it would be fun to be dragged around the snowy neighborhood streets. Thought I’d upload that video. I managed to cut it down to just over 3 minutes. Here you go: