Scotland 8: PreTrip

03.01.20 | Salt Lake City, Utah | 07:26

It’s time to start ‘Phase 2’ of this vacation, which I am going to mark with #Scotland 8! I’m excited to return to this place that I love so much, and every time I’ve visited over the years, I’ve found that I love it more and more. Back in 2017, Scotland was voted, ‘the worlds’ most beautiful county’! This doesn’t surprise me at all. I didn’t even take the survey, but I agree. It’s true, I haven’t been to a million different places, and sometimes you can’t compare apples and oranges, but I feel that nothing can match the beauty of Scotland!

I am sitting in the Salt Lake City International airport, waiting for my non-revenue flight to Los Angeles. When I left for Scotland two years ago, I asked my nephew, Sam, to crash at my place overnight, and then he drove me to the airport since I had an early flight. I decided I didn’t want to inconvenience him again last year.

This last year, I parked my car at my sister’s house, close to Park City. I loved this idea, having my family watch over my car while I was gone for such a long time. The only bad part was the fact that I had to get a Lyft from her house, all the way to the airport (like a good 40+ minute drive) and then from the airport back to her home when I got back. This was very expensive! Not to mention having to drive my car from her house, all the way to my house after having been awake for more than 24 hours! I basically saved no money by doing this.

This year, I decided that the best plan would be to leave my car at home. This way, it can be in my garage, out of the elements. I’m not saving any money by parking it all the way at my sister’s house, and she doesn’t have room to park it in her garage. It cost me $55 to get a Lyft to the airport, which is steep, but I’ve had plenty of time to prepare for this trip, financially.

My last few visits to Scotland, I have used my mobile phone freely. AT&T, my service provider, has decent coverage in most of the places I go, and a pretty competitive plan for international travel. It’s $9.99 plus tax for a rolling 24 hours of use. This gives me access to my mobile phone plan, which is unlimited data, talk, texting. It’s been a blessing not to have to watch my minutes or gigabytes. The only problem, however, is that this will add up to a whopping $609.39 plus tax by the time I return home.

This year, I have discovered Skyroam, which is a mobile wifi hotspot. The device looks like an orange hockey puck. You pay $179, and it offers a rate of $8.99 per rolling 24 hours if you buy it, or $9.99 per day if you decide to rent the device instead. This isn’t a savings over what AT&T offers me, but Skyroam also provides a rate of $99 per month for unlimited use! This is how I plan on saving some money abroad. Rather than paying the $609.39, I’ll be paying $377. I’ll let you know soon enough if it’s working throughout my travels.

I’m sitting in the B terminal at LAX. My flight doesn’t board for about an hour and doesn’t leave for about two hours. It took me a while to get through security- not only are there so many passengers in the line, but my bags had to run twice since I forgot to take my laptop out. I’m used to going through security in uniform, and when I do that, my computer doesn’t have to come out. My focus is on Scotland, not on safety- whoops!

The B Terminal at LAX

Before coming back through security, I walked down to In-N-Out Burger on Sepulveda. I enjoyed my double-double, animal style. It’s been a few weeks since I had a good burger, so this was a great lunch!

Double-Double, Animal Style

LAX-LGW | 21:22 (California Time)

Before boarding, I ran to a newsstand in the airport to purchase some chocolate for my flight crew. All I could find (within my budget) was some Hershey’s Nuggets, and even though I usually get something more decadent, this would have to do.

Thanks to this little token, they have been a fantastic crew, continually checking on me. They gave me a blanket, a pair of headphones, and a couple of bottles of water- they keep asking me if I’d like any snacks.


Today was one leg to Los Angeles… I can’t believe that I forgot to post the last time I was here: It was a perfect day in L.A.! Since I had about twenty-three hours to kill, I decided to take a Lyft into Hollywood. I saw a documentary called Three Identical Strangers. It was all about a set of triplets who had been separated at birth. Two of them happened to meet when one attended the same college as the other, and then when their story made it into the newspaper, the third brother read the article and realized that he was the a brother as well.

The documentary was actually quite good- it looked at a certain foster care system in New York City and exposed them for having separated all these multiple births, all in the name of a very unethical science experiment. It’s definitely worth seeing, if it’s playing in your neck of the woods.

I got some breakfast at a place called “The Griddle”. I ordered some kind of pancake and when they brought it out, it was two cakes, bigger than my head! It was delicious, but I only made it about a quarter of the way through! I hated to waste all that food, but since my day was just beginning, I didn’t want to have to carry around a to-go box for the duration. Lesson learned.

After that, I walked down to the Hollywood Walk of Fame. I realized that I hadn’t been there since high school. I was on either a choir tour or a band trip, walking the street and seeing the sights with my classmates. It has been long enough ago, that I don’t have very many memories of that trip. I do remember standing in front of the Chinese Theater, however. I also remember fat Spider-Man, skinny Spider-Man, and brown Spider-Man, who will allow you to take a picture with them, if you tip them, that is. No thanks.

I was able to do a live stream on Periscope, but am choosing to not post that here, since things got a little ugly and political during the video. It had to do with certain stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and my desire for people to stop being mean, and my rant in defense of a certain president. Luckily the taunts of the liberal class mean nothing as their viewpoint is largely emotional and based on opinions offered by the likes of one Whoopi Goldberg. Sister Act is over… and a lot of us just aren’t that into you.

Fast forward to today… This morning, I landed back in Los Angeles. Another long overnight means that I had time to have some kind of adventure. After changing out of my uniform, I called for a Lyft. I went into Santa Monica and saw the movie, Crazy Rich Asians. I gotta say- that was a great film! I will probably buy it once it comes out… well, once the price drops, that is.

After a stop at the Apple Store, I walked out to Santa Monica Pier. On my walk, I called to check on my parents’ I realized that today is their 59th wedding anniversary! Fun fact: My parents were actually married in Santa Monica, and here I was close to that very place! Sort of one of those full-circle moments… not really, but kinda.

Even with the L.A. smog, and the smoke from the wildfires, Southern California is very beautiful today! Everybody was out- If I could afford to live here… well, I still wouldn’t, but would be nice to have that kind of money!

The bad news: I threw up six times on this last work trip.

The good news: I’m not pregnant- also, after getting it all out of me, my stomach ache immediately went away. Now I just have to deal with the “squirts,” as I call them. This is what happens when I eat too much junk food. It’s the Christmas season! Passengers constantly bring me things. I’m very thankful, but this is what did me in. Throughout the night, I had to rush back and forth to the restroom, meaning I didn’t get much, if any, sleep. Soon, I was up preparing for my work trip.

The drive to the airport was very annoying. I usually do about 85 mph on the toll road, but since we had a big ole snowstorm last night, I think I maxed out at about 50. Thankfully, the other drivers were alert, and there was no slipping or sliding for two of my crashpad roommates and me. Michaela googled the temperature- with the wind chill factor, it was -6 Fahrenheit! This is the reason I’m so thankful for this next part.

More good news: I only had to work one leg on the first day! Then I found myself relaxing in San Jose del Cabo, Mexico. This is my first time here! Another step to fulfill bucket list item number 74 is to have an overnight at every work location.

By the time we landed, I was pretty weak. It’s incredible how much energy you lose from tossing your salad all night long. The crew went to the lunch buffet, and I went straight to take a nap. I was worried that I wouldn’t fall asleep since I was so excited to be in Mexico. I fell asleep very fast, however. The buffet was closed for the afternoon when I woke up, so I crossed the street to a fish restaurant and ordered some fish and chips. The fried food wasn’t the best for my stomach because I seriously considered going to the restroom to purge. I ended up keeping it down, however.

The rest of the afternoon was spent exploring the grounds of the all-inclusive resort where we stay. It was terrific, and I felt so spoiled. I didn’t want to venture out too far since this was my first time there, and there was some kind of drug-related hangings in the news lately. Plus, it was probably wise for me to stay closer to a restroom if you get my drift. Later, dinner was with my awesome coworkers, Deborah and Lome. We had such a fun chat! Since this was Christmas Eve, they really made it feel more like I was with family.

Day two of this trip was one leg to Los Angeles. We were done with our day by about 10:30, so we checked in to the hotel, rested for a bit, then met downstairs for lunch. We all ordered personal pizzas from the hotel restaurant since we weren’t sure which restaurants would be open if we would have ventured out.

Afterward, we went to see the movie Coco together. This is the second time I’ve seen this new Disney, and both times I got tears in my eyes. I didn’t outwardly cry since I was with the girls and had to hold my ultra-macho status, but I wanted to. This movie has such a great message! It also teaches the importance of families and shows you what the Mexican tradition Dia De Los Muertes is all about.

Again, the three of us had a meal together (it’s rare that this happens more than once on a three-day trip, but this was our third meal!). The meal wasn’t the best (the service was horrible, for the most part), but it was, once again, delightful company.

The following day, I got a text from Lome. She said she’d been sick and throwing up all night- it seemed to be food poisoning, possibly from the seaweed salad that she’d ordered for her dinner. When I checked with her last, she was on her way to see a complaint doctor; still, I’m hoping she heals fast! What a horrible way to end such a perfect trip! It was bad enough that she had to call my work’s scheduling department to be replaced on the trip, so Deborah and I were forced to work our last two legs with other flight attendants.

Tonight I’m in Los Angeles where it feels like Christmas. The temperature is in the upper-50s and a light wind is blowing off of the Pacific Ocean. Sepulveda Blvd is somewhat lit with Christmas lights, and I just walked back from grabbing an early dinner at Panera Bread, and stopped at Trader Joe’s (where I picked up some Italian butter cookies and a carton of chocolate almond milk. I’m not anti-cow, but this stuff is so good! I never realized you could milk an almond!).

It’s time for a Christmas movie. Tonight will be my very favorite version of A Christmas Carol. This is Disney’s animated version, starring Jim Carrey. If you haven’t this version yet, I highly recommend that you do! Not only is the animation amazing, but the musical score is just the best! If you’re into music, make sure you pay attention to the score, even when it is just in the background. It gives me chills every time I watch it!

Tonight I’m thankful for my new friend Cindi. I have worked with her before, and she is also a fellow Utahn. I saw her waiting in line for my same commute flight in Salt Lake City last night and was pleased to learn that she’d traded into the work trip that I was already on. She is definitely becoming a great friend, inasmuch as I probably shared entirely too much information with her on the jumpseat. I love the person she is, and I love her faith.

It’s a very rainy day in Los Angeles, California.

It doesn’t even look like California at the moment. When my first flight landed, I had a message to call crew scheduling. I did so, and the scheduler on the other end of the line told me that I had been rerouted. I was initially supposed to work two legs, but now that has become three. The way things are looking, I’m not even sure where I’m going to end up tonight (or when my workday will be finished, at that).

I’ve decided to look at this job as an adventure since I get to travel to so many destinations, and you never know what will happen in a day. I’ll try to remain optimistic. The good news is that now my trip pays more than it did when I left my base this morning. I can’t wait to see what happens.

Australia 2014: PreTrip 4

<LAX – BNE |  02:21>

An interesting thing happened at L.A.X., about an hour before I boarded the plane. I was sitting on the floor, near the only electrical outlet by my gate, charging my devices when this older man who looked like he was from India, turban and all, glanced down at my hand and asked me if he could read my palm. I told him I didn’t mind- I figure that he wasn’t going to try anything weird since there were a lot of other people around. He took my palm and told me that he’d been professionally reading palms for the past 50+ years and that today was his 78th birthday.

Here’s what he told me he read in my palm: 

  1. My spirit has been on this earth for about 3,800 years, reincarnated over and over.
  2. There’s a good possibility that I will start to lose my memory at around 70 years old, but I’ll continue to live on to be very old.
  3. I will never be rich, but will always be slightly comfortable and able to make ends meet.
  4. I will have two more great loves in my life. One will stay with me, and the other will part ways with me.
  5. I need to take up some sort of martial art to become more focused and become a better singer.
  6. In my last life, I was an Italian woman who happened to be a lesbian.
  7. About 300 years ago, I was in the body of a black man who lived in western Africa.

Do I believe everything this man told me? Absolutely not! Was it cool to have my first palm reading? Absolutely! One thing that did stick out to me was the fact that when I got my genetic testing done with a few months ago, there was a very small portion of my DNA that came from western Africa. This man then went on to bash all forms of Christianity, that Jesus was only on earth to perform small miracles and wasn’t really the son of God. He told me that the only reason that my pastor taught me about heaven and hell was to control me. This man claimed to be psychic and there are quite a few things he got wrong about me. Still, it was cool to have my palm read. I just nodded my head, pretending to agree with him, and I smiled a lot. Harmless airport fun!

As I boarded the plane, I handed the chocolates to the lead flight attendant and told her she had to share them with her coworkers. I then told her that I was a flight attendant for Southwest Airlines and let her know that I’d be sitting in seat 61-A. She was very appreciative and several times during the flight, the other crew members came back to thank me. They were extremely kind and this move scored me a nice pair of noise-canceling headphones.

You want to know what makes a 13 hour and 55 minute flight seem even longer? This is when the guy who is two seats over from you decides to take his shoes off. He had no socks on and by the smell of things, he’d had to walk a lot that day in the California heat. It was not pleasant. Other than that, the flight was great! I tried to get some sleep on the way and think I may have managed to get about 2 hours in. For me, this is an amazing accomplishment.

Something very significant and awe-inspiring just happened. There’s a place over the Pacific where two invisible lines cross each other. This is where the equator crosses the international date line. Prior to a few minutes ago, I had never crossed either of these lines. I just crossed both of these lines… at the same time. In my opinion, this is very, very cool and I think it was worth powering up the laptop to record this event. Does this make me more of a man or a better person? I think so. Also, this is one step closer to considering myself a world traveler. Very cool!

Australia 2014: PreTrip 3

<Home | 05:41>

I can’t sleep. My body woke up somewhere around 04:30 even though I was up until almost midnight getting things together- there is no sleep left in me. Megan isn’t going to come to pick me up for another six hours but I’m done sleeping. Maybe this is a good thing since my flight doesn’t leave Los Angeles until 23:45 tonight. Maybe that means I’ll actually sleep on the plane. I should drug myself.

<Los Angeles, California | 17:53>

Megan showed up right at 09:30 and I grabbed my two bags (one to check and one to carry-on) and threw them in the trunk of her car. We had to make a stop at Walmart so I could grab a few things. Arron commanded me to bring Hostess pies and butterscotch pudding for him. What I really mean is that he asked me if I’d bring some for him- I knew that if I did, they would get smashed in my checked bag, and he’d need to eat his treats with a fork or a spoon. I guess these are some things that they just don’t have in Australia. I ran into Walmart and found a little plastic box to put them in. I hope this keeps the treats uncrushed until I see Arron in about twenty-two hours.

My Happy Chauffeur
Flying Over Las Vegas

Since I still had about 10 hours until I could check in for my flight, I walked down to get some lunch at In-N-Out Burger, near LAX.

Always A Good Decision

After ordering my #1, animal style, a gal who was also waiting for her order started chatting with me. Her name is Roxie and she just so happens to be one of my coworkers, based in Baltimore. After being an operations agent in Raleigh for I-don’t-remember-how-many years (close to thirty years, if I recall) she finally decided a couple years ago that she was going to transfer to inflight and start to see the country. We had a great chat!

We talked about our experiences in flight attendant training and the fact that her 30-year-old son is going through the exact same training in Dallas at this very moment. We remembered all the stress and head games that we had to live through to earn our wings. Those memories came flooding back! I think I had tried to block most of them out. It was quite common in training for you to get close to someone, thinking they’d become a life-long friend and coworker, only to find out the next day that they’d been sent home for failing a test or for one of a million other reasons. I remember that our training class started with 136, and I think only 84 made it to graduation. Roxie told me that from one test alone (passing of the P.A.s) they lost about 11. Mind games. Stress. Tears. Sleepless nights, pacing the hotel hallways studying because you really, really wanted to be a flight attendant.

I remembered there was a boy named Edwin in my training class. The day before our graduation, Edwin went out to celebrate his twenty-first birthday. The next morning, we all showed up to the shuttle and were very excited because this was our big day. We were getting our class picture taken and going over some last-minute career training and then we were going to “get pinned” (receive our wings) in a ceremony later in the afternoon. Edwin never showed up that day because he partied too hard and slept through his alarm or wakeup call. Instead of allowing him to join us later in the day (he had already passed all of his exams), they put him on a flight home. They told us from our very first day in training that we always had to be on-time to class, because they had to trust us to show up to the plane when we were supposed to be there. Edwin would have made a great flight attendant. I wonder what he’s doing now.

After a quick visit to the CVS so that I could pick up some generic Zzzquil and some generic Gas-x, just in case, we walked back together until it came time for me to turn right, heading to the terminal and Roxie turned left, heading back to her layover hotel. She’s a very cool gal and we exchanged our info so that we will hopefully keep in touch.

I grabbed my bags and lugged them all the way to the L.A.X. international terminal. Up to this point, I’ve only experienced terminal 1 because this is the only terminal that we fly out of for work. The international terminal or terminal 4 is a long hike, especially carrying a bag the size of the one I packed for this trip. Next time I’ll fork out the $5 to rent one of those easy cart thingies. I felt like I was going to pass out, lugging it the whole way.


I stepped up to the Qantas ticket counter, wondering if it was too early for me to check in for a plane that wasn’t supposed to leave for hours. The agent told me that it was indeed possible and that many other passengers had already checked in. She took my passport and told me that she wouldn’t even need my confirmation number. She scanned it through the groove on her keyboard, checked the screen and asked me if I had any bags to check to Charlotte this evening. “Okay, first of all, I didn’t even know that Qantas flew to Charlotte. Secondly,” I told her, “I am actually going the opposite direction and flying to Brisbane tonight.” She scratched her head and I pulled my confirmation number out of my bag. She scanned my passport again and this time it had me going to Brisbane. Much better! Although Charlotte, North Carolina is lovely!

Once I was through the security line (which was basically nonexistent for me since I happened to be in a flight attendant uniform- awesome benefit!) and a pitstop to the men’s room, I set out to find some chocolate. It is a well-known fact that you should always bring chocolate for the flight crew. Now that you know this, never fly without bringing some! Please don’t get the cheap, waxy kind of chocolate either. I was glad to find a See’s Candies shop in the terminal and grabbed a couple boxes of truffles. I hope the crew is grateful for the gesture.