So I have a confession…
Okay.. I was naughty I admit it.. Want to know why? Whenever I tell this story to anyone, I always receive a wide-eyed, open mouth expression! Most people are stunned with disbelief on how I managed to hook up with a boy I had never met before, on a plane… That’s right I said it! When I was 19, I met this guy who was on my flight from Vancouver to Hong Kong. Pretty much, I got a smooch from this cutie!
How did this happen?
I had about 30 minutes before my flight boarded, so I decided to sit down at the gate and pull out my laptop and see if I could get some Wi-Fi signals… Around 5 minutes later, I notice a young boy around my age, sitting on the opposite side of me. I looked up and spontaneously made awkward eye contact with him. With embarrassment of being caught staring at him, I quickly looked back down at my laptop screen. For a while, I then realized after failed attempts, that I could not connect to any Wi-Fi signals and became frustrated…. “ I needed to look busy on my laptop. Hello…. Wi-Fi?” After multiple tries, I decided to be bold and ask the beautiful stranger, if his Wi-Fi was working. I looked up, swallowed, took a deep breath and asked, “Hey, is your Wi-Fi working?”
When did the sparks ignite?
He replied with confidence “Hey, no I can’t connect, I was just about to you ask you actually”. He smiled flirtatiously. He closed his laptop immediately and asked me, “What flight are you on?” I thought to myself, “holy shit he’s talking to you, don’t say anything stupid!” I pulled out my boarding pass and stated my flight number and destination. He widened his eyes and replied with a big energetic, “ME TOO, that’s awesome!” I smiled and replied with an “oh cool!” (as in I’m trying to act cool). He started asking me million questions at once like, “Where are you from?”, “Why are you going to Sydney?” and so on. I started to answer his questions simultaneously and bounce those questions back to him. I could feel my palms sweating and my face blushing. I pause the awkwardly happy question-and-answer session and told him my name, “Oh, by the way, my name is Dana.” He chuckled and replied, “Nice to meet you Dana, my name is Michael.” It turns out that we have the same age. He was going to Sydney for a year of backpacking around Australia. I could tell that he was very interested and super excited about his adventure. He was humble and down to earth enough, and seemed to have the same craving for travel as I did. We started talking, more comfortably, and I told him about my first year at University and gave him a little rundown on what Australia is like, where to visit and what to do in Sydney.
Then we boarded the plane…
While waiting in line, “together”, we constantly are talking each other’s ears off. One of us stopped and asked “Hey, what’s your seat number?” It turns out we were four rows apart from each other as we mentally calculated. He gave me a sad puppy face, displaying his sadness for the fact that we were seated so far from each other. We still had so much to talk about! Once we got on the plane, I sat at my seat, and I waved goodbye saying, “I’ll see you in Hong Kong.” I sat smiling to myself like a little schoolgirl with a crush. Three minutes later the beautiful boy appeared in the aisle with a random middle-aged woman beside him. He looked happily at me and said, “Hey, this nice lady is happy to switch seats with you, so we can sit together”… I looked at the lady and she replied, “Yea, not a problem, I’m happy to make the switch”. My heart melted….
Then the 14 hours in a cramped plane began…
I switched to my new seat, beside him, and our conversation started again! We talked about everything from high school, to our friends, and even to our past relationships. We watched movies together on one TV screen, and we laughed a lot. After about 6 hours of talking and laughing, it was time to have a little snooze as they dimmed the light and everyone around us was sleeping. Obviously it would have been rude to keep talking while everyone was in his or her sleep mode. As we position ourselves to sleep, we leaned against each other and shared the given blanket. After the awkward leaning position, for little a while, he reached out for my hand under the blanket. We fell asleep together, hand in hand. After around three hours of solid sleep and I repositioned my body… he woke up, from my movement and smiled at me. I asked him “Are you comfortable?” he replied… “Very much, thanks” … Then he .. leaned in for a kiss… My 19-year-old self was on cloud 9!!!!! I remembered that the kiss was just perfect. There may or may not have been a little groping under the blanket too… 😉
Arriving in Hong Kong.
We assumed that if we started on the same flight, we would also be on the same flight for our flight to Sydney too. However, his flight was different than mine. I was leaving in 2 hours and his flight to Sydney was another 6 hours after mine. He said he wanted to hang out with me while I waited for my flight so he convinced the airline employee to check in early so he could hang with me before I boarded the flight. We had dinner together and laughed some more. As we waited for my flight to board, we shared one more passionate kiss as we sat in a room with 100s of other strangers. He lined up with me until he could not anymore; we kissed goodbye, and I walked away onto the plane. That was it…
I never saw him again; we spoke on Facebook, but we never got a chance to see each other in Australia.
I am a lot older now but I remember everything about that flight like it was just yesterday. I still remember how awesome he was and how nervous I felt to just be around him. It was such a good experience and had shown me that a simple hello can go a long way..
Do you have your own version of travel confession or a similar story?
Have you met someone awesome at an airport or on a flight?
Let’s hear it! Share it!
- Get your shit together!
Before you go telling the world that, you need to make sure your ducks are in a row! I’m talking “visas” people! Immigration system and visas to different countries can be difficult, frustrating, and time-consuming. Sometimes it even needs a lot of research on which visa suits you best! I have a lot of experience with visa and immigration especially in Australia and I can assure you it’s not just a little sign up on the Internet. You need to present to the immigration system proof of passports, work experience, how much money you have in the bank, and etc. I am a nurse therefore I need to get a full-on medical examination. If English is your second language, you may be to do an English test (IELTS or TOEFL, etc.) Prepare ahead of time for visas and testing. Make sure you keep track of the processing time, sometimes it might take longer than you thought it would!
- Do a BIG downsize!
A big one! Realize that you can’t bring your whole life with you on your big adventure! Make a full day of it! Get your mom and your best friend over and throw on some tunes and get to work! Make a “for sure pile”, a “no way I totally forgot that even existed pile” a “I can’t decide pile” and a “donate pile”. Once you are done you will feel so liberated, and you can help out the community by donating your clothes as well! Less is more in the travelling world and you will thank yourself later! Only bring the ESSENTIALS when you are travelling. I promise you, you will accumulate lots of new stuff! Living a simpler life with less materialistic items will be a nice feeling in the end trust me!
- Do the big tell all!
Yup! Once your visa is granted, and your flight is booked it’s time for the big reveal to tell your friends and family about your wicked new adventure. I recommend getting together with near and dear family first. Telling them in a private and in a nice environment face-to-face is the best way, but that’s not always attainable! Next would be your good friends. What I have done over the years is to have a big-girls-night-out, and before the drinks start pouring tell them of your plans in a humble manner. Explain your rationalization and portray your excitement! They will see how excited you are and be happy with you! Also, remember not everyone will take it the way you want them too! Everyone is different, some people might not understand the need to travel. When I moved overseas, some people I told about my adventure called me “crazy” and even “stupid”! If someone reacts in a negative way, don’t take it personally and know that you’re moving on to bigger and better and well… Good for you! I think you’re awesome for choosing to move overseas!
- Make sure all your arrival stuff is booked!
It will give you peace of mind that you’re going somewhere straight when you arrive and therefore, you don’t have to worry about all the hustle in a new country! Once you get there and feel comfortable, then you can do the spontaneous things. Its also nice and assuring to know that little things like accommodation and shuttles are booked ahead of time (so you’re not running around like a crazy person). Trust me I have done it too many times! I am the queen of winging things!
- Get what I call the “top secret file.”
Visit to your local stationery store and get yourself a sturdy file folder! Now, what you should have in this file folder?
- Copies of your passport ** Essential to have – people losing their passports, happen all the time!
• Copies of your birth certificate (in case you lose your passport overseas you may need this at the embassy)
• Print out your flight itinerary – Both ways!
• Print out your visa information
• Have a copy of your drivers license
• Social Security Number
• List of medications / medical history
• Parents’ or next of kin contact address and phone numbers
- Do one big roundup of little shopping!
Don’t go overboard at the drugstore – you don’t need shampoo and all that kind of stuff, you can get all that stuff overseas in any country! Be smart about what you bring along with you! I’m talking about little essentials things like your favorite mascara (Australia’s mascara is out of this world expensive item), your favorite makeup items…maybe even your favorite face wash or one of those tiny first aid packs is always good (I used mine a lot in Southeast Asia). Everyone has different preferences regarding his or her special products! Get those little things you can’t find anywhere else! But like I said don’t go overboard!
- Know that you are doing the right thing by making a big move overseas!
Get excited! Watch YouTube videos and read blog posts on your chosen destination and do a lot of research beforehand! I spent months and months researching before I made the big move! I understand as the days draw closer the nerves will build up. That is normal, but go with the flow and have peace with your decision! Moving overseas is not as hard as people think it is! This is an exciting time for you! I can say that it’s all worth it in the end and that you are making the right decision!
Safe Travels Everybody
You’re in the right place! Also if you’re reading this then you are pretty damn cool because well…. Scuba diving is freaking awesome!
Scuba diving is my little passion! I was brought into this world with scuba diving all around me! My parents were always on the coolest diving trips! My basement in my house was like a small dive shop and the hanging wetsuits would freak me right out!
So you wanna be a scuba diver eh?
Well let’s start with the basics?
Can you swim?
Are you over 10 years old?
Okay great.. You’re good! Anyone can scuba diver I have seen 80 year olds 100 ft down with me!
*Although you do need a medical form signed by your doctor as some medical conditions and diving do not go well together!
What Diving agency do I use?
I’m going to recommend PADI… personally as that is what I use at work and in my personal diving experience! However there is other agencies such as NAUI, SSI etc.
What’s the course actually called?
PADI Open water course – for beginners entry-level divers
How do I get my PADI Open Water Course?
You have a couple of options actually…
- You can do your full PADI open water course with a local dive shop which covers theory and pool session as well as 4 open water dives.
- You can do an online (eLearning) course with PADI eLearning and finish your theory on your own in the comfort of your own house! However… you then have to do the pool session and 4 open water dives with an existing dive shop!
- You can do a referral program! Are you going on vacation anytime soon? Backpacking in a tropical country? Well all you need is the first part of the course with a local dive shop (theory and pool session) and then when you get overseas or on your vacation you can then go to the local dive shop there and finish your 4 open water dives with an instructor. Doing a referral prgram is a huge benifit as your first dive will be in a ocean. Where the weather is nice and the water is warm (I started in a lake in Toronto, Canada and I couldn’t see a damn thing for the life of me lol)
How much we talking?
Let’s break it down! Each dive shop or center is different and the price ranges but..
PADI ELearning course is – $190
AN example of a dive shop – pool session and 4 open water dives is – $299
AN example of a referral program price (4 open water dives) – Ranges ($200 and up) Depending on where you do it!
- Remember sometime rental fees are not included in the price! (Watch out)
- Note – These prices are just an example every dive shop or center varies widely!
So you’re looking at around – $500 to $800 or more!
You might be taken back a bit by the price but I assure you it is worth it! Scuba Diving is amazing, picture yourself weightless swimming deep in the ocean seeing all kinds of wild life up close and personal and making friend with new fish and other divers!
Does it ever expire?
Nope the PADI Open Water Never Expires! You’re good to go! I do recommend if you haven’t dove in a very long time that you take what’s called a refresher course. You can do this course with a local dive shop – it helps you touch up on your skills and tune up dive knowledge! Price usually around – $150 – 200
Is the course hard?
Not at all, it’s made to be fun and exciting and a good experience for you! It’s actually really interesting and gets you pumped to be a diver!
What if it’s not for me?
That’s totally fine, diving is not for everybody! Most divers and instructor understand this! I mean your breathing in a complete foreign environment, we get it!
Will I meet new friends?
100% scuba diving is a VERY social adventure sport and most dive clubs meet regularly and dive together! You will also learn that diving uses a buddy system which means every dive you go on you ALWAYS have a buddy! So you are pretty much guaranteed to make new friends! If you don’t have a buddy on a dive trip you will be paired up with someone every time!
Well I hope you enjoy this little blurb about getting into scuba diving!
Check out these links for more information on the PADI Website and you can also find different dive shops in your hometown and anywhere in the world!
What a beautiful word & What a beautiful world
How it just rolls off the tongue… lol
This word inspires me, it puts a smile on my face and a warmth in my heart as I plan my next trip.
My craving for travel or shall I say my “Fernweh” started as young girl I always dreamed of living overseas, laughing on the beach with friends and beautiful men! Although I have laughed on the beach on the other side of the world with beautiful men my appetite for travel still exists. So much so that the thought of having to settle down somewhere for the rest of my life scares the shit out of me. I think to myself “how will I travel”, “when will I travel” , “but what about _____(insert dream destination),”nooo don’t make me settle”. Maybe I am the weirdo but I cant help it! The bug has made its nest!
I have a craving for new places, new faces, new smells, and new food.. and potential for a new me!
I travel because I can and I know that one day I’ll look back with a smile on my face knowing that my life on this earth was not wasted and that I saw the beauty of the world first hand!