So today in particular, there’s a whole lot of empowerment and just general STUFF to write about but in this entry, let’s start on a high. Today is Mother’s Day!
Mother’s Day is a wonderful celebration of all the amazing women around us who inspire us and guide us to be our best selves. Growing up, my mum literally ran me here, there and everywhere to ensure I was able to do the things I wanted, see everything I wanted to see and go to the places I wanted to go. I have many fond memories of moments when she queued with me for pop concerts, drove me to auditions all over the country and always offered me selfless advice on boys, life, friends, “why am I bleeding?!” (LOL) and everything in between without any judgement. I honestly feel I could tell my mum anything and she wouldn’t judge.
That’s a seriously cool bond to have with my mum and I appreciate it a lot; even at the grand old ‘adult’ age of 28. (do you ever NOT need your mum?!)…
She is not just my mum, but a lifelong best friend and In more recent years, we have shared holidays together and spent more time together, just the two of us. I never take any of these moments for granted.
Most women are lucky if they have just one influential woman in their life who they share this bond with but there I’m lucky enough to have two and I owe so much of who I am to her influence.
She’s called Barbara.
I met Barbara nearly 7 years ago now. Barbara and her husband Martyn have suffered tragedy in their lives that I can’t even begin to comprehend. Barbara’s daughter was cruelly taken too soon from the world in the Dunblane massacre in 1996 and yet I don’t think I’ve ever met a more balanced, warm, positive and loving lady with so much to give. We have shared so many moments in the last 7 years that make me very thankful our paths crossed. From picking my wedding dress together, to buying me a wee dress when I had literally no money to helping me handle even more meltdowns (particularly post marriage!) to sharing every other crazy drama with me in between (there have been a few!). I even sent her a wee WhatsApp message the other day to apologise for how dramatic I had been and she said, “Well, if there wasn’t drama, you wouldn’t be you!)… So I guess I just need to relax and embrace the drama!
Again, she never passes judgement and I feel like I could go to her with anything.
So, to these two… Happy Mother’s Day!
I hope I continue to have the privilege of sharing many special moments with you both. As it says on the first piece of mail I received to the project, the best is yet to come.
While I’m about Mother’s Day, I’d like to pay a little mention to my sister. Emma, you are 6 years my junior and yet you are mature in ways I couldn’t dream of. You do an amazing job of bringing up my niece and you’re always on my mind my little warrior. All I’ll say is that even although you can’t always see it now, it will all be worth it in the end.
I’m currently writing this entry from the sky somewhere across the Atlantic ocean.
I’ve been on my first solo journey of empowerment since starting up the project for just over 3 hours now (we left Edinburgh for New York at 17:15)… so I have time on my hands. Since I launched the blog just over a week ago, my writing sessions have provided me with such a lot of happiness and inspiration.
I can just tell the project is going to do amazing things for me and others.
If you read my first entry or have been following any of the blog’s social media, you will know that I was subject to arson on the 11th March 2017. That means that as well as being Mothering Sunday, today also marks one year exactly post the fire and pretty much having to start life over at age 27.
The fact, however, that I’m flying solo on a long haul transatlantic flight to where my heart was telling me to go, I feel, is testament to the progress I’ve made since that night one year ago. It’s a total coincidence, by the way, that I booked my flight for this date! But I feel like it’d a subtle nod from the universe that better things are coming.
When you’re lost in a situation like I was a year ago, you don’t tend to allow enough time to reflect on the little things. The little things, however, all add up to the bigger picture and if you look back particularly over a one year period, you will see for yourself how each little action helped propel you in a more positive overall path which you are hopefully on now. For me, the little things were things like signing and committing to a flat lease on my own, paying bills on my own, setting up an ISA account to start saving for my own property / something tangible for the day I DO want to settle.
Things I had been doing or preparing to do with another person, not alone.
So yes. The flight.
It’s 9pm UK time now and still in the sky. I didn’t get much sleep last night. I am the world’s biggest procrastinator / coffee drinking procrastinator extraordinaire and I didn’t start packing (sorry, Mum. No judgement, right?) until this morning! I am travelling light though. I’m only going with hand luggage. I have, however, booked to return with a case in the hold too since I am going to one of the world’s capital shopping destinations…
I plan to compile and release a full post when I return on the do’s and don’ts of travelling alone as a solo female but really so far, so good! I left Dundee at 11am and arrived into Edinburgh at around 1pm. The tram from Edinburgh city centre is super easy to navigate and runs every ten minutes so that’s how I got to the airport.
I am a nervous flyer at the best of times, even with company so I had kind of psyched up the checking in / customs and security bit and even tried to have a few lol’s along the way with security (turns out, however, that security is not a lolling matter and he/she doesn’t care how anxious you may be… they want direct answers and not casual chit chat about bodybuilding and sparkly bikinis!)…
The aircraft is absolutely beautiful. Perhaps it’s the Scandanavian edge but the aircraft feels minimal, light, airy, bright, fresh and impeccably engineered.
This route is somewhat new. Perhaps not even 2 years old? Norwegian Air saw a gap in the transatlantic flight market back in 2015 for something budget and more accessible and by using a small, military airport called Stewart which is located a fair bit away (60 miles north to be precise) from the centre of Manhattan but still in New York, they are able to offer this.
Stewart, New York is so new and little known that even a New York local who is a friend of mine had to do a fair bit of digging to find out where it is and the options to get out of it! As with any large flight, they have an arrangement with a bus company who provide a very cheap connection onto Manhattan for just $20 and with the flight costing just £180 one way, t’s still a massive saving on what British Airways or United (I’ve flown to JFK and Newark previously with both airlines) offer for closer to £400 one way. I think Norwegian are onto something here… but I guess time will tell. Stewart is apparently a tiny airport but interestingly, an American lady I met on the flight explained that when 9/11 happened, many flights were diverted there. So they’ve known for some time that although small, Stewart has the space to accommodate.
Everyone kept saying to me before I left Scotland that I’d meet a few interesting people along the way. We are only on day 1 but I’ve set off with an open mind and an open heart and already I have met a couple of people in the airport! Once checked in, I took my bags and sat down in All Bar One.
I was firstly greeted by a lovely gent behind the bar who is Slovakian but has lived in Scotland now for 19 years and loves it. We had a wee chat about his story and when went to order my drink, I was then approached by a tall Irish gent who described himself, and I quote, as being in the “40 plus” category. Defo 45+, he seemed very drunk and was visiting Edinburgh from Ireland on a friend’s stag weekend. Anyway, long story short, he had deliberately missed his flight as he was enjoying Edinburgh so much. He explained to me that although he’s been happily married for 24 years, he’s very unhappy. We looked at photos of him and his wife and continued to have a wee chat and he said that he enjoyed being in a new setting so much, he’s going to stay another couple of nights and mull things over in his head with regards to his marriage and his future.
He couldn’t believe I was travelling alone and said he was inspired but bewildered by my project and quest for contentment. I had to decline his offer of a drink, but we did get a selfie for the scrapbook! I’ve no doubt he is currently continuing his jolly in Edinburgh as I write.
I hope he find the answers to what sound like some pretty life changing questions in the bottom of one of his next Peroni’s…
I think this is going to be one of my favourite things about travelling solo and also blogging. Meeting these characters and hearing snippets of their stories. Hopefully the little pieces of all these human’s stories will help me figure out the middle section of my own story.
Until tomorrow’s adventure…