Some things I have realized about myself in the past couple of years: when I have the opportunity to travel with a friend, my answer is almost always going to be yes (as evidenced here, here, and here). And apparently I am willing to go halfway across the world to do so.
All that to say, I should have known better.
When my friend Shannon was doing her best to cover up her disappointment about being in South Korea alone longer than expected to finalize the adoption of her son, I should have known better than to make a joke about coming to see her. Within a matter of minutes, that “joke” turned into searching for plane tickets, which quickly escalated into purchasing said plane tickets and planning my trip to South Korea. A trip that would occur less than a month later. For a long weekend. You read that correctly. I went to South Korea for a grand total of 72 hours.
The only way to survive the madness? Drink lots of coffee and enjoy the amazingness that is longtime friendship.
Coffee #1: I began my journey early on a Thursday morning with the short flight from Medford to San Francisco.
Coffee #2: While in San Francisco, I had enough time to eat breakfast, drink more coffee, and walk around the sunny terminal.
After a not-too-long layover, I settled into what would be my very tiny home for the next 12.5 hours.
The flight was probably the least comfortable international flight I’ve experienced, but the time passed, as it always does.
After a few hours of fitful sleep, it was time to try to wake up again. I wanted to be able to sleep once I got to South Korea, after all. What’s the best way to wake up? Coffee and sunshine.
Coffee #3: I was looking a bit frazzled at this point.
Coffee #4: So I drank another cup of coffee and continued to enjoy the scenery and Harry Potter movies.
As the flight came to an end, I marveled at the almost magical experience of flying. Despite its drawbacks, which are many, airplanes allow me to leave the US on a cloudy Thursday morning and arrive 17 hours into the future on another continent and to another country around sunset on a Friday evening.
And best of all, the magic of flying gives me the opportunity to do this – eat dinner with Shannon on the other side of the world. Because why fly to Tennessee when I can fly to South Korea? Every single uncomfortable hour of restless sleep, the sometimes mediocre food, the vomiting child in the seat next to me, the compression socks I wear on international flights to prevent my feet from swelling. All of it, every bit of it, was worth it for that.
Some experiences can’t quite be put into words. Sometimes impulsive decisions are the best ones to make. And some friends are worth meeting for dinner on the other side of the world.