I Retired My Hiking Sneakers in Vietnam

This past weekend I decided to do something that I haven’t been able to do in such a long time because of my jobs schedule, and I went camping for the weekend at a summer camp that I use to work at in Upstate, New York. It was a weekend full of staff reuniting that have not been able to see one another in years, camping in the wilderness like the Boy Scouts we are, and cheerfully providing much-needed volunteer service back to the camp we all used to call our own. You see over the last two years a few of these events have occurred but being that they take place on the weekends and my lack of seniority not being able to hold weekends off at work, I have not been given the opportunity to attend.
Being Upstate deep in the woods meant for a weekend of no cell phone service, no internet or WiFi, and reminiscing with people who were once so close they could be my family.

After spending eight weeks living together in tents, working long hard days, eating all meals together, and returning summer after summer, these are close friends that I practically grew up with. These were the kind of friends that you did not see from September to early June, but once the end of June hit, you were instantly best friends again and it was like no time at all had passed.

And all weekend as we chatted amongst each other, caught up, and had a good time for ol’ times sake, almost all of my friends at some point or another, asked me how my job was going. They asked me all kinds of questions from how running with the kangaroos in Sydney was, or jumping in a cage with tigers in Chiang Mai was, or how playing with monkeys in the Phi Phi Islands in Thailand was, or where in the world Myanmar (Burma) was and what exactly made me decide to go there?

And truthfully, I love being asked about my travels. I just recently realized that I have become a bit of a thrill-seeker, and I am always looking for the next crazy thing to do on my layover, or on my own personal vacation somewhere. So to be able to open up to this group of friends that I have not seen in such a long time and share my experiences with them was amazing. I even learned that a few friends of mine plan to visit South East Asia in the near future, and I am of course more than excited to give them tips and help them plan their vacations.

However what shocked me the most during all of this conversation was that a few of my friends had mentioned that they were jealous of my travels and my career. What I find extremely funny sometimes is the amount of people who tell me they are jealous of us Flight Attendants and our lifestyles. And while I do agree that my job does gives me amazing travel benefits to use at my leisure, many people do not realize just how stressful and demanding the flight attendant job is. They think we are up in the sky to pour some Diet Cokes and occasionally serve “chicken or pasta”. While I will not bore you with all the details of the job and why it is not as easy as it seems, it was just interesting for me to realize just how many of my friends do envy the flight attendant lifestyle in some sort of way, and how many of them wish they could have careers that included traveling.

It was not until my one friend that I drove Upstate with started talking about the pair of boots he wore for the weekend. Those boots had accompanied him for many summers as a Camp Keowa staffman, and they were finally ready to be retired. He had decided that by wearing them up to camp once last time, he could come full circle and give them the proper sendoff that they needed. I began to reflect back on my travels recently and remembered how when I was in Asia two years ago for the first time, it rained so hard my backpacking sneakers got ruined and I had to buy a new pair. I did not know it at the time but those sneakers would ultimately become my favorite pair of hiking sneakers I had ever bought and I would continue to bring them on every trip I went on for two years straight. Finally just a few months ago, the soles of these sneakers were falling apart, holes lined the sides, and layers of dirt and muck piled high. I decided that my most recent trip to Asia would be the last for them, and I would retire my hiking sneakers in the last country I visited on that trip- Vietnam.

Of course I tried to explain to my two friends that just like my friend wearing his boots up to camp one last time to retire them was the same as me wearing my hiking sneakers one last time to Asia to do the same. My friends slightly laughed when I told them this story and followed up with “of course you always have to one up us.”

I have known these kids forever, even way before my days of flight attending. I was not trying to ‘one up’ anyone at all, I was just trying to relate to them, on my own level. Because is that not what we all want in life? Being able to relate with our friends and family and share experiences with one another? But unfortunately when you are a flight attendant your stories and schedule make it increasingly harder for you to relate with those around you, giving you much more unique situations then others perhaps.

And of course my friends were only teasing me in this instance, however it still did make me reflect on how much different of a lifestyle I live and how I thought it was so special and unique to have one full weekend off in the middle of the crazy summer travel season to be able to have time off to spend with friends who I so dearly missed.

True We Will Always Be & Until next time, XoXo.




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