Dec 062014

Reno Tahoe International Airport

To move expeditiously from Point A to Point B in this story might be hoped for (as in “get on with it”). Yet, it would be a disservice to sharing this one voyage of getting on a plane for the first time in 20 years. Not to mention confronting a major fear in my life. We left off in my last post with When This Little Boy Learned To Love To Fly, and now you can experience the next step through my eyes.

It was a horribly smoky afternoon on Thursday, September 25th as firefighters were continuing to try to snuff out the devastating wildfires in California. We often are the recipient of the second-hand smoke here in Reno. My aunt had arrived in town to see me for the first time since Phoenix had passed away a month prior. I usually only get to see her a couple of times a year and we intentionally met at the food court in our local mall. It was the most intense, emotional talk I ever had in my life regarding anything that had happened to me. Putting that in the perspective of my past and my childhood it says a lot about that two-hour talk. She knew I was in a “dark place” despite every attempt I had made to feel better.

My entire adult life I had asked her for just the two of us to go a trip together. Wishing and hoping on my part yet she always politely declined or was too busy.

I don’t know what changed but later that night she called me and out of the blue said, “Do you have anything going on the weekend of October 18th and 19th?”
I looked at my appointment calendar/scheduler to check. *This is where Phoenix would always pipe in and his comment would have been, “He doesn’t own one of those…” and rolled his eyes. Needless to say I wasn’t doing anything on that weekend or any weekend for that matter.

She said she wanted us to go on an overnight trip together to any place I chose. It needed to be a non-stop flight out of Reno which severely limited our options. There had been a calling to me all along the past 20 years and I knew where I wanted to go more than anywhere in the United States for this reintroduction trip. I had been there first in 1984, then again six years after that and a few more times when I was married. I chose the city I had always been head over heels in love with.


I would keep this trip a secret until I was getting on the plane that Saturday morning and posted this picture on my personal Facebook page.Reno Tahoe International Airport

I immediately peppered three of my very close friends – Suzanne, Merry and Hendrix – with a barrage of travel questions, though they too were unaware of my pending journey. With their guidance, the ol’ Internet and navigating my way through Expedia for the first time – I had booked two roundtrip tickets on Alaska Airlines and two rooms for one night at the Grand Hyatt Seattle. Now that may seem lame as an accomplishment to many of you but for not having done so in nearly 20 years and facing an immense fear it was a herculean task in this man’s mind and soul.

I quickly got myself up to speed with the TSA approved list of carry on items. The most important item that I cared about making it to Seattle with me other than my wallet? My camera. The Thursday night before the Saturday trip I was fully ready to go.

I was also wanting to bail on it due to nerves. I paced the house telling Phoenix I needed him.

I arrived at the airport at 9:30 a.m. that Saturday morning with an entire trip itinerary printed out. I mean everything I had planned from the flight, the car rental, the hotel to dinner reservations. Yes, I even printed out the restaurant menu. I had printed duplicate copies and put one set into a manila envelope for my aunt. If there was to be a graduate of Being Anal 101 on this trip – I was going to be valedictorian this weekend.

The entire first floor was a ghost town. Was that normal these days with all of the new technology?Reno Tahoe International Airport

We went around another corner and got in line for the TSA screening and she informed that she would walk through “my” line instead of her TSA pre-approved line. That’s right Auntie B, come on over here with us common folks in the bread line.

Then I saw the long line.

The machines. The TSA and DHS agents. People hurriedly unpacking, undressing and tossing plastic buckets every which direction.

I approached the man (seated in the picture below on the far left) and handed him my driver’s license and watched him inspect it carefully. I was expecting him to continue to look at it while at the same time knifing me verbally in a Russian accent with, “Your papers are not in order.” Alas, he did not.Reno Tahoe International Airport

These were life situations I had Phoenix along to help ease that anxiety.

My aunt said, “Just watch what everyone else does and make sure you have your shoes and everything off of your person except your clothes honey.” I did so and it was my turn to step into the transporter as the large Klingon (a reference to how imposing he was, not his appearance) with a DHS badge waved me forward with a deep, unnerving voice. (look in the picture above and you can see half of his left side the blue shirt just past the scanners)

I was scanned and immediately the same large man said aloud (so that the other 100 people heard), “WHAT’S IN YOUR BACK POCKET?!”

That’s it. I was doomed. I was about to be handcuffed and taken to a dark room and interrogated. I was going to do hard time.

Hey I’ve seen the Showtime series, Homeland!

I looked at the x-ray and said out loud, “Shit. That’s my wallet. Sorry, sir. This is my first…”
“Step over here to the side, ” pointing as he growled, cutting me off.
Next I heard a very soothing voice of a soft-spoken female. It was Joan Clever from Leave It To Beaver the DHS agent! *ahem*
“Just step over here for a second hun,” she said kindly. “I’m going to swipe your hands and then you will be on your way.”
I said, “Sorry about that, this is my first time ever through TSA.”
She replied back, “Oh don’t you worry people do that all of the time. And don’t worry about him (the Klingon), his bark is worse than his bite.”

Now we were able to go up the escalators (which were in a completely different place than before) and get to the second floor where the gates were. Once we did, I breathed a sigh of relief. Ahhh, this was better as everything now looked completely familiar. I was back in my old traveling stomping grounds at the Reno-Tahoe International Airport.

Here is where one of a couple of life moments came full circle. The first being that we had to walk out onto the tarmac and up some stairs to get into the plane. And this time instead of flying for the first time to visit my Aunt Betty as a 6 year old, I was getting on a plane for the first time ever with her! All very reminiscent of some 44 years ago.

We boarded the Alaskan Airlines Bombardier 400 and I knew this make of aircraft and that they were very loud. We settled into our seats and right then a smokin’ hot flight attendant started down the aisle from the front. Time went into slow motion and I could hear Gary Wright’s “Dream Weaver” playing as I fawned over her.
My aunt elbowed me in the ribs and said, “Oh honey, you should talk to her!”
Oy vey…here we go…I was thinking to myself.

Then my aunt handed me a section of her current USA today with a reposted story from July of this year…how ironic was that!USA Today

Beverages. Hmm…tempting, and even more so after I saw two other flight attendants with “Trainee” on their name tags.  My aunt saw the same thing and burst out laughing at me. She whispered in my ear, “Just your luck, sweetie!” PerfectAlaska Airlines

Then I stared at the tire…which looked like it needed more air in it. I knew it didn’t but I couldn’t be outside the plane giving it the pre-flight check either. What’s weird is at this moment I wasn’t that nervous. I just did not want to talk.Alaska Airlines

The plane fired up and were pushed away from the gate to begin taxiing to the runway. This is where I wanted my aunt to do my one big favor. Not say a single word. I wanted this entire moment to myself to achieve as much of a Zen like state of anxiety as I could get. Yes, I know that’s an oxymoron…it’s intentional!

We turned onto the runway and the pilots gave a full power up to the twin turbo prop Pratt & Whitney motors. I heard the turbines kick in and felt a rush of emotion as my eyes filled with tears. Not of fear. Just of the moment.

Then my aunt hollers over the roar of the motors (those are not quiet planes), “Too late to turn back now!!!!!” Funny lady she is, as the couple seated in front us both giggled also.  Jerks.

My face was glued against the window and a couple of tears started to trickle down my face. Then the same familiar saying flashed into my head ever since I learned it from street racing in high school. I continued to stay glued out the window as I said to the pilots under my breath, “Drop the hammer boys…”  It means to put the pedal to the metal and give the engine(s) full throttle.

I felt that rush of being pushed back into my seat and realized my hands were not white-knuckling any stationary object but rather calmly in my lap. The plane leapt like eagle into the sky with the Bombardier’s high take off angle. Then another abrupt interruption to my Utopia.

My aunt hollering, “So, what is it you are afraid of with flying??!!”
I must have given her the look of Damien from The Omen and said curtly, motioning with my right hand, “Where the plane goes like this (down) and crashes and we all die.”
She giggled again, “Ohhhhh, got it.”

We continued our ascent to the south up and away from Reno then began circling back around to head North.

We were five minutes into the air and that huge grin from that 6-year-old boy beamed across my face again. It was a huge life moment and realizations engulfing my heart and soul. I wasn’t the flying that I had feared, it was the dynamic of going through the new technology world, the TSA and getting onto the plane that had caused all of the worry. I finally knew once and for all at that moment that I would have never left Phoenix.Reno, Nevada

I live right down there (pic below)!! No, up and over to the right a bit off of center frame. Yep, right there…you got it.Reno, Nevada

There was the usual wet, western State of Washington weather up ahead. I wish proprellers didn’t stop at 20,000 feet…Alaska Airlines

We made our turn for final approach and began the rapid descent. The windows immediately became doused in rain streaks. The clouds started parting and I could begin to see parts of downtown glancing by. Then Interstate 5 underneath us to the leftr with Boeing Field next and I knew we were seconds away from landing.

The Captain put this bird on the runway like a swan landing gracefully on a pond. My eyes were a big as tennis balls looking out the window at the trees on the other side of the Sea-Tac International Airport. I had made my first flight after 20 years. My eyes were welled up with happiness.

I was in Seattle.

Seattle Tacoma International Airport

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Mike Vogler

I have been told (many times) that I really need to write a book about my life. The past 40+ years have been an exciting ride, and these days I find myself with a great many passions. However, I feel that this website is a much more personal way with which to share my musings, stories, commentary, and (of course) my greatest love... my Golden Retriever, Phoenix.

  86 Responses to “Getting On An Airplane For The First Time In 20 Years”

  1. <>> Very evocative image. 😉

    We fly so often, it’s hard to stop and think how difficult it must be for someone who hasn’t flown since 9-11—a completely different experience for so many reasons. I’m glad you ran into a nice TSA agent (not an oxymoron) at the same time you had to deal with the Klingon. Interesting that your first flight was in a turbo-prop. Flying out of Philly, that happens very rarely unless one is flying to Podunk Airport somewhere. Our last turboprop was flying from Chiang Mai, Thailand to Luang Prabang, Laos—scary for so many reasons even though, at the time, I was blissfully unaware that one had crashed into the Mekong River on approach the month before with no survivors.

    Anyway, I’m glad you’re back in the flying saddle. Unfortunately, there are no non-stops from Reno to Philly. The good news is that at most airports, if you are just changing planes, you don’t have to go through security again.

    Interesting that you weren’t arrested for taking a photo of the TSA security line set up. At PHL, there’s a big sign proscribing that along with trying to bring weapons, explosives and toxins through the line.

    I love your aunt!

    • Oh yes, I love her too, Suzanne! Luckily, as I mentioned, I’m glad it wasn’t the actual flying I wasn’t afraid of but the process to get there and leaving Phoenix. Good self-diagnosis was made on that ascent on Saturday. The turbo props don’t both me either…they are just annoyingly loud. I so wish darn Reno had more non-stop flights…including to Philly! 🙂

  2. Hi Mike,

    This is an excellent description…interspersed with so many emotions, I could feel that excitement, I could hear that lament, those feelings which are well concealed now! Those security blues, the intimidating officers and attendants really can scare with just their looks and body language!

    I hope this much awaited trip with your aunt has helped you emerge out of that cocoon, I hope all those emotions have flown out…I know your aunt could understand the need of this cathartic and therapeutic trip. She is more than a mother to you! May God bless her! We all need such a person in our life.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • You are so right about the body language of the security people, there will be more on the tail end of this Seattle thread of posts about that! I am truly and deeply blessed to have my aunt and she has indeed been more than a mother to me on so many levels, Balroop 🙂

  3. I am so glad you bought headphones, Bombardier 400s are so loud! That flight to Seattle can be gorgeous – on your way home look for Ranier, Hood, and St. Helens if you can – they are extraordinary from the air. I wish you safe and pleasant travels!

    • Thank you! The trip was in October and it was fantastic and you will see some references to comment a few posts down the road, Elizabeth! 🙂

  4. I totally get why this was such a big deal, kudos to you for tackling your fears!!! I used to be terrified to fly in my twenties, but then something just clicked and I started to be fascinated with it. I still get a little travel anxiety, but NOTHING like I used to.

    So happy you got to take that trip with your aunt. How special, and I’m super jealous of your destination! Always wanted to see Seattle. Someday…..

    • I appreciate that very much, Beth! It’s interesting those fears that we have and wind up limited out enjoyment as I have shown to be an example of. I hope you make it to Seattle as you will love it! 🙂

  5. Awesome story as always Mike, told with your particular brand of self-awareness and humour. Sorry for the Canadian spelling. Sorry for apologizing, it’s what Canadians do. Sorry. 🙂

    We love to travel and as much as the “process” these days is frustrating and intimidating, particularly with international flights, the ends justify the means. We do often fly out of Detroit, which means crossing the border on the ground so that at least by the time we get to the airport, we are “domestic” passengers within the USA. That takes a bit of the sting out, but not much.

    Can’t wait to hear what happens when you are sleepless in Seattle…..

    • Wait, WHAT?!?! International travel is more stressful, Mike?? That’s it…I’m out. Kidding! 🙂

  6. Good for you, Mike. You overcame a deep fear. I bet that was so empowering! I like that you were so in touch with your emotion at take off. Aunt B sounds like fun and I hope we get to hear more about what you 2 did in Seattle. It’s such a pretty city. I love your saying a ‘zen state of anxiety’. I’m going to borrow that if you don’t mind.

    • Ha, that is funny…borrow away, Lisa! It was very empowering and there is much more to come. Thank you also 🙂

  7. What a dramatic account. I can’t wait for your description of your stay in Seattle:)

  8. I know this feeling!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I wanna see your selfie on the plane!!

    • That’s ironic, Agness, as I did a total forehead slap when I got home on forgetting to take a selfie on the plane! Argh! 🙂

  9. You did good! I fly all too often! I try not to think of all the things that could go wrong when I’m only 36,000 feet above ground….I also love Seattle! Too much fun. I’m glad you did it.

    • I appreciate that so much, Corinne, and I was proud of myself as well! I’m so glad you’ve been to Seattle and know what a beautiful city it is! And fun too 🙂

  10. Congratulations on facing a big, MAJOR fear! I consider this fear a lot more rational than say, tiny spiders or something, but everyone has something. I used to have a morbid fear of speaking in front of people, not even big groups, just more than a couple people. I don’t know about you but it’s one of the greatest feelings of my life to FACE a fear. And kick it’s butt!
    I’ve heard great things about Seattle, my husband insists we put it on our “One Day” travel bucket list. It sounds and looks fantastic!

    • Oh most definitely put Seattle way up on your to-see list, Joy! Just try and get there when it’s not during the rainy season. As you will see in coming posts we really lucked out on our trip. Yes, public speaking is a huge fear for many people…luckily that is one fear I do not have. It is empowering to face a fear. As far as spiders…that is one that will always stick with me 🙂

  11. “My aunt hollering, “So, what is it you are afraid of with flying??!!”
    I must have given her the look of Damien from The Omen and said curtly, motioning with my right hand, “Where the plane goes like this (down) and crashes and we all die.”
    She giggled again, “Ohhhhh, got it.””

    I can just see this! 🙂 Your aunt sounds like one cool lady!

    • She is the coolest lady I’ve met, Patti, and you most definitely would like her. She’s one of those “everyone likes” kinda ladies! 🙂

  12. You did it!
    I’m not good on planes, and I have a flight next month I’m a bit nervous about. I feel like I’m missing something too. It’s not like Phoenix but it’s something that has kept me safe for 34 years. I don’t know how to find it again.
    This is very healing for me.

    • I’m so glad you found this healing and thank you, Tamara! I hope you can find that missing “thing” for you and I’m sure curious. I hope your day is awesome 🙂

  13. I’m SO SO happy for you, dear friend! You did it! YOU TOTALLY DID IT! I don’t usually have travel anxiety unless I’m flying without my son… it’s one of those things where I feel like us being together makes us both safer or something weird like that…or knowing that if we go down, we’re together. Weird and dumb I know but well…
    Dude, your aunt is awesome and YOU DID IT!

    • THANK YOU, Kristi!! I loved how you shared about you and Tucker being together should something go awry. I know EXACTLY what you are talking about and that feeling 🙂

  14. Mike,
    you are utterly adorable.
    Btw, I fly, but dooooooo nooooot like it.
    I drive Mr. Liverpool insane w/ my questions, such as “What happens if the plane runs out of gas? How the hell is this Jumbo Jet staying up? How will a parachute work if we are flying over the Atlantic?”

    xxxx KISS

    • Ha, ha…that was very funny with your questions to Mr Liverpool, Kim! I can picture him putting his arm around you and being very reassuring 🙂

  15. What an emotional story! I’m really so glad you did it though 🙂 Cannot wait to hear more about what you got up to in Seattle, and hope this is the first flight of many more to come now you’ve over your fear!

    • I hope it’s the sign of many more to come for me too, Catherine! Now, to go again somewhere and thank you! 🙂

  16. The first time we flew after 9/11 was a bit nerve wracking. And we fly all the time. This year I had a bit of a panic attack when I thought my husband had booked a business trip flying out on 9/11 and I asked him what he was thinking (not in a nice quiet voice). He just laughed at me and said he booked his flight on 9/10, returning 9/12. Glad you did it…I am sure there are many more trips in your future now. 🙂

    • Oh ya, I would be unnerved if a loved one was flying on 9-11 in any year too, Michelle! Thank you for your support and most definitely hoping for more trips 🙂

  17. What a story Mike. So glad you are back in the saddle. I bet Phoenix would be proud of you! I love that feeling of power – of being pushed back in your seat – as the plane tears down the runway and the weightless feeling of take-off. I am forever amazed when pilots can land a huge airplane like it is a snowflake – I always worry that the plane won’t stop before the end of the runway lol.

    • You and I would make great flying partners with our mutual love of the power and feeling that planes provide, Jan! Thank you and oh yes pilots have always amazed me to no end.

  18. Gripping story, Mike. Does this mean you’ll fly out more often? That aunt of yours is a sweetie! Hugs!

  19. You did it!!!! Congratulations! Onwards and upwards!!! Spain next??? 🙂

    • Ha, after reading about your awesome home and the wonderful eats you guys have. You are right, Kemkem, I should head to Italy! 🙂 And Thank you! 🙂

  20. I’m glad you had a good flight Mike! My husband has developed a slight fear of flying. Not sure why but he now refuses to fly. He would much rather drive and I would prefer he fly to business trips. It’s a mini fight we have. I feel flying is safer than driving and if I’m not going to be there I rather him fly. Ugh.

    • I completely understand the latter part of your comment with regard to flying vs driving, Krystle. Flying is still statistically astronomically safer than driving. It’s that hitch of fear we get in our gettiup that skews are perspective. I hope he can overcome that soon! 🙂

  21. Great story! Welcome to the flying age! You did good.

  22. Well done for getting through, fears like that aren’t easy to face or overcome you did good! 🙂

  23. Mike, what a brilliant depiction of your journey, I have literally felt like I was part of the journey.

    Kudos for tackling your fears, next is probably traveling all over the world …. and great selfie too 🙂

    • Ha, thank you for the compliment on my selfie, Rachael! I’m glad you liked the post and that would be wonderful to really “take off” with traveling 🙂

  24. Hi Mike,
    Awesome post which contain very useful information about getting on an airplane for the first time in 20 years. Very interesting and informative article. I liked it.
    Thanks for sharing views. Have a great week ahead.

  25. Yes, we were all very shocked to see that you had decided to take a trip to Seattle! But the whole time I was happy for you and thinking.. Good for him!

    My favorite part of this story is where Phoenix would have piped in, lol. I can see even see the look on his face! :0)

    Cant wait for the rest of the story and the pics of what you did!

    • I so appreciate your support always, Tony, and yes that was a big moment when I put that post out on Facebook. Ya, you know that’s what my kid would have been saying 🙂

  26. Did my first comment get lost? My internet has been acting funny…

    Anyway, yay, Mike! I’m so proud of you for overcoming your fear and just going for it! I bet you feel so liberated now. I love your story telling.

    • I don’t think your first comment got lost, or did it? Ha, computers, the Internet and I haven’t been getting along recently now that you mention that. I’m glad you liked the story and I so appreciate your encouragement and support, Melissa! 🙂

  27. What a wonderful ending! So many people share the same fear that you described so well. Hope this will be the first of many to come taking you wonderful places.

    • Thank you, Irene, and I’m with you in that I hope it’s the new beginning of a wonderful new travel chapter for me 🙂

  28. What a beautiful story Mike, I’m so happy you started flying again. I loved reading about your experience and see everything again with fresh eyes (sometimes you are getting so used to something that you do not notice all these things anymore). I’m looking forward to read more about your trip and of course to hear about your future travel plans.

    • Aw, thank you Freya this is so nice of you! I loved what you said about seeing things through fresh eyes that had stopped seeing. Very, very true! I hope you are doing great 🙂

  29. How awesome! So glad you conquered your fears and did it. Sometimes I wonder if ignorance is bliss…if I knew all of the in and outs of flying, would I be more afraid? It doesn’t bother me, but I try not to think about it too much either. And Seattle…I’d like to visit someday.

    • Hey, that’s an awesome point on whether or not ignorance is bliss in the air travel arena, Dana! That would make for a good post! You will love Seattle if you can get there 🙂

  30. Hey, you did well after so long without flying, but I can still feel the tenseness as you told the story. Each time will get easier and easier, and oh! the places you’ll go!!! Keep at it!

    • Your spidey senses are very, very astute and accurate as is so often the case with you, my friend! There was a tenseness when I wrote that and it wasn’t even related to the post at the time. Yet, there IS also a trepidation still lingering in the process, Colleen 🙂

  31. What a great story! Very well written too! 🙂 It’s great that you overcame your fear! Also you must’ve had fun in Seattle! 😛 I’ve never been but it’s one of my top US wish list destinations!

    • How kind of you, Michelle, and thank you! I can’t wait to hear what you think of Seattle when you get there. And I know you will eventually 🙂

  32. Oh just plain awesomeness. That is what this entire post is – so awesome it is bookmarked and a keeper – both parts. You have magic hands on the keyboard, painting pictures with words and sucking one into a story and having them see, hear and feel what you are. This was one spectacular story and… you have helped me overcome my own dread of dealing with TSA and flying. It’s not so scary now that I’ve experienced it with you… and I don”t keep a wallet in my back pocket (snicker)!!

    • Wowee, what an awesome post and thank you, Nan! Huge smiles on my face as you always are a huge confidence booster to my writing, my friend! I hope all is well with you and that we get our crossed-up email problem fixed soon 🙂

  33. I am so happy for you… You did it!!!

  34. Haha, you totally had me rolling at the part:

    *This is where Phoenix would always pipe in and his comment would have been, “He doesn’t own one of those…”

    Lol, I can actually visualize him saying that, too!!! Although I have to say, for someone who doesn’t own a planner you are probably the most organized traveler I’ve ever seen! Even printing out the restaurant menu…MASSIVE points there, my friend!!! It sounds like this just may be the start to having been bit by the travel bug…I sense NYC in your future:-)

    • Ha, ha…I so miss my kid, Jessica! As far as organization – have you been talking to my aunt? lol. She said/says the same thing but I sure don’t see me that way. Thank you for the awesome compliment! 🙂 Ironic you should mention NYC as I’ve been thinking about that too 🙂

  35. Seattle. Such a great city to choose to fly to. I love Seattle too although I haven’t been in several years. So glad you overcame your fear, Mike. It really is true that your fears disappear when you just DO whatever it is you’re fearing. Proud of you!

    • Yes, I’ve been in love with Seattle since 1984 and this was my sixth time there or so! Thank you so much always for your encouragement and support, Dana! 🙂

  36. This must have been a monumental journey for you! I have flown many times, but the security checks still scare me. Must blame it on those crime shows! But it was brave of you to overcome your fear, and what an exhilarating feeling it must have been to let go of it.

    • Thank you, Tarana! I was glad to figure out for myself that it was the TSA/security checks more than that flying that had been bothering me. And Phoenix. LOL…to the crime shows…good point! 🙂

  37. Mike, I am catching up with posts and so glad you are flying again. It is hard to imagine all these changes from awhile ago. Way to go, Mike and I admire you greatly for going out there and conquering your fear especially after a difficult few months. I hope this is the beginning of many many more travels for you with or without your aunt. Aren’t there many nonstop flights from Reno to SoCal? 🙂

    • Thank you so much for the awesome comment and encouragement, Mary! Ironically, Southern California has been on my list of “little trips” to continue to get me acclimated. And yes, despite how many non-stop flights out of the Reno that do NOT exist. There are numerous ones to Los Angeles if I remember correctly 🙂

  38. An awesome start to an adventure!

  39. Mike, I’m glad you took your Aunt’ for it and flew again. I hope this is just the beginning of many more travels to come. I’m sure Phoenix would have been proud that you have conquered your fear. Unfortuntaly, there are no non-stop from REno to NYC. But hey, connecting isn’t too bad at all.

    • Ironically, NYC is my #1 U.S. bucket list destination and of course I have some special friends to meet when I get there right, Marisol? 🙂 I’m thinking that is at least a week long trip.

  40. What a terrific story teller you are Mike! What a yarn you can weave! It’s great that you have taken flight once again. I hope Seattle lived up to its reputation. Cheers from Australia.

    • Hi Wanda, it was a great experience and I’m so glad I did it! The story moved on in further posts and it more than lived up beyond my wildest dreams in this return trip. Great to hear from you and many cheers back to you! 🙂

  41. I’m so glad that everything went well for you. Phoenix would be proud, and I hope this reopens a world of travel for you.

    I always get a bit nervous going through security, too, especially with the kids. They once pulled the baby (at the time) and I over and had to run the wand over us, It was weird holding my baby out at arms length so they could check him. Another time, when we were really, truly in Russia, they swabbed our hands and put the swab into the machine. It lit up red! I can’t read Russian, but I figure that wasn’t good. Luckily, it was fine when they swabbed us a second time. No gulag for us. My husband recently got approved for the TSA pre-approved line. He’ll get to quickly go through while the rest of us wait with the commoners.

    P.S. A belated Merry Christmas to you.

    • I deeply apologize that I didn’t catch this comment before, Michele! Thank you for your Christmas wishes and I hope you and the family had a terrific one as well. Wow on the TSA experience in Russia!! That gave me a pucker factor just reading about it! Those pre-approved lines are nice so good for your husband. I hope all is well with you guys! 🙂

  42. I am so out of touch with your blog and I feel so badly. But what a wonderful treat to hear that you got on a plane. Hurrah Mike. That is huge. I forget how disconcerting it can be in the post 911 world to go through security, check-in and all the things we have learned to endure.

    I am very happy your aunt got you moving and after I’ve finished today’s blog post I’ll be back to catch up on your life.
    And I hope like hell you have a really marvelous 2015. Like outstandingly great!!! And I so mean it.

    • What an awesome comment and that means so much to me, Leigh! Yes, I still have some hiccups about traveling today that I never, ever had before. I definitely hope to get past them so I can travel overseas someday. I hope your 2015 is incredibly wonderful as well, my friend! 🙂

  43. Well, I’m reading this post after having read almost all the others about your trip to Seattle Mike. I’m just glad you had such a great trip and that you had the opportunity to share these precious moments with your dear aunty.

    • It was an amazing trip and I’m sooooo THRILLED you are back and had time to go through all of these, Rita! 🙂

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