Confessions of a Flight Attendant. Chapter 1: Spontaneity

Spontaneous. One word I used to describe myself during an interview to work as a flight attendant. Little did I know “spontaneous” would come to describe not only my personality, but my job, my whereabouts, my fitness and diet, as well as my sleep. Life would become the exact opposite of consistent. The only consistency in the past 2 years has been my three piece flight attendant uniform that I typically wear 4 days a week, airport security, and my matching luggage that goes everywhere I go.

The past two years have offered three important life lessons. First, things won’t go as planned, so expect nothing less. Second, what to pack in that luggage and what to leave behind. Third, follow your intrigue, it can lead you to some amazing places. Let the word spontaneous define what you do, and how you live. Let me take you on a journey that embraces every aspect of these life lessons.

First, I’ve learned to expect that things won’t go as planned; in fact, some of the greatest adventures have come from plans gone terribly wrong. One such adventure came from a planned girls getaway to London and Paris, but hurricane Irene had other plans, I ended up on a plane bound for Frankfurt, Germany to meet a friend from College. Having no forethoughts or ambitions for this spontaneous trip to Germany, we made our way around the country on impulse and a low budget, taking recommendations from tourists and locals. We inquired with anyone speaking English about their adventures and travel tips. Although , I spent 2 weeks backpacking through the cities, countryside, mountains and castles of Germany.

Second, the baggage we carry with us it critical, I was packed for tea and biscuits with the Queen of England and dancing through the streets of Paris when I arrived in Germany, having to buy a few necessities and layers along the way. Be sure to pack a swimsuit in case you find an ocean, a sweater for a chilly night (or a plane ride), tennis shoes for that unexpected scenic hike, an umbrella because monsoons don’t care what season it is, and something nice in case you actually run into the Queen of England. Always have a few basic medications, a generic allergy medication might just be a cure all when you’re in a new climate, but impossible to find on foreign shelves. You might think you’d look goofy wheeling a roller bag around the world, but you’ll have a hell of a lot more energy and a lot less back-sweat than lugging all your stuff in a back pack, F.Y.I they do make backpacks with wheels if you’re not quite ready to break the habit.

Third, I encourage you to embrace the unexpected. If along the way you meet someone or hear of a place you didn’t know existed and become intrigued, follow your instinct, be spontaneous and explore the unknown! Sometimes it means eating at McDoanlds in Castle, or clinging to the walls of a gondola as you are whisked up the side of a mountain. Smiling through the unexpected and redirected days of this trip, it turned into an incredible adventure. It left me anxious for more time and hesitant to step on the plane when the journey brought me back to reality.

This was one of the many spontaneous and impulsive trips I’ve been lucky enough to embark on. As plans always seem to fall through, I’ve learned to make flexible plans, if I make plans at all. Besides, when you’re a tourist, and I don’t mean living in another country for a month to experience the culture, I mean a spontaneous traveling tourist on an unplanned adventure, you’re already sticking out like a blonde in Bangkok, so no sense trying to pretend like you belong; embrace the attention, along with the local customs and courtesy. I leave you with these three brief lessons. First, things will not go as planned, so expect nothing less. Second, know what to pack in that luggage and what to leave behind. Third, follow your intrigue, it will lead you to some amazing places! Let spontaneous be the word that defines you.

Courtney O'Connor

About Courtney O'Connor

Court O'Connor is a flight attendant based in San Francisco, CA, which serves as the launch pad for this small town girl's spontaneous adventures around the world. Follow along on her journeys, pick up priceless tips, and experience the adventure of life in the sky.