When I was a child I had this idea that when I grew up I’d go to Hawaii and live in paradise. Not sure where I got that fantasy from, but I was far from it.
In college I’d taken a motion graphics class, and loved it. I took it pretty seriously, not knowing that soon after the semester was over, I’d be invited to the Cannes Film Festival in France. That was the first time I’d ever had an opportunity to travel abroad, as well as the first time I’d ever heard of Cannes. I’d done well in this class for the love/fun of it, not thinking that I’d be rewarded in any way besides a well deserved “A”, and yet I’d gotten so much more. I couldn’t believe it, I immediately googled the destination, and proceeded to figure out how I’d actually get there. Anyway, I was able to negotiate in exchange for room and board, I’d work an insane amount of extra hours at the non-profit I’d interned with at the time.
The time had finally come, and I was on my way to the airport. I listened to the radio the whole time, because it was during the time of the Iceland volcanos, I wanted to be sure that my flight would not be affected. So far, things were good. I get to the airport in Oakland, and all the technology was down. My flight was from Tacoma, Seattle, to New York, and then to Nice, France, from there I’d get in a car, and be strolling through the south of France. Boy O’boy did that not go at all according to plan.
I walk up to the gate, hand my ticket to the guy at the door who had to sign each ticket by hand, since all the scanners were down (I have my signed ticket to this day). He signs it, I board, and then went straight to sleep. By the time I woke up we were still flying over water, which worried me because I knew Seattle wasn’t that far. I tapped the woman sitting next to me, and asked her why we were flying for so long if we were only going to Seattle–she laughed hysterically. That worried me for real. She continued to say “we are not going to Seattle young lady, we are on our way to Kona, Hawaii”. My heart dropped into my stomach. I frantically told her that I didn’t belong on the flight, and that I was actually supposed to be going to Tacoma, so that I can make my way to France. She could not stop laughing. She called the flight attendant over and started to say, “this girl’s a stowaway”. The flight attendant asked for my ticket, and confirmed, that yes, I was indeed a stowaway. In my head I thought, how the fuck could this happen, and before I could respond, the attendant yelled “FREE DRINKS FOR EVERYONE, THIS GIRL’S A STOWAWAY”. I thought to myself, the fucking nerve. How dare y’all party on behalf of my demise. Here I am on my way to a life altering experience, and I’m on a plane going the complete opposite direction. The attendant pretended to try and fix it, by saying things like, “we can re-route you after we land”, and that they would get me to where I was supposed to go. That did not happen. We landed in Kona, and I was pissed, like on fire. I’d always wanted to go to Hawaii, I mean it was my paradise growing up, and at this moment I hated it, if I never saw Hawaii again that would still be too soon. They passed out lei’s upon exiting the airplane, I threw it on the grown and stomped on it, I was so mad, I’d cried the whole time. I couldn’t be further from where I wanted to be.
In their failed attempts to get my flight back on track, after 5-hours I made it back to Seattle, only to spend a night there, until my flight to Utah, by the time I made it to Utah, my flight to Philadelphia had already departed before my plane even landed. As if I wasn’t already pissed, now this. I had had it. I was done. My first thought was take me back to Oakland or else. So, I walked to the ticket desk and demanded that they give me a free flight back to Oakland, because at that point I was already traveling the U.S. for 3-days, and I’d already missed almost half of my time in France. The woman took one look at me, and heard the anger in my voice, so she gave me a free flight back to Oakland.
The whole experience made me realize that it just wasn’t my time to go. All of my funds were held for the following year, and I made it to Cannes, twice actually. And both subsequent times went smoothly. The experience was amazing and I got to meet some pretty incredible people, definitely life changing. Its been almost 9-years since this happened, and I have yet to go to Hawaii (LOL). I was genuinely pissed and did not want to see Hawaii for a long time. Now, I think I’m ready to give Hawaii a try.