Sweating my way to Canada (pt. 3)
My friends Dennika (left) and Anya (right)—Tofino, Vancouver Island.
Today, I’ll wrap up the story and share the insights I gained from my 16-hour travel day.
Flight 2.5: Montreal to Toronto
After missing my first flight ever, I plopped down at the gate and waited for my new flight to Toronto. I had an hour and 15 minutes until it boarded, which felt like heroin.
It feels strange to write this now, but at that time I felt truly depressed. I felt it all in my face and chest. This was my deepest, darkest fear and it had actualized.
But over the course of that hour, I quickly calmed my nerves by meditating over two facts:
1) There was literally nothing else I could’ve done to avoid missing my flight.
I got unlucky. The delay. The jammed luggage door. The random COVID test.
Perhaps Usain Bolt would’ve caught up to the gate in time. But for me, there was no glaring instance of stupidity that kept me off that plane.
Shit just happens. Sometimes everything goes our way. Something it feels like the cards are stacked against us. Usually it’s something in between those two.
This stoic concept of what I can control vs. what I can’t arrived quickly to me. It’s a habit I’ve built over the years. But the second fact which took over my entire body was this.
2) My life is pretty damn good.
Let me explain.
I was sitting in that chair legitimately feeling the highest levels of anguish and heartache I’ve felt in years. After about 40 minutes of reflection, I thought, Holy shit dude. If THIS is what causes these emotions for you…that’s proof your life is amazing.
For most, what unravels these formidable feelings are things like…
• losing a loved one • feeling lost in life • having clinical depression
For me, it was adding five hours to my day and having to get on one extra plane as I headed to an unbelievably gorgeous island with unbelievably gorgeous people.
Some people really have it rough, eh?
A wave of light and gratitude swept over me. My sadness was gone. My frustration was gone. I got on my flight, joked around with the flight attendants, and headed to Toronto.
Flight 3: Toronto to Vancouver
I got an A&W burger and a rootbeer float.
I called my friend and told her about my trail of tears.
The plane boarded and we took off for a five-hour flight to Vancouver.
Flight 4: Vancouver to Vancouver Island
There was another delay and for the second time that day, I was sure I would miss my next flight.
Please no…I’m so close.
I could see the island. The last flight would be 11 minutes long.
When we finally docked, most of us jogged off the plane. Just outside the gate, there was a man yelling, “To Vancouver Island?” My ears perked up.
“Yes sir,” I exclaimed.
“Right down there to C53,” he said confidently.
I put my hand on his cheek and said, “Thank you, my Guardian Angel.”
Well, I wanted to do that but I didn’t want to miss my flight. I followed his directions and speed-walked to C53.
I made it to the gate to find a young couple showing their boarding passes also out of breath. It was the last gate open in the entire airport. The plane was waiting for us because they knew several passengers were coming from my Toronto flight.
I walked directly up the steps to the tiny plane, sat in my seat, and texted my friend:
“It’s done. I’m on the last plane. Justin Trudeau can’t kill me. He forgot I bleed red white and blue.”
The flight took exactly 11 minutes. It was the most turbulence I’ve ever experienced on a plane. And I couldn’t have cared less.
We landed, I thanked the flight attendants profusely for waiting for us, and I walked out.
“Dillan,” I heard.
My friend was waiting outside the terminal for me. I dropped my luggage and melted into her arms.
This was my first time meeting her in real life. She was smaller than I pictured and smelled just as good as I had imagined.
I made it. My vacation could begin.