Happy Thanksgiving, Americans! And Happy Thursday to everyone else.
It’s about that time– where we start reflecting on the year gone by, going over in our heads what we’re thankful for. Soon we’ll be thinking about our hopes for the year to come, getting our ducks in a row, our eyes will sparkle with possibility.
I love this time of year. Despite the sometimes-hectic nature of the holidays—shopping, fitting in plans, traffic—this block of time also comes with a sort of permission slip to relax. Phone it in at work a little. Wrap up the most important projects, and set the others aside to deal with next year. Take a night off from the gym to eat hot soup and watch Netflix. Make plans with friends, make plans with your couch. Wear sweaters and sweatpants, cuddle a pet.
It’s not all fun and reindeer games, there are the everyday problems that don’t take a break—the bills and work, relationship issues, random tragedies, struggles around the world too big to bear. And don’t forget the sicknesses—the colds, and flus, and COVID, and other illnesses that will force the slowing down that I talked about above. But still, there is something about this time that makes me feel centered within myself. The slowing down, the closing of a chapter, kind eyes turned toward the past, and the glow of opportunity, possibility ahead.
I felt like this week should be a “Gift Guide” post, but it’s not. (More on that later.) Instead, this post is a quick recap of what I’ve been up to, a re-connection with you all, and some things I’m super, super thankful for. I hope you enjoy, and I hope you are feeling as cozy, and centered as I am, as kind in your reflections, and as hopeful for the pages to come.
Just so thankful for so much.
I felt like I should be putting together a new Gift List for 2023 and gearing up (in the consumerist way) for the holidays. The thing is, my advice on what to buy travelers and flight attendants remains relatively stable. I’ve created several gift guides over the past few years of writing this blog, and most of my advice still stands. Buy them a packable coat, a Yeti tumbler, excellent Bluetooth headphones in a funky color, a packable towel. (You would be amazed how handy this comes in.) The point is, I don’t need to write a whole new gift list this year. The previous ones share most of the same tried and true products. I might come up with a little last minute gift list over the next couple weeks, but for now, if you are looking to get a jump on your shopping, then check out some of these Gift Guides for flight attendants, pilots, and travel lovers.
Also, note that the last link is specifically for gifts to give flight attendants—on the plane. These are affordable and sweet little tokens of appreciation that will 100% make you the crew’s favorite on your next flight. And in lieu of a gift, a “Thank you” and “Have a nice holiday” go such a long way.
Click the links below to shop:
I swear by my Beats Fit Pro, and they're on sale for Black Friday! Click to get them on Amazon!
Checkout Airportag.com for the the aviation geek on your list.
The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly
So, what have I been up to? I’ll tell ya.
I found out in August that someone I love is dying. It’s been a constant source of fear, angst, and grief ever since. But the stab of pain, the impending loss, comes with a silver lining—we know this time is precious. And we’re using it. There have been beautiful, shining moments of re-connection and intimacy, of love and mutual respect, of comfort, and even fun. I’m so thankful to be invited to spend this time with him, to be in the inner circle, to make some more memories.
Last week was spent lying in bed, coughing and sweating, and blowing my nose until it bled. It was unpleasant, to say the least. I had to miss four days of work, which is hard to do right before the holidays and (another) vacation. But hey, ho, money comes and it goes. The up-side to my being sick was that I had plenty of time to do some other important things—like Christmas shopping, catching up on sleep, practicing the keyboard every day, watching TV (including my first terrible Christmas movie of the season), and writing, lots of writing—more on that next!
Don't be afraid, but this is what I looked like for a week.
November is National Novel Writer’s Month. I’m currently taking part in NaNoWriMo, a challenge for National Novel Writer’s Month in which people all over the world attempt to write a novel in 30 days. “A novel”, for the sake of this challenge, is qualified as 50,000 words of fiction. That’s 1,667 words every day for the month of November. And in case you’re someone who doesn’t spend a lot of time writing—that is a LOT of writing.
I’ve participated in NaNoWriMo six times in the past, and I’ve “won”, by hitting the 50,000-word mark three of those times. It’s a great practice in writing consistently. I always say the hardest part of writing is sitting down and writing. The part where you take that awesome idea in your head and try to mold it—with all your might—into a real thing in the world, that someone could read or watch or experience someday. It can be hard to write consistently when so many other things are vying for our attention—work, family, travel, the laundry! Carving out time every single day for one month shows you just how much you can get done if you make a habit out of it.
It also helps with the other problem writer’s face: the fear of writing garbage. When you have only 30 days to write a whole ass novel, you know what you’re getting into, and it is not noteworthy literature. You are getting into the roughest of rough drafts, written furiously, feverishly, sometimes in a trance. With Nano, the pressure is off: This is not supposed to be good. It is supposed to get your big idea out of your head and onto the page, into the real world. You fix it later, adjust your tenses and fill your plot holes. Make your prose beautiful and the twists better. But for now, all you have to do is type one word, and then another, and then another, and then 47,000 more.
I’ve written about NaNoWriMo before on the blog, which you can read about here:
Thinking about whether my novel is shit.
She was not impressed.
Lately I’ve been working fun layovers, like Portland, OR and Aruba! Best of all, I’ve been working with some amazing crews, including good friends. I even brought my mom on a long layover, and we had a tropical girls’ trip that was well-deserved and so relaxing.
It’s holiday travel time, and things can be tough. Delays, broken jetbridges, people on edge before visiting their families, crowded airspace, and bad weather can all result in chaos at the airport. But even with all the annoyances (In a matter of two workdays I had a customer faint and then had to separate two grown women who were shouting at each other across the aisle.) I can say with honesty that I still really love this job. I love my co-workers, the schedule, the staying up overnight to type out this blog post, while the 200 passengers are sleeping, the flexibility, the meeting new people, and of course the layovers in fun destinations. Tomorrow I’ll be taking my first trip to Trinidad with work, and later in the month I’ll be in Aguadilla, a part of Puerto Rico I’ve never seen. Basically, this is me being grateful for work. It is not a lifestyle for everyone, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
Fun layover in Aruba
And another in Portland
Taking Quick trips to the UK
I posted recently about my quick trip to Wales, and if you’re looking for a cozy, romantic getaway, then you should go check it out right meow. In just a couple weeks I’ll be visiting again to do my version of ‘The Holiday’, with a cute and cozy trip to England. There will be cottages and Christmas markets and hot beverages galore. Be sure to check back later in the year for the recap and expect more “Quick Trips” to the UK in the coming months.
To read about our Quick Trip to Wales, click here.
Did I mention how thankful I am for my flexible schedule and flight benefits?!
2023 has been one of my most book-filled years yet. As someone who is always trying to write more, it can be a struggle to fit reading in, too. Add to that my constant pursuit of productivity, and we know where this goes. ‘Who has the time to read for pleasure!?’
Well, this year I can firmly count myself in that category. I read very few “learning books” this year, opting instead for fiction, fiction, fiction. And what a JOY it has been to unwind with a book, or several dozen. Just for the fun of it, just because it’s engaging, just because I want to. I am cherishing my reading time these days, and I hope this fresh take continues into the new year.
The Big Surprise
I have another thing I’m working on that is very exciting, but unfortunately too early on to talk about. (What an annoying thing to bring up, right?) In the very near future, early 2024, I’ll be ready to spill all the details about this big personal decision, why I made it, and how it’s going.
There's been lots of this as of late.
If you're in the market for a cozy getaway, a quick trip to Llwyngwril, Wales is where it's at.
And that about wraps it up! I have been chugging along through the fall, making the most of the season despite some difficult news and inconvenient health stuff. Even through the less than ideal, it is still a good, good life, and I have so much to be thankful for. I hope you are all enjoying your day with your families, or whoever you love, wherever you are.