>  Flight Attendant Life   >  Moving Cross Country! (& Other Life Updates)
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If there is one thing my avoidantly-attached, air-sign ass needs, it is CHANGE. And I’ve got just what the doctor ordered.

Yours truly is slated to be the next California Girl, and she couldn’t be more pleased. But that’s not the only big change in my life.

I’m using this week’s post as a life update. If you’re not into it, no hard feelings. Pop back in two weeks to find more flight attendant, travel, and personal content. (Or stick around and check out the archives now!)

So, here’s what’s going on with me.

1. Moving to San Diego


First and foremost, I’m moving to San Diego. I have been plotting this move since 2011, long before my flight attendant life started, when I lived in a little one-bedroom apartment in Beverly, MA, and was slinging drinks behind a bar. Later, when I became a flight attendant and started laying over in ‘America’s Favorite City’, I felt the urge to relocate there again. It’s a little embarrassing, to write it out like that. To have thought about doing something for so long without actually doing it. But I guess life is winding, and time is weird, and shit happens when it’s supposed to and in just the right way.



Why now?

So what makes now the right time?

Y’all, 2023 was ROUGH. If you don’t relate to that sentiment, I’m so happy for you. For me, it was the worst year of recent memory, and yes, I am comparing this to COVID years, too! I got my heart broken, in a wild and savage way. I watched family and friends endure illnesses that cracked my spirit and weighed heavy, day and night. I felt lost in my writing, music, and other creative pursuits. I felt lonely for much of the year—a feeling that always seems novel and out of place when it crops up, so starkly contrasted against my normal drive for solitude.

Beyond all else, I felt like I was in limbo. In a kind of transitional phase, not knowing where it would lead or exactly when I’d shake off the dust and my “real life” would begin again. It was disquieting. Uncomfortable. Sticky.

I decided, towards the end of 2023 that I needed change. One of the 13 New Year’s Resolutions I set this year was to live in a place I love, and to, in the nicest way possible, “get a life.” I’m crossing off the first part with my big move to San Diego, and I’ll be putting in effort to make the second part happen as well. Guys, I am so thrilled and excited.

Hiking buddy sign up sheet in the comments!

What I’m looking forward to

Not wearing a winter coat, being able to go outside without the cold piercing my face and limbs, EVERY SINGLE DAY. Hiking a lot. Going to the beach. Eating tons of tacos. Exploring a new neighborhood, getting to know my favorite coffee shops and restaurants. Meeting new friends (though my old ones will still be the best ones.) Dating? Running the trails near my new apartment, or on the waterfront, or wherever my feet take me. Being anonymous and new.



I’ll still be working out of Boston, at least for the time being, so I’ll be commuting by airplane back and forth to work. I know it sounds crazy if you’re not a flight attendant, but this is 100% industry standard. Flight attendants do this ALL the time! That’s not to say it won’t be stressful or make coming to work seem like a chore—it definitely could, but we’ll just have to wait and see. If I truly hate commuting, there are other options. For now, I’m staying the course for the base (and the people) I love!


And speaking of work…

Sun rays & beach days.


2. New Job, Who Dis?


Alright, that’s a dramatic way to put it. I’ll still have the same job title, but starting in May I’ll be qualified to work in the first-class cabin on our flights. Fancy stew in the house!

A few days after this blog is posted, I’ll be heading to our training center where, for 5 days from 9-5, I’ll learn the ins and outs of how to use an airplane oven and cappuccino machine. Then I’ll have two full days of learning how to be ‘a leader’. (These lessons will probably be about speaking politely to customers and nicely reminding my coworkers to do their job.) I’m sure there are other things I’ll learn, too, but only time will tell.

Transitioning to working first class is something I’ve been thinking about doing for a while—mostly because my airline has now started flying to Europe, and I WANT IN! This 7-day training will only qualify me to work in first class on domestic flights (in the U.S., for those of you who don’t know me!), but it paves the way to apply to work transatlantic flights. For now it will be a bit more money, more options of what I can fly, and a nice change of scenery.



Much like my big move to San Diego, this decision was prompted by a need for change and some serious boredom. I love my job, and I love the types of trips I work now. But I’ve been working the same types of trips for TEN years. So little has changed, that I’m feeling “meh” about even the funnest layovers and the most productive turns. It’s time to shake it up. And while this step, working first class on domestic flights, won’t give me an entirely new job, it will give me a fresh perspective, some new skills to learn, and the ability to work layovers at home—in San Diego.

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Can they teach this old dog new tricks? Remains to be seen.


Unfortunately it’s not all sunshine and rainbows on this side of the tarmac. The next update is a doozey, so read with care.

3. The End is near.


Someone I loved is dying. It’s weighed on me since August, when he found out, and it’s colored my life since then.

Our relationship became strained during my last visit; a side to him I didn’t expect to see, especially not in the final months of life, made unmistakably, crystal clear. A cherry of pain atop the mound of grief I’d been shouldering.

I detached with grace, to care for myself, hoping to eventually mend the relationship, to one day foster a friendship.

The problem with terminal illness, with prognoses, is the same as the problem with due dates for babies—no one ever really knows. Sometimes there are miracles, stories of people outlasting their doctors’ dire predictions for five, ten, thirty years. Sometimes a baby is born at 28 weeks and survives. But our inability to read the future does not always a miracle make. Sometimes the predictions are rosy. Sometimes the body revolts. Sometimes the timeline gets shorter. And shorter. And shorter.

It’s heartbreaking.

There was no time to form a true friendship, but there was time to forgive. To move past. To have some conversation, to reach some understanding. We’re human, both he and I. We’re not always our best. Sometimes even our best won’t be good, or good enough.

What we’ve found, through the grace of what time was left, is acceptance. It’s a beautiful thing.

Now, I’m making one more journey across the pond. I’m going to say goodbye. I wish I didn’t have to; that it was all a misunderstanding, a too-short prediction, a faulty test, a bad, bad dream. But there’s no genie here, and it appears my wishes go unanswered. It’s all gotten very real.

A favorite memory.

And another.


This experience will leave a mark on me, and in some way that matters—we are all his legacy. Bits and bits of him, the good, the bad, the charming and bright, the sweet and kind, the infuriating, too. We all get to carry these little bits around; to laugh with one another about his poor spelling. To lean on one another when The 1975, or Noah Kahn, or James Morrisson, or Caamp come through our speakers to sock us in the gut. To look at a backpack—or a photo—and remember how simple it all was. To finger a golden shell on a frail chain around my neck and remember the rain in Santiago.

His short life has been extraordinary by all accounts, stacked with adventure and love. Besides the great injustice of a life ending too soon, he’s been so incredibly lucky. It’s hard to think of what he could have done and who he could have become, if given the proper chance and six more decades. A wiser, better man, perhaps. The loss of his potential, alone, is something worth grieving.

I wrote a line in a song, in the throws of fresh grief, that says “Some lights are just too bright to stay lit for long.

We humans have a way of bending and searching. We yearn for reasons, for neat, folded edges, for silver linings, and to be held in comforting quips. To have something to nod our heads to, while we sniffle and wipe our eyes. “Yes, quite right. Simply too bright.”

But the closer you get, the harder it is to hear. Death is a thief; ‘fairness’ a fiction, invented by humans—the most wishful of thoughts.

Our story, too, has changed. A tale of wild romance, of careless, bursting beauty became something dark. But our story hasn’t ended yet. It is a living, breathing, beating thing, and today is one more page. We made it to forgiveness. We made it to acceptance. And all the old chapters of love are still there, if I ever care to take a look. Chances are, I might.

The end is near. So, I’m going to say goodbye.

There are no other major updates I can think of, at least none that can follow up the last bit, so I’m going to leave it at that. Please send your love and good vibes as I embark on this difficult journey to saying goodbye. If you’re the praying type, please send one for my (almost) friend.

I’ll also be accepting recommendations for restaurants, bars, running clubs, language clubs, writers’ groups, hikes, or amazing people you’d like to set me up with in San Diego.

Thank you for sticking around to read my phrenetic, emotionally all-over-the-place post. This is life, in a nutshell. It’s hard and good, ugly and gorgeous, and writing about it helps me get through.

I hope you have a week more gorgeous than not, more good than hard.

All of my love,

Toni plane logo


  • Jim Hope

    March 21, 2024

    So sorry for your upcoming experiences in GB. So hard. However, you are about to move to the best place in the US to liive. No place finer!
    Be strong and carry on!


  • Stephen O'Brien

    March 21, 2024

    …Toni, my heart goes out to you. I once had a partner who was one of those lights that are “just too bright to stay lit for long.” Those of us in the airline business are always aware of how fleeting our relationships can be, but when death claims a loved one at an absurdly young age, it can rock your very essence and perception of life. Ten years later, there is never a day that I don’t think of her. But her memory is not one of sadness, if only because of the joy we spent in the brief decade we were together. And her passing sparked a fire for me to make a change that had been smouldering in me for years. After a half century of chasing my career around the country, I needed to go home. But where was home? San Francisco, my birthplace? The PacNW, where I raised a family? Rhode Island, where I really stretched my post-divorce wings and discovered that I was pretty damn good at the most challenging airline job that I would ever enjoy? The Carolinas, where I met, and lost, my airline co-worker friend? I was overdue for retirement, and it seemed as if too many things were coming together at once. A new grandchild in Coronado, CA solved the riddle, and so I moved West, where I’ve always felt I belonged. A compromise for affordable retirement housing landed me in LAS, a place I would never have thought I’d be living, but I’m loving it. My extended family home is now SoCal, always close, and I’ve a new affinity for SAN for its beauty and culture, even with its SoCal curse of never-ending rush hour traffic. Thanks to a wonderful webcam page, I start my day with the sunrise over San Diego Bay, and watch the ships come and go just like I did in SF when I was a kid. Between LAS and SAN, there is always something to do, always something new. And the food! You’ve chosen well, Toni. Live A Great Story!

  • March 22, 2024

    I love your avoidantly-attached, air-sign ass forever!! beautiful post!! The state of stuck is dissipating all as a result of your willingness to move through challenging feelings. When life gets lifey, you never let it stop you from reaching your dreams. The by products of your perseverance will be wondrous! P.S I’m coming to San Diego

  • Meagaan Irish

    March 25, 2024



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