It’s always fun to pack and get ready to go and the excitement really ramps up when it’s finally time to leave for the airport. But I think the moment I really know I’ve made it and not having some strange dream is when I finally get off the plane in a foreign country. It’s a very disorienting feeling. I’ve just been on an airplane for anywhere from 8-14 hours (and actually traveling for much longer) and I feel like I’ve been run over by a bus. I actually hate flying. Not because it’s scary or anything, but because I hate being shut up in that small space. I tolerate it because it’s the easiest and fastest way to get to the places I want to go. But I digress. The first things I notice when arriving in a foreign country are the smells, climate, and strange languages all around me. It’s noticeably different from home, even in an airport. When I finally leave the airport, the feeling is amplified.
I remember arriving in Hong Kong. We had just taken a train into the city from the airport and walked up the stairs to the street level from the subway. The hot, humid air hit me and then I took a breath. Hong Kong has such a different smell and I will never forget it. It’s almost a mixture of old concrete buildings and cooking oil. I definitely knew I wasn’t in Kansas, er Utah, anymore. J It was the same way when I went to Spain.
It’s definitely a little overwhelming and bewildering getting into a foreign country. But I wouldn’t trade the feeling for anything!