This year has been full of adventures and moments to remember. There have been quite some travels as well: Austria in January, Italy in March, Portugal and Switzerland in June, Germany in July and August ― and Italy once more in September. If I think about it, this year has had quite an Italian touch to it. I’ve spent plenty of time with my Italian colleague and dear friend, Romina, started to learn the language and tried out many culinary specialties from the boot-shaped country as well.
On the occasion of our trip to the Algarve coast in June, Romina pointed out the urge most passengers felt to leave the plane as fast as possible after landing: “What’s the point? We’ll all get out eventually, right? But maybe it’s a kind of challenge. Have you ever been the first one to leave a plane?” I thought about it for a moment. I actually never had. Challenge accepted. We agreed that both of us should manage to be the first one to leave a plane by our 30th birthdays. We later changed the deadline to our 35th birthdays since, with only a few weeks left, I would have been under an immense pressure to take a plane almost every day to increase my chances. And it’s good to have long term goals after all, isn’t it?
So this is how it went: On my flight back from Switzerland in June, I was seated in row 6, right behind the Business class. My chances had never been better. There were few people seated in front of me, actually. But I was stuck in the middle of the row and I didn’t have the heart to push aside the elder sir sitting next to me, just for this challenge’s sake. So I had to leave it for another time.
Two and a half weeks ago, Romina and I found ourselves seated in a plane once more. We were looking forward to a weekend trip in Treviso and the nearby beach. This time, we were in row 14 and I was sitting at the isle. We were joking around that it would be hard but possible. I was determined to give my best. As soon as the plane touched ground, the steward started giving his “welcome to Italy and thank you for flying with us” speech. The vehicle gradually stopped and went into its parking position. I pulled my hair back in order for it to be more aerodynamic. I unlocked my seat belt seconds before the sign was turned off. I grabbed my purse and my book and off I went. Romina was still talking as she saw me head towards the front door. I was not running. It was just that brisk walk you have when you know exactly where you’re going. I didn’t scream nor say a word on my way to the front. About half of the rows were a piece of cake since almost no one was standing, yet. But the closer I got to the front, the more people had gotten up to grab their suitcases from the luggage storages up above their heads. It was getting more and more crowded. However, people understood from my gaze that they should all just get out of my way and let me pass. Eventually, there was just about a handful of people blocking my way to the exit. Four gazes later I was standing right behind the steward who was preparing to open the door. I was this close and I wasn’t letting anyone leave this plane before me at this stage. The pilot got out of the cabin and gave me a friendly nod. The steward was chatting to the guy who had placed the stairs in front of the plane so the passengers could eventually get out. I was ready to climb over the steward, if necessary. My feet were itchy. I was so very close to reaching my mission at this moment. The steward finally turned around and was surprised to face me, at just a few inches from his face. He briefly screamed. Grazie, I said as I passed him and went off into the warm summer night.
I can’t describe how happy I felt in that very moment. I ran down the stairs and tears of joy were streaming down my cheeks. I couldn’t stop laughing, either. I had actually been the first one to leave a plane for the very first time in my life. I wouldn’t have thought that it would happen this fast, more than four years and eleven months before the actual deadline. I waited just next to the stairs and smiled at all the passengers leaving the plane just after me. They probably didn’t get what all the rush had been about. Well, it was about me setting my mind on something and actually making it happen. It was about me achieving a mission. It was about me feeling I can reach anything as long as I’m determined to do it.
What kind of goals and missions do YOU have in life? Feel free to share your thoughts and experiences in the comment section.