I recently received the news from a good friend of mine that her husband passed away unexpectedly. It was a shock, as many deaths are, and I was anxious to find a way to help. As she lives in Colorado, being there for her wasn’t as easy as I would’ve liked. I considered hoping in the car and driving out there but it’s a 24 hour drive without stops so that was a little problematic.
After talking to a couple of mutual friends, a plan was hatched. We were going to fly out and comfort our friend together. We all live in different states so we spent a couple of days figuring out the timing of flights as well as hotel and car rental accommodations. For the first time, at 47 years old, I am going to travel all on my own!
I consider myself a planner. It’s a role my friends and family have designated for me and I don’t mind. I enjoy figuring out logistics and having everything organized. But this was a bit out of the norm for me. I have flown many times, but it’s always been arranged by a travel agent or someone else. This was the first time I’ve ever had to figure it all out on my own. And in today’s COVID world there are a lot of extra things to keep in mind. But it was VERY important to me to be there for my friend and do whatever I could to support her.
I started looking at options and was immediately overwhelmed! The closest airport to me is about 1.5 hours away but from there to Denver would require a lengthy layover in Atlanta, Minneapolis or Dallas! Or a flight leaving at 1:30am. And it was several hundred dollars more expensive. None of those options made sense to me so I was stuck with the next closest airport, 3 hours away! I was able to book a flight through Priceline (another first for me) on Frontier Airlines (never even heard of them) that was nonstop.
When I booked the flight I wasn’t given an option of picking my seat or adding any baggage options. I have to tell you I was pretty nervous and just praying this whole thing was legit! It felt pretty sketchy to me! I was VERY relieved when I got my email confirmation and a link that allowed to be choose my seats and other options. I’ve since discovered Frontier is a newer airline that offers “economy” tickets while allowing you to pay for extras if you want them. So no free snacks or movies on this flight. But I did score a window seat one flight and an aisle on the other. And both are in an extra roomy row.
Did I mention that I haven’t actually MET 2 of these friends before in person? Our group of 5 has known each other for over 22 years now. We met wayyyy back when AOL chat rooms were a thing. We were all stay at home moms back then and have been though so much together. Births, moves, graduations, new jobs, bad hair styles, natural disasters, loss of parents, weddings, grandkids and unfortunately now losing a spouse. Our technology has changed but we’ve stayed in touch all these years. Like modern day pen pals. (I feel like this could make a good book!)
So I am about to set off on quite the adventure. Is it strange that I feel accomplished and proud to be doing this by myself? I’m driving myself to the airport, navigating parking and the terminal on my own. Landing somewhere completely new to me, hopping in a car with 2 “strangers” and heading off to meet a third. I wish it were under better circumstances and that the last member of our group could be there too. But one day we will meet up again for something fun. And I will know exactly how to make my own arrangements!