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Every Soul Longs to Soar: The First Day of My South Pacific Solojourn | Travels With Carly

Every Soul Longs to Soar: The First Day of My South Pacific Solojourn

Today I started my trip, bright and early, at 6:30 am in the Cleveland Airport La Quinta. I loaded up my 39 pound backpack, strapped it on, and marched out of the hotel and into my dream. Cleveland to LA. LA to Tahiti. Let the adventure begin.

One thing I noticed right away, when people don’t have to carry their own weight, they overpack. I cannot tell you the number of immense suitcases I saw today, and I felt sorry for the poor baggage handler who had to lift it.

Walking through Cleveland and LAX, carrying my main pack, my day pack and my purse, I knew I could handle the weight, but I was at my max. Between my main pack and my day pack, I am carrying well over 55 pounds all by myself. I am sure over the course of the next six months I’ll shed the extraneous junk, plus the extra mental and physical pounds, and emerge on the other side a more pure, distilled version of myself. Me, but just the core and nothing else. I think of my trip as a six month cleanse, but way more fun and with better food.

Carly - all geared up and ready to go.

Me - all geared up and ready to go.

I love to fly, always have, always will. Call me crazy, but I like airports. I don’t think of them as purgatory. I think of them as a place where adventures begin. If I can, I’ll go early for a flight and wander around the terminal with a big, fat grin on my face, looking at all the destinations – particularly the international flights. I get excited for the people waiting to board for Tokyo or Dubai or Sao Paolo, because they are about to go on an adventure and who knows what will happen.

The international terminal at LAX.

The international terminal at LAX.

I also think flying is a form of magic in an age when we don’t really believe in magic anymore. Think about it. Your average 747 weighs 437 tons. That is 875,000 pounds that gravity is holding to the earth. And yet somehow, a 747 can break the bonds of gravity and fly. A 747 when it is on the ground is ungainly and awkward. As soon as it doing what it was meant to do, it transforms into something graceful and elegant. And that same 747 can take me from Cleveland, Ohio, across the United States and across the Pacific to Tahiti, all in less than one day. A journey that not long ago would have taken months, if not years, is completed in 15 hours. It all seems impossible, and that is what makes it magic.

Now I know physics can explain away the magic. It all has to do with air speed and air pressure. The wing design speeds up airflow over the wing, decreasing its pressure and allowing the slower moving air under the wing to lift the plane into the sky. This is called the Bernoulli principle and you can feel it during every takeoff. It is that moment when the plane breaks free from the Earth and soars up into the heavens. Sometimes it is subtle. Sometimes it is profound. But every time I feel it, I believe in the magic and I whisper “Bernoulli.”

I think the same thing is true of people. When we aren’t doing what we are meant to do, when we turn away from our path, we are pulled back to earth and life becomes a struggle. Most of our energy is consumed by trying to break the bonds that hold us down. But when we are doing what we are meant to do, we feel the magic and we soar.

Several times today I’ve been on the verge of tears, particularly as I was leaving Cleveland. Not because I’ll miss my friends and family (although I will) but because I am so completely overwhelmed with gratitude that I have the chance to go on this journey. To take this chance. To have the adventure I’ve longed for since I was 17. Not everyone gets to live their dream and I feel profoundly thankful that that universe conspired with me to make this happen.

Every soul longs to soar, we just need to find the one thing that lifts us into the sky. For me, it is travel. What is it for you? The magic is inside all of us, you just need to find it. Whisper with me … Bernoulli.

When you board Air Tahiti Nui flights - they welcome you with a Tahitian flower.

When you board Air Tahiti Nui flights - they welcome you with a Tahitian flower.

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5 Responses to "Every Soul Longs to Soar: The First Day of My South Pacific Solojourn"

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