Its 15 minutes into my debut of solo travelling and
Ive successfully sweated through a slimily thick layer of Mens
Sports 48-hour deodorant. Im crouched in the corner next to
the Student Flights booth with my head stuffed between my knees, Im
hyperventilating like a broken fan, and my visions sparked out into
a swamp of black.
Nobody is looking at me.
Everyone yanks their suitcases past me with eyes
intensely averted, regarding me as embarrassing traffic accident
or, perhaps, a very naked child throwing a tantrum. From the
trenches of my curled up body, I am locked in by sour-smelling
armpits, red sparks from kneecaps pressing deep into eyeballs, and
a piercing, circular ringing. Each shitty, short gasp of air I
belch in and out is like a prick into a party balloon; after a few
minutes, Ive both deflated and blacked out into a place of
The attendant at Student Flights looks over and asks
if Im settled enough to talk to her. With a face glistening with
sweat, snot, and tears, I dont believe I could look more settled if
The problem is pretty straightforward; Im a fucking
idiot. The type that doesnt get a visa or checked baggage before a
flight to Vietnam; a
The Italian family standing next to me, all gold
necklaces and dangerously thin lips, shake their heads at the cost
Student Flights quotes me.
Oh honey, dont worry. We just lost a lot more.
There is something infuriatingly disrespectful about
a middle-aged man with a platinum credit card telling this to me.
But as Ive decided to play the
freewheeling-21-year-old-female-goes-global, I do nothing but bark
a short laugh and roll my eyes. Money! Who needs it! Did you just
lose a quarter of your savings too? What a hoot!
Whats worse is that this is not even the end of the
world. I cant just lie on the goddamn floor and ask security to
wheel me to the dumpsters. The rules of the game for being an
independent adult pretty clearly state that I will need to fix this
situation on my own in under 40 minutes with my own money, logic,
and internal time-bomb of anxiety; i.e mums not coming to get
Naturally, my next mental step is to enter some sort
of internal game-show involving me being eliminated from my own
holiday and bank account. Not having much money or smarts, it seems
my only equipment is hyperventilat...