The trip from Shinjuku Station to Narita Airport is always an emotionally exhausting journey for me. Even though I know I’m going to be back in Tokyo again eventually, saying goodbye to the people and places I’ve grown comfortable with is tough. It’s an acknowledgement time has passed and something I was once “looking forward to” is now over.
This time, while I still had a lump in my throat as the train sped off from the platform, I was eager to get on the plane, because it wasn’t just going back to Canada – I was going back to Canada to see family for Christmas.
In 2009, I went to Florida from Saskatchewan, Canada with my Sister and her family for a week at Walt Disney World – and back then I thought that was a long flight. Granted, it was a hectic day with two connections, lots of rushing around, and cramped quarters in packed airplanes. But, I look back at that trip now and laugh – that’s not the longest I’ve been in the air!
My first venture out of North America was to London in 2012 – and that was roughly an 8.5 hour flight from Minneapolis. My legs cramped up, I panicked a little waking up from a restless sleep to find the seatback in front of me reclined all the way – it was a little harried! I thought that was a long flight – and again, I laugh. I’ve been up in the clouds even longer.
Fast forward to this month’s trip to Tokyo. Minneapolis to Narita is a flight that lasts just over 12 hours. Half a day, up in the sky. Now, THAT is a long flight (or at least the longest I’ve been on so far – I’ve yet to make the journey from the South Pacific back to North America, but it’s coming.)
When I was telling family and friends about my upcoming half-a-day-in-the-sky, they cringed at the thought of spending so much time trapped inside a plane. “How will you spend the time,” they ask? Good question.