In 1993, I bought my first my first plane ticket with my own money to travel solo across the country. That journey changed my life, starting with the anticipation I felt after buying the ticket.

Thinking about life after the vaccine today has me feeling something akin to that anticipation.

A traveling I would go

I begged off early from my lifeguarding job on Lake Winnipesaukee, leapt into my dad’s gold Mazda pickup truck, and sped down two-lane New Hampshire roads to Sunapee. I had to get to the travel agent’s by six, or I would miss out on the only round-trip plane ticket from Boston to Portland, Oregon, I could afford.

By some miracle, the travel agent had found me a round-trip ticket for $150, taxes and fees included. There was a catch—it was a redeye, with four stops each way, zigzagging across the country. And I had an all-day bus ride to boot. At nineteen, however, that just sounded like an adventure.

I made it to the travel agent’s with mere minutes to spare. I handed over my cash (seriously), and took possession of the paper tickets.

On my way home, driving at a more reasonable speed in the evening light, windows open, and scratchy radio blaring, I broke out into a huge grin.

A traveling I would go.

sunrise flight
There's something magic about seeing the sun rise or set on a flight, not matter how many times you see it

Life Changing Anticipation

I’d flown before, and had even been out of the country, but this was the first ticket I ever bought for myself. And the first time I’d travel by myself.

I still smile, remembering the anticipation I felt that evening.

That trip, for so many reasons, changed the course of my life. The journey, so many hours in solo transit, perhaps even more so, because it gave me a taste for solo travel. It all started with that drive home on a hot August evening in 1993.

A similar feeling

While I haven’t dragged a slider on my phone to book a ticket in a goodly bit, I feel a similar anticipation now.

In two weeks, I get my second shot.

I know that it doesn’t mean that I can rip off my mask and tralala off to Vietnam, and it doesn’t mean that I don’t have complicated feelings about life after the vaccine, but it does mean that I can make some plans. My world is about to get less small.

It's been too long, Boston


On May 8, I’m getting on the T and will ride the Red Line over the Longfellow bridge, into Boston to meet my friend who had gotten so sick with Covid at the beginning of the pandemic. I haven’t seen him or set foot in Boston proper since all this started.

I’m going to see my family.

And someday, maybe sooner than I think, I’m going on a real trip. I’m going to buy a ticket for another solo adventure.

For now, just being able to make plans at all has me giddy with anticipation.

What about you?

What are you anticipating doing after you’re vaccinated? Let me know in the comments!