The Last Day!

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The journey was long but somehow the tale was even longer! Hopefully there’s a few of you out there reading this still. You deserve something special for making it this far, checking for updates and reading all the posts. Thanks!

Anyway, let’s get on with the story.

I opened my eyes on that last day and was so happy to be going home. The trip was so much fun but I was ready to be back in the states and enjoy the comforts of a normal home. I took a picture just to commemorate that moment of joy. I didn’t have a whole lot to do that day, just grab a few souvenirs and take the bus to the airport. The flight left at 12:30 and I wanted to get there with plenty of time to spare. A transatlantic flight is not something to be missed. And if I’d learned anything from 6 weeks of travel, it was to expect the unexpected and give yourself plenty of buffer time.

I got packed up and toted my stuff down the main streets of Dublin. Tried to soak up as much as I could in that brief walk, but really I shouldn’t even claim to have visited that city. I found a good souvenir shop and got some last minute gifts. I didn’t have a whole lot of money left, but thankfully it was enough to get what I wanted: a polo shirt, a cool Guinness mug shot glass, and a keychain.

I found the bus stop and hopped on board. Suprisingly, there were two other Americans on board. One was from Seattle. Crazy! It was always nice to meet a fellow American on the road but running into another Seattleite was incredible. I think she was a student at Seattle Pacific University. Anyway, I chatted briefly with them on the way over to the airport and before long we were there. Not much interesting happened at the airport, as far as I can remember. Oh, except some jerk US Customs agent who asked where I had gone and so I started rattling off the countries, he stopped me at Rome and said “I would’ve taken Italy” with a strong air of annoyance. Thanks, bud. To top it off, he stamps my passport, waves me through and then says “Good luck” in some snide tone of voice. Yup, that’s an American for you, I was coming home.

I was just so glad when I got on the plane and settled down to head back. Thank god there were no adventures on that last critical step of my journey. It was a 6 hour flight back to JFK airport. It felt good coming back to the US and seeing all the familiar signs. No more fumbling to communicate or understand what’s going on. This was my kingdom, man.

The adventure wasn’t over yet though. My connecting flight to Spokane was the next day and had I wanted to save money so I decided I wouldn’t get a hotel. Sleeping in the airport couldn’t be that bad I thought. So after I got my bag, I went over to Terminal 5 with it’s blissfully free wifi and convenient AC outlets. Called my parents to let them know I’d made it ok and then started trying to find info on the best place to sleep in the airport. The flight was leaving out of La Guardia, so I started reading about people’s experiences there. Some had done it, but others said it was a hard place to sleep and they got bugged by the security guards. Not one to seek confrontations, I started re-thinking my plan. I did have enough money to afford a hotel room for the night, but it’d barely be worth it, since my flight left at 6:15am the next morning. It wasn’t worth $110 to sleep for 5 hours.

But then I remembered there was a much better, cheaper option: that hostel where we’d stayed at the beginning of the trip. It would mean I would take the subway at 3am but would be only $35 for a room and a bed. That was worth it in my book, so I called them up. They had one free spot, so I hurried over there. It felt good to be back in that familiar spot and end where it all began. They got me booked into a room and I went up there for a blissful shower and unpacking. I hadn’t showered in a while and it felt great. Plus this hostel was cleaner than almost any I’d stayed in for a while so it was nice.

Met one of the roommates who woke up from a nap and we chatted for a while. If I remember right, he was a Swiss PhD student visiting New York for a conference. I told him I’d just come from a big European trip and was nearly broke. We talked about Switzerland a bit and his background. We ended up going out to Subway for dinner and he bought my sandwich, very nice of him. Every penny counted at this point and it was nice to see such kindness in a near stranger.

So we went back to the room and I decided it was time for bed. I think it was around 9pm by then. So I tucked in for the last time to a hostel bed, turned on my airplane white noise and fell asleep. Of course I double checked to make sure my alarm was set correctly.

It woke me up at 2:40am and I was ready to go. Grabbed my stuff and walked out the door. I was a little scared to be walking around a rough area of Manhattan at that time of night, but I had to do it. It was about a 6 block walk but I didn’t really see anybody out, and even then, nobody that looked menacing. Grabbed a couple 25 cent bananas from the street vendor and headed down into the subway. I was early and waited on the bench right in front of the security guards office, just to be safe. I was still sleepy but a little on edge and still physically tired. I just had to keep pushing to the end. The subway came eventually and I boarded.

Once at the airport, I checked in my stuff and got on the plane. This was the final leg– a 9 hour trip with a layover in Salt Lake. It went much faster coming back then when I went. It was hard to believe that 7 weeks had already passed. The time really flew.

It felt like an eternity, but I eventually made it into Spokane around 9am. Weary and with less than $10 to my name, I had made it back home. Victorious! Made the trip of a lifetime and lived to tell about it. It was an incredible experience and one I’ll always look back on fondly.

And that’s the end. Thanks everybody for reading!

P.S. I’ll be posting more pictures of the entire trip later.

Written by admin

December 19th, 2010 at 8:41 pm

Posted in Uncategorized