Sophie Anderson is a Rhodes junior currently studying abroad in Prague. She shares her experiences with us via the Rhodes Abroad blog, which features a different student in a different country each semester.
This Valentine’s Day I was awakened at the ungodly hour of 7 a.m. not by a romantic breakfast in bed prepared for me by the boyfriend (that I do not have), but by my alarm clock and the promise of spending the entire day wandering through airports. Deprived of even the chance to celebrate Galentine’s day with my girlfriends, it is safe to say that I was not feeling the love this February 14th. Instead, I felt an overwhelming combination of nervousness and excitement because I was finally leaving for Prague.
Though my feelings of nervousness did somewhat derive from the knowledge that I would be going to a place that I had never been to, whose language I did not speak, and with people that I did not know, mostly I was nervous about the journey there. I am not afraid of flying at all, but airports overwhelm me with their rules and regulations and frequent last minute gate changes. I am just never prepared for them no matter how hard I try to be!
So when I got to my gate at the Atlanta airport, I devoted myself completely to making it onto the plane as quickly and efficiently as possible. At first I was really on top of things. Shortly after arriving to my gate it was changed and I immediately relocated, making me one of the first to arrive at the new gate and awarding me with a seat next to the outlet. Unfortunately, I was momentarily distracted by a few airport security guards who were distributing roses to everyone (wasn’t that so sweet though?), and did not hear the final boarding call for my flight to Chicago. Fortunately, because the plane was so small, they made it a point to page me on their intercom system for everyone in the terminal to hear. It was very embarrassing, but I was thankful for the gesture (and the red rose), which made me feel slightly more loved on this lonely holiday.
After safely making it to Chicago, I easily found my next gate and planted myself there, cautiously listening for another gate change. When none was announced and we finally boarded the plan, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the huge aircraft was extremely empty. I ended up having 4 seats to myself and decided to forget about social norms and sprawl across all of them for the 7-hour ride. What’s more, because of the lack of passengers, I was served full cans of diet coke instead of those measly plastic cups. It was truly a dream, and I arrived in Prague as refreshed as a person can be after traveling for 26 hours straight. All in all, it was the best travel experience that I have ever had, and I hope that my future travel endeavors will mirror this one.
If you happen to find yourself single next Valentine’s day, contrary to popular belief, traveling alone is an excellent alternative way to spend the holiday.