My husband always said that he couldn’t think of any reason we needed to travel east of the Rocky Mountains. He had a definite West Coast bias and was quite happy spending our vacation time traveling with our two kids in our VW van exploring the undeniable beauty and adventure that can be found in the Western states. In the summer of 2001, our oldest was accepted into a week long summer program at the United States Coast Guard Academy in New London, CT. I took advantage of this unexpected opportunity and talked my better half into flying east with him to see for ourselves what the East Coast had to offer. We ended up having a wonderful time. That was just two short months before the 9/11 attacks.
Long story short, our son subsequently received a full scholarship to attend the Academy the following spring. When we flew back with him for admissions day, post 9/11 increased security measures were in place at all airports. Waiting in the mandated security lines added an hour or more to the process at each end. Then there was the learning curve about what was and was not allowed on the planes and in what size packages. This was, of course, in addition to making the plane reservations, figuring out where to best park your car, and navigating the airports. All which can be very confusing to someone like myself who had limited experience flying . As we continued to fly back for parent’s weekends or and visits we began to get the hang of it. Good thing we did, because two years later, our daughter received a scholarship to the University of Maine. With both kids attending college on the East Coast we had no option but to learn to navigate the world of air travel.
And learn to navigate we did. In the past 10 plus years we have flown all over the US and to numerous foreign countries as well. While we still enjoy road trips, we appreciate the time savings that air travel offers, especially when we want to spend more time at the destination than on the journey. Learning to fly has opened up a world of new adventures.