Recently, I began a travel Instagram account to go along with this here blog. I had hoped to use the same Instagram handle as my URL name, Fugitive Dreams. Not surprisingly, it wasn’t available nor was any of the other aesthetically pleasing versions of it. So I chose the next best thing: Airplane Ass. In my About Me section on this website, I briefly mention that this was a nickname given to me by my Grandmother a few years ago. Now, with an Instagram under that name hopefully drawing in new readers to my blog, I thought it would make sense to explain the origin of the nickname and the full meaning behind it.
My first travel experience came at the young ages of 12 and 13. Prior to then, I had only ever been to Disney World, the Jersey Shore, and Pittsburgh, PA, the latter to visit family. My Dad, an Army Reserve nurse, was deployed in April 2004 to a U.S. base in the small city of Wurzburg, located in southern Germany. In August 2004 and again in December of the same year, he flew my mom and me over to visit him for a total of 3 weeks. We covered much of southern Germany and visited Paris, Venice, Liechtenstein, plus some of Austria and Switzerland.
It was in these 3 weeks that I had my first glimpse of what traveling was and even at a young age, I knew this was something special and important in my life. Five years later, I took a leap of faith and accepted an offer to spend the 1st semester of my freshman year of college studying abroad in London, England. For 3 months, I would call the University of Roehampton my home. It was an incredible adventure that allowed me to see not only London, but Western Ireland, Disneyland Paris, the city of Paris for a second time, and Amsterdam. I fell even more in love with traveling and knew this was something I wanted to continue doing. It was this desire and drive that landed me in Russia the following summer and all over the world for years to come.
Once I graduated from college, I made traveling a priority, mostly traveling domestically in the United States from Los Angeles, to New Orleans, to Dallas, and Vegas. It was also during these years that I took my first cruise and experienced the beauty of the Bahamas.
If I’m being honest, my family didn’t always understand my passion for traveling, and neither did some of my friends or my significant other at the time. They would constantly mention money; they didn’t understand how I could afford it or why I wasn’t saving money. But somewhere along the way, someone did and that someone was my Grandmother. At some point, she accepted that this was my passion and that I was going to travel regardless of anyone’s opinion.
During one of my phone calls with her, I mentioned that I would be heading to Las Vegas for a long weekend (I had recently returned from a weeklong trip to Los Angeles). She immediately said to me, “Your ass is always on an airplane. It’s in the shape of an airplane seat. They should give you your own seat on the airplane. They might as well; the damn seat already has your ass imprinted into it.” Soon after that conversation, every time she would pick up the phone she would greet me with, “Hello, Airplane Ass. Where ya off to now?” That was the thing about my Grandma: she was quick, blunt, and to the point. She didn’t waste time on unnecessary pleasantries and was the first person to give you the proverbial kick in the ass, whether you asked for it or not. She was the funniest and strongest woman who didn’t take shit from anyone. And yet, despite her sharpness, she knew everyone and everything about them, from how your mother was feeling to what college your sister’s husband’s niece’s second cousin chose. She would have done anything for the people in her life; and she did. She was a force, in all the good ways.
My Grandmother passed away in December 2016, just three weeks before I left for my 17 day trip through Eastern Europe. Since then, I’ve been to Los Angeles 3 times, Disney World, Baltimore, and Greece, all while planning a trip to Croatia where my great Grandparents (her parents) were from. Since her passing, traveling to Croatia has been one of my top priorities and I’m excited to be making that happen. I know she would love that Airplane Ass was seeing her homeland. I miss her always and I’ve promised myself (and her) that I will work every day to keep being the best Airplane Ass I can be and make her proud. And who knows, maybe one day they will give me my own designated seat on the plane….one can hope.