Today my alarm clock sounded at 3:30AM. I haven’t been up this early since a work trip with my previous employer. There was no car service waiting in my driveway, no one to open the door for me or hand me one or those weird things called a newspaper ?? Insert first bell ? of the morning in my brain. Hummmmm

The procedure of checking my luggage in was the same. Free over baggage fees, cause you know my bag always weighs more than 50 lbs! No lines as I can enter by way of the “premium desk”. I know, fancy ?. Still having all my perks from business travel is amazing.

Now off to security! Usually this would be insert “UGH” here for the majority of people, not for me. Past employment paid for my global entry and pre-checks. Sweet! If you don’t have pre-check, do it!! No lines, no removing shoes, no taking liquids out. It’s amazing.

I cruised through security and hooked a right, like I always do, and head down the long corridor towards the gates. Halfway down the corridor I notice I’m not seeing gate 31 on the overhead aluminized signs. I realize I never even checked if it was the other way. In my mind gates don’t exist the other way! You only turn right! Well today, my flight is to the left. Who knew?

I turned around and headed back to take a left instead of a right at security. Now, I know this may not seem weird to you but by now this has totally messed with my brain! Everything I did for years traveling was like a robot. Easy come, easy go, taken care of.

I walked past security and it hit me like a ton of bricks. Holy shit! I’m totally on my own. No more coworker walking with me. No more safe feeling of if anything happens I’m with my coworker buddy. No more swiping the corporate credit card for all the food and drinks you want. No more travel paid for. All totally gone!

Then I feel the tears slightly start to twinge my eyes. What the hell is this about?? Is it sadness, is it loss, is it insecurity, is it fear? Then I realize it’s non of these things. A smile comes across my face and I realize it’s FREEDOM.

And the Joy Quest continues.