Travel Virginity? Is it Real?
Travel virginity... Is it a thing? Over the past year of 2018 and into 2019, I have had the opportunity to be introduced to a whole new world of traveling. Don't get me wrong, I have been on plenty of trips; although I feel like following your parents through an airport or sitting in the back seat of a car while your parents navigate is far different from traveling on your own. In the summer of 2018, the man I am dating made the big decision to move across the country and we started our new lives of being in a long-distance relationship. Obviously it has its ups and downs, but that is something for an entirely new post. But in order to successfully make it, I have learned that it requires only looking at the better parts of this new situation. My favorite part? ... LOSING MY TRAVEL VIRGINITY. Virginity is seen as some higher portion of one's personality. People can actually be labeled as a virgin as though other qualities such as athlete, artist, or even blue eyes matter less than sexual qualities. That being said, losing that label of 'virgin' makes many people feel incredibly different. The intense emotion that rushed through me the second I had sex for the first time was crazy. I experienced the side of intense, close connection with my boyfriend but more importantly, I experienced a new sense of self empowerment. I understand that this sounds crazy to some people and you're all thinking, "Wait, what does talking about your awkward sexual encounters have anything to do with traveling?" Well sweet reader who somehow found this site, I noticed a similar feel in emotion the first time I traveled alone. In August, I packed a carry-on bag and bought a plane ticket to see my boyfriend, with a distance to travel from Virginia to Portland, Oregon. His mom offered to pick me up at an ungodly hour of the morning and drive me to my airport which happened to be almost three hours away. I remember being so thankful for her wanting to catch me up on everything about her life because I knew if I talked about mine that the shaking in my voice would become very evident. She walked me inside, helped me print my plane ticket, and walked me to security; and even stood there until she couldn't see me anymore. She provided me with constant goodbye waves and one last comforting smile while I embraced a new adventure and hid the worries that I wouldn't successfully navigate an airport. Luckily, this particular airport only had a few gates in my terminal and quickly, I found a seat and spent my waiting time continuously checking my portable chargers and bouncing my right knee, up until the point my gate attendant announced boarding groups. It was a small little plane. Only two seats per side and all the luggage was placed in the storage areas rather than above our seats. It was a rainy morning as well. I heard the click of my seat belt and paid attention to the scent of sweet mint gum in my mouth. As I felt the plane start to move backwards and head to the runway, I placed my headphones in my ears and listened to a song that I have now deemed a travel song. (Is it a travel song or is it associated with a travel memory? unclear: listen for the full experience, "Until We Get There" by Lucius). I could feel my heart absolutely racing has the plane picked up speed and began to lift off the ground. I like to imagine in my head that everyone could see the smile that had grown on my face when in reality I am sure absolutely nobody was paying attention to my back window seat. I swear, I replayed that song countless times. I am pretty sure I thought that as soon as the song ended, so would the immense joy that had overcome my body with this new sense of independent confidence. My nerves soon came back after a short flight that brought round two of navigating an airport. During this time I had the pleasure of experiencing crowds, moving around people while trying to follow signs, and trying airport breakfast food (and I would not recommend it). I think by my second flight I had managed to relax. All my nerves about an airport had gone away, yet so many more nerves of knowing I'd see the man I loved when I stepped off the plane made themselves known. I still had moments of immense glee that easily showed. I smiled at cloud formations in the sky. I smiled at the digital plane moving forward on the screen in front of me. I smiled at the young boy sitting on the same row as me; and I learned sharing the same level of excitement with a five year old boy can actually be a good thing. All the locations I have heard about through conversations over the phone and made mental images of were finally being connected to a real sight. It was an unbelievably fulfilling moment for me.
SO, is traveling virginity a real thing? My answer is yes, and it will always be yes. Yes because there are a lot of nerves associated with it. Yes because you become overwhelmed with emotion that leads to complete happiness. Yes because you fall in love with this new feeling and you're left wondering when you'll experience it again. Yes because every other time after it, you seem to be remembering that first time all over again.
Until we meet again.