Air travel still evokes the glamour and luxury of yesteryear for me, the days when people dressed up and put on lipstick and a hat to fly, and destinations where chosen from central casting for their palm lined coasts, rugged technicolour peaks and exotic looking locals.
I still get a lump in my throat at airports, the emotions of travel are palpable as you go through the now habitual activities of boarding and departing, landing and arriving. I hold back tears as land comes into view, and it was no different when the California coast came into view on Friday morning, my first visit to the USA in 7 years.
LA holds no special place in my heart, the South West more so, with memories of childhood travels and later with my new husband still fresh as they day they were formed, but Miami is my second home as far as American cities go. No matter what the entry point however, returning to America for me is a meaningful continuation of my story of emigration. I am returning to a home where I don’t know the residents or the house rules. An unfamiliar territory that somehow manages to warm my blood and sting my throat.
The physical warmth of LA was visible from the windows of the plane. I knew not to get excited, because the East Coast Autumn awaited us later in the day and if I got whiff of Southern California heat, palms, salty haze and eucalyptus, I would be even more apprehensive about our onward journey. So I looked upon that incredible landscape as if passing by on a train, mine only to marvel at from afar, and not to experience.
The stars and stripes fly boldly and prolifically at Tom Bradley airport, and again I get that lump in my throat for a country I’m not patriotic about, that story that is only mine by proxy, but it is undeniable; I am home.