By the time I made it to the gate at the airport, I was so grateful to be getting on the plane! While waiting, I met a girl from Mexico City who I chatted with for a few minutes. Also a teacher, she had been in Istanbul much longer than me and just the few stories she shared with me gave me even more confirmation that I was doing the right thing by getting out of there! Finally, I was able to get on the plane and breathe a sigh of relief to finally be on my way back to the USA!
Of course there had to be some super obnoxious loud talkers in a row behind me, but even after two sleepless nights, it was hard to even care about how annoying they were because I was just so glad to get out of there! After a short flight, we landed in Amsterdam, where I was questioned as to why I had been out of the country for so long and who had paid for my trip. Although I found it kind of odd because I just had a connecting flight there, I was too tired to really care. Honestly, I was just happy to be back in a place where I can be free!
Once on the next plane to Detroit, I met an awesome lady named Kim with whom I had a very interesting conversation. She shared a story about a friend of hers who had gone to Egypt for a job. Apparently, this friend had given them his passport and they had kept him prisoner there, slaving away on a farm without any pay. Just hearing this made me so grateful that I had indeed had my passport in my possession the whole time. I could not imagine if I had been stuck there without my passport!
Once I landed in the USA, I passed through customs and had no problems, so I asked the officer why I had been questioned so much in Amsterdam. When he looked at the list of the twelve countries through which I had passed he told me that my travel pattern was “rather interesting” and that some of the countries through which I had traveled such as the Czech Republic and Turkey were big narcotic places. Obviously, I had not known this, but I suppose that I did take a rather strange trip, especially because I crossed the Atlantic four times during my journey! However, that was just because that is where I was lead to go. Never in a million years would I have thought that I would have ended up in all of those places!
How ironic that I passed through my hometown, Detroit on the way back to Phoenix. However, I had figured that a connection there would be better just in case there was any snow or anything. At least I have an abundance of friends and family there, so getting stuck would not be the end of the world! Unfortunately, I did get stuck there for a few hours, as the flight was delayed. Yet since I was stuck on the plane and had no phone service, I did not get to see anyone while I was there. Nevertheless, I was lucky to have met a new friend on the plane with whom I talked while being stuck there. Of course, this was awesome to pass the time, but the funniest thing of all was the fact that I believe this was seriously the ONLY time that my flight has been delayed and I did not totally freak out and complain. Honestly, even after traveling for close to 24 hours, and being on the third flight of my journey home, I was just grateful to be in a place where I can be ME!