The between times. Beginning to understand that when a one in 8 million chance occurs, there’s probably a reason. Learning that while heads might be coincidence, tails is likely fate. Absorbing that your moral compass might not be true and wise in different environments and changing times. You only learn when your mind is open to different views and perspectives.
This is a series on our young Marty. Some of the stories that laid the foundation for who he is … or perhaps more accurately, who he thinks he is.
The loud drone throughout the passenger area made it hard to talk. Thinking wasn’t even that easy either. But the plane was full. It was Loftleidir. Full with people like me.
It was the student airline. The cheapest way from America to Europe. Loftleidir (Icelandic Airlines) flew from JFK, stopping to refuel in Iceland, then continuing to Scotland, on to London, and finally terminating in Luxembourg. While the world’s airlines had all converted to jets, Loftleidir still employed turboprops and refueled to cross the Atlantic. Their slogan “We’re the slowest but the lowest” resonated with all who had more time than money. It wasn’t for nothing it was nicknamed Hippie Air.
But I wouldn’t be going all the way to Luxembourg (where was and what was Luxembourg anyway?), Scotland was as far as I could afford. And I had no plane ticket home. Money was a critical issue. I only had what I had been able to squirrel away from my summer job, working in a resort town. It sure wasn’t much, but I was not going to let that get in the way of what I was seeking … independence and adventure. But without a ticket home, I was worried British Immigration may not let me in. There were lots of stories of how strict they were with young, itinerant vagabonds. And nothing defined me better than those 3 words.
Sleep on that flight was negligible. The noise, the excitement, the bonding of youth. Early in the morning we touched down at Keflavik, the international airport for Reykjavik, Iceland’s capital. It was a NATO airbase too, and as we walked down the gangplank to the tarmac for the plane to refuel, I could see military jets parked in the distance. This was at the height of the Cold War, and a military presence was almost universal. Never more so than in Germany which I would later witness.
Iceland wasn’t the darling of tourist destinations then, as it is now. The view from the tarmac was stark. Barren. Little vegetation even in the distance. The wind was blowing, and the temperature was cool. I was happy I had decided not to stay in Iceland, but to continue on directly to Scotland.
After a leisurely breakfast in the small terminal, once the turboprop was refueled, we reboarded. The flight to Scotland would not be long.
As we touched down at Prestwick International Airport the excitement was reaching a crescendo. I felt ready. Ready for anything. What would I do? What would I find?
I was soon to find out.