“You are never given a wish without also being given the power to make it true. You may have to work for it, however” Richard Bach
Never before, in my nearly twenty-nine years have I experienced such a straight line of learning in direct coordination with practical application of a skill. Just three months ago I was sitting in my downtown apartment, feeling like my aviation goals were out of reach. I knew I wanted to do something big but I didn’t know what it would be. The flight around the world will come in time, but there had to be ways that I could become a smarter, more flexible pilot in the meantime. When the decision was made to commit to completing my instrument training a huge internal sigh of relief was taken. It felt good to simply make a decision, rather than sit on the fence and wonder which way I would fall. It was a confusing time for me, knowing that I wanted to fly, get more involved in general aviation and be in the sky as much as possible. It seems that sometimes choosing the goal and making a concrete decision is more difficult than the execution of the goal. Once I was finally getting myself back at to the airport, I started to feel that energetic charge that comes with being around the plane, the people, the community that exists at small airports. From the hangar flying that goes on before and after actual airtime, to the studying for my check ride, to getting to know the aircraft inside and out, it started to eventually feel right. It started to feel like home.
Committing to a month solid of instrument training was intense. Each day I arrived at 9News for the 4:30am show, reported for four and a half hours, changed into jeans and my pink Puma’s and bolted to Centennial Airport. Rather than think of flight training of something that I HAD to do in order to the fly the plane, I decided to shift my perspective. I decided that flight training was as important as the outcome and it was something that I GOT to do, and began to thoroughly enjoy. About half way through my instrument instruction, I began to get an itch for a really long flight. I had already began blogging about my experience, but there was something bigger going on.
Truthfully, there was no big event, no spark of inspiration that led to wanting to retrace Amelia’s flight. It is almost like I knew I would do it all along, which made it easy to accept the idea when it came to mind. I made a video blog the day I decided to do it, put the idea out there and the rest has flowed very easily. Weather has cooperated, we have received a lot of help along the way, and overall the timing has been great. However, there was nothing easy about this trip. The planning, the coordination, the connections in each city, the media side of it, it has consumed my life. Here is the kicker- I absolutely love it. When a goal that is so close to your heart is acknowledged in your mind, you will find the energy to accomplish your ideas. The work will be tough, the hours will be late, but the feeling will be all the payment you need in return for your exhaustion. Each night over the last several months I have fallen asleep with a huge smile on my face, knowing that I looked each day in the eye and got everything accomplished that I possibly could have.
When we departed Burbank this morning at 6am, winds were calm and Los Angeles was just waking up. For once, that town felt calm. The calm within me came from the fact that I was literally holding the tools in my hand to rise above the city and head East. We had filed the night before, did a dark and cold pre flight on the plane, and jumped into the cold seats of the Cirrus. Two doors closed and all I had to do was fly the plane. We got our clearance, departed on runway 5, and flew over the San Fernando Valley.
As we continued to fly towards the high desert of Southern California, the sun rose over the mountains. From that first sliver of bright orange light came full sunlight, spreading over the silver wings, fuselage and tail. We were bathed in the pink, blue and golden colors of the sunrise and everything was calm, clean and fresh.
Right now, the autopilot is in command, John is to my right and we are cruising at 174 kts at 11,000 feet. I would say I feel lucky, but that would be a lie. I feel in control, smart and focused on completing this goal, enjoying each and every take-off, landing, heading change, and altimeter setting. The end of this trip will mean a new goal and all the difficulties that come along with the planning and the preparations. I feel like I have all the tools and the power to make any dream come true and I know that you do too.
It is going to take time and be hard as hell, but the satisfaction that comes from whatever your version of flying is, will be worth all the hard work in the world. I promise.