WE HAD BEEN ON THE GROUND AT LAX FOR ABOUT TWO MINUTES WHEN A VOICE CAME ON THE INTERCOM and said, "Would passenger Thomas Tarka please see the attendant at the front of the plane …."
My ears perked up and my somewhat groggy mind came to attention, playing out all of the potential scenarios.
Another one of my grandparents had fallen deathly ill and I needed to call my parents immediately?
Smugglers had sequestered drugs in my bag and the International Terminal drug-sniffing dogs had already found them?
I shuffled with the rest of the coach passengers, already thrown for a loop by a simple sentence on the intercom and not able to do a thing about it other than to carry my overstuffed bag and wait for the eternity it always seems to take to get to the front of the plane after a long international flight.
And so it was that I returned to the United States after circling the globe ….
Ten months prior I had been living in Boulder and working as a keyboard jockey in various forms, starting off as a software tester and eventually working my way up the food chain to webmaster at a smallish software company. I wasn't sold on Boulder, and a tip from some backpackers at a hostel in Hawaii about the relatively inexpensive nature of "Round the World" plane tickets had put the bug in my ear to save my money, dust off my passport, and check out the rest of the world.
Jobwise I was also ready for a change, ...