“We Need Your Ticket Number”

posted by Megan Swanson
"We need your ticket number."
"Honey, we need your ticket number."
"Call them and say you need a ticket number."

I did not and could not after calling Korean Air, Delta reservations and 7 people at
Priceline.com, find the correct ticket number. The tickets were lost in the abyss of what
is the Roswell, Ga. post office while I harassed my way to a Priceline voice that told me
it was my fault. “Miss Swanson we cannot find your ticket number and we cannot do a
thing about it.”

After several threats against Priceline, their staff and their non-existent customer service,
I folded, bought another ticket and drove home to leave five hours later for the Atlanta
airport at four in the morning. I would claim my rightful ticket hop on the first leg of
my flights to Cambodia via Detroit and Seoul, South Korea and stare out the window,
watching Atlanta fade behind my plane, and in my mind, all at Priceline became smaller
and smaller.

Boarding my extended flight to South Korea I walked along the aisle looking for 34A,
two men already sat in the window and middle seats. I sat down next to the two men,
backpack still on, obnoxiously large carry-on still in hand, put on my best sweet little
girl face and proclaimed my love for the window seat. The middle man opted out of his
seat immediately. Player one was out of the way, but window seat man failed to budge,
chuckling under his breath in a I would, but I’m not going to sort of fashion. Win, player
two.

I sat down in the middle seat and much to my dismay he promptly closed my window
to the world and dashed any hopes and dreams of watching Siberia and the artic float
beneath our plane.

Sleep did not come at all during the entirety of the flight. After I hit the time it would
take to fly to Europe I began scrolling through the movies. All sense of time and location
was lost. My family was at home asleep, or maybe they were awake, going out to dinner.
My friends going out for drinks and preparing for their own jobs and journeys around the
world.

I managed a slight peek out the window, compliments of the Ambien I saw Player 2
take previous to lift-off. He did not wake up for the entire flight, so with a few awkward
maneuvers over his belly and around his heaping knees I managed to blind myself with
sunlight as Siberia and the arctic escaped my view.

Finally in the Incheon airport I propped my sandaled feet and fresh pair of pants onto the
seats in a waiting area outside of a gate. Floor to ceiling windows provided a wallpaper
of the surrounding airport followed by a glittering strip of pale gray water leading to the

mountains shaded by a thick layer of fog.

Intermittently staring out the windows to South Korea for my entire 5-hour layover
left me in a haze somewhat like the mountains into which I was staring. My family
and friends were miles away on a completely different schedule, but for the first time
in months I was alone for several hours. I crave time to myself, but inexplicably I was
craving being around people. The inability to politely contact those closest to me, let
alone people who speak English left me thinking about why I was traveling halfway
around the world.

After I arrived in Siem Reap I asked Kate, our tour director, almost immediately how
she found herself living in Cambodia. A career in human resources and several stints
in the jobs that followed, coupled with a connection to the owners of the hotel had her
on a plane to start a new career as tour director and general keeper of order at Journeys
Within.

The following morning when Kate, unknown to me, responded to my parents assuring
them that I was here safely. There were four emails from the dear Swansons. It seems the
surreal nature of travel and destinations supercedes the halting powers of Priceline and
any attempts to try to forget my companions are rotating on the other side of the world
these days.
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