Thoughts from the Plane: A Journey from the US to China

Feb 18, 2016 8:30:00 PM / by Stephanie Sadler

CAPAStudyAbroad_Shanghai_spring2016_From_Daniel_Thompson.jpgDaniel Thompson is an official CAPA blogger for spring 2016, sharing his story in weekly posts on CAPA World. A sociology major at Lebanon Valley College, he is studying abroad in Shanghai this semester.

In this week's post, Daniel shares his thoughts from the flight to China.


Enthusiastically and confidently, I open the doors to John F. Kennedy Airport; the bustling of people erupts as I enter, organized chaos. Lines of people stem from the multitudes of ticket sale booths.

As I walk towards the plane boarding station, I feel my heart beating fast, as if I am about to have a heart attack. Panic and worries cross my mind, all of the what-ifs. What if the plane crashes? What if the plane runs out of gas? What if the plane’s landing gear doesn’t launch properly? Will the people like me? Will the food be good? Is my journey going to be a story to reach the hearts of others?


Choking down my fears, I show my boarding pass to the flight attendant and enter into the narrow hallway. A lump in my throat creeps up higher, my rib cage tightens, and my muscles tense. I lift my carry-on luggage into the compartment, my arms shaking and quivering. My seat calls me, and I ease into it.

At the front of the plane, the flight attendant instructs the passengers of the procedures and emergency precautions. Thoughts race through my mind louder than the words uttered by the attendant. My body relaxes as I push the panic away, the engines begin to roar, and the wheels begin to turn slowly as the plane creeps forward. As the plane lifts off, the sudden jerking motion sends another wave of distress through my mind and I tense up. Closing my eyes, I suddenly realize we are in the air and everything is okay.

Photo: Shanghai metro station by CAPA Institutional Relations Manager Stacy Benjamin Wood

Ten minutes later I feel relaxed; I know everything will be okay. I keep telling myself that everything will be okay. As the turbulence subsides, the plane cabin turns into a hotel in the air. Odors of chicken alfredo and various other garlic scents permeate the air from the front of the plane. My stomach growls and it aches for the food. Anticipation gets the best of me; I count down the hours, then the minutes, then the moments until we arrive.

Landing, the steps bridge the gap from the plane to the ground, and my journey is complete.


Thanks Daniel!

Daniel's journey continues every Thursday so stay tuned. 

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Topics: Predeparture & Study Abroad Preparations