If you count my visit from the time I got off a plane in Savannah, to the time I got on another one (also in Savannah), the visit was 26 hours long. But then again, if you count the visit from the time I arrived at my destination, Statesboro, to the time I left the next day, the entire visit was just 21 hours. For some Go Girls, this kind of travel is old hat, but the last time I flew on such a short trip I was studying abroad in Paris, and I had just two days to visit London.
The small time frame had me nervous to begin with, and the time frame was only made shorter by the complications Delta threw at me by changing my flight just a week after I’d booked it. To top off that stress, the reason I was flying into Georgia was to interview for a job. And then, the unthinkable happened: I got sick, the night before my trip began. It wasn’t the kind of sickness where you feel justified in cancelling plans. It was essentially a bad cold, but the cold was problematic in that it was keeping me from getting any sleep. And the sleep deprivation was problematic in that it was keeping me from thinking clearly and from getting any better.
So I stocked up on cold medicine and decongestant and made sure everything was accessible in my rolling bag. Then a flight attendant tried to check my carry-on bag in order to remedy the limited space in the overhead compartment, and I learned that I’d have to wait till the end of my trip (not the end of that one flight) to retrieve my bag. I explained that that was not an option. She put my bag in the very roomy overhead bins up in first class.
Once I was in Georgia, my trip was carefully structured, so I guess you could say I got the most I could out of those 21 or 26 hours. I was brought on a short tour of the town where I was applying for a job, and then I had dinner with the search committee, before retiring to my hotel room to relax and prepare for the marathon of interviews that were to follow the next day. My cold continued to torture me, but I finally squeezed in four hours of sleep. The next day, I went through a series of interviews, before a member of the search committee drove me back to the Savannah airport, and I took a plane back to Utah.
The trip was so short that I left with only a glimpse of the town where I interviewed, and less than a glimpse of Georgia as a whole. About three years ago, I flew into Georgia for the first time, but that visit was even shorter. During that visit, I was groggy after a red-eye flight and distractedly in love. In fact, I had only flown into Georgia on my way to visit my then-boyfriend’s family in South Carolina. So I spent my few hours of Georgia half-asleep, entirely unaware of my surroundings.
On this trip, though, I couldn’t get over the scenery. I was amazed by how green Georgia was in the winter, compared to the gray winters of New England and the dry winters of Utah. The weather hovered around 70 degrees for my entire visit, and I was delighted to walk around without a coat. I’ll admit that I was also delighted by the beautiful accents of all the Georgia natives I met, and I was relieved that none of them made fun of me for being a “yankee.” So it was just a peek of Georgia, but it was as pleasant an experience as a woman can have when she is half-delirious on Nyquil and sleep-deprivation.
But here’s what really tops the story: when I arrived back in Salt Lake City, I took a shuttle back to my apartment. It was past midnight when the shuttle left the airport, and it had to take a detour before it took me home, but the driver was a talkative Peruvian man. When he noticed how my coughing and sneezing was punctuating our conversation, he finally said, “Do you need to go to Walgreens? We can stop there, and I’ll wait while you go in and buy cold medicine.” It was something I wouldn’t have dreamed to ask, but I was unbelievably grateful. A few minutes later, he let me out at a Walgreens, and I returned to the shuttle with Nyquil, Dayquil, and a box of Puffs Plus Lotion tissues.
After two days of flying, two days of interviewing, and a total of ten hours of sleep over the course of the prior three nights, could I ask for anything more?