It has been almost a year since I left my wings and my beautiful red hat with a veil, an ornament typical for famous Emirates.

It was my trademark, it was my identity, it was my passion.

After almost 6 years I had put it in a box, and decided it is time for me to move on with my life.

When I finally left, I took that decision from the 3rd try, as 2 previous ones I just couldn’t pull through. No matter how tired I felt from 6 years of consecutive long flights, how lonely I felt living in Dubai for so long, my heart and my soul would always stop me from leaving.

I felt physical pain that I couldn’t deal with anymore, but my heart would always say “just one more year, just few more new destinations”. And it would always win.

The adrenaline of landing to another city was never gone. It kept me alive. It gave nurture to my wanderlust soul.

Even coming back to the same hotel, walking the same streets as every other time, and having coffee in the same coffee shop, didn’t make the feeling fade away.

When I finally decided to leave, it was my health that made me do it.

I had broken left leg ankle ligaments, my apartment contract was about to expire, and I thought, after 2 unsuccessful tries, maybe it’s time. The thought of doing another DXB-JFK 15 hour flight became my worst nightmare. I felt my expiry date was close…

It happened. I sent that e-mail and said, no going back. It’s been almost a year now and I have passed through a period of severe POST FLYING-life depression, as normal life just couldn’t give me the same level of excitement.

I continued travelling on my own, as I still to this day reject to do any other “earthy” job. I severely miss the freedom I had once. People around me say I can not continue living like this. And I think that I can’t live in any other way!

So do I regret leaving? Yes and no.

I miss so many things, I miss laughing with new people every day, I miss making people happy. I miss my uniform, I miss the status I had and the admiration of others. I miss my cheap flight tickets and the ability to be anywhere in a matter of a day. I miss having my first morning coffee in any city I wish in the world. I miss the glitz and the glam, I miss the easy life of Dubai.

But even though I lost these, I gained so much in terms of other things we usually take for granted. I sleep well. I don’t have to use ear plugs anymore to fall asleep as any smallest sound used to keep me awake. I eat in normal timing again, and I eat well, not in a rush. I spend time with my loved ones again. I see my niece growing up, and my mom getting older. I regained my health and all the small things that actually make real life. All the things that keep your heart warm.

I will never spend the NYE in the airplane again, unless I decide to.

I will never spend my birthday on a stand-by again, waiting for rostering to put me on an overbooked night turnaround.

I will go to a city I wish to go to, with a great plan on how to spend few days there, not only few hours in a rush, supertired with blurry eyes.

I found all the self-confirmations that I made the right choice.

And just when I thought I am finally over it, someone ruined my peace. I received a call from Abu-Dhabi’s airline, ETIHAD. THEY WANT ME.

My eyes sparkled again, as I looked at my old suitcase with my last flight’s sticker from Bangkok’s airport security…CHECKED… and my thoughts wondered of to…

…maybe, just maybe, I would look great in purple?…

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