At the end of June 1999, the teacher of the 6th grade in a local elementary school near Temse spoke to his students: “Today is your last day of elementary school, during the past 6 years me and my colleagues did our best to give you a certain baggage. From next year on you will be heading towards the airport and choose certain directions to get there. By the end of high school you will arrive at the airport and have to choose your destination. Some of you will start flying directly to their first job, others will first take a shuttle to another terminal before they take off. I wish you all the best!”
I think this is a very valuable message. I have been looking backward to that story at every crossroad of decisions in my life, realizing that from that very moment on, it was me giving my very own directions to my life: just me, my backpack full of basic skills, no clear plan and a compass.
Getting to the airport
After elementary school I set off to the airport. I wasn’t familiar with those roads, luckily my parents guided me along the way with clear instructions. I didn’t always take the high road, but I can say I cruised to the airport without any obstacles. I guess traffic back then wasn’t just that bad as nowadays.
Connection to another terminal
Once arrived at the airport, I decided to take a shuttle to another terminal. At the other terminal, there were many more connections to places I couldn’t even imagine at the time. I was looking forward to exchange experiences and skills with other people and to improve my knowledge by attending classes at the University of Antwerp, where I eventually became a commercial engineer. At University I also met people organizing this mysterious flight 2308…
On the 23rd of August 2010, after having gained some more information, I checked in for flight 2308 with ORMIT Airlines. On that day, I started a 26 month journey in a small propeller plane together with 11 other motivated young travelers and some staff members. Although this journey is very personal and something you definitively should experience yourself, I can prevail some well kept secrets.
I would say I experienced the journey as an island-hopping cruise where the cabin crew drops you on several islands along the way. Personally, I have always been warmly accepted by the islanders and worked with them on challenging projects. I never felt left abandoned however, as every now and then the cabin crew stopped by to check up on me and provide me with advice and help when needed, they called it coaching. We also received trainings: special days where we were allowed to leave the island and meet all the other passengers and one or two experts teaching us something on what we could apply at the island. Moreover, on special and often nightly occasions we came together with all passengers to discuss our day to day situations with each other, this is what we called intervision sessions.
The next trip
During those past 2 years I learned so much about myself, other people and the several islands I have been to, that I now have a much clearer view on where I want to go to next. I am quite sure my next stop won’t be my last one, but I am pretty sure it will be a step closer to where I finally want to go to. It is even possible I never reach a final destination and just keep on travelling, looking for great opportunities along the road. After all, life is a journey and it’s up to you to decide where you are heading to at each stage of this journey. I truly believe that finding your way starts at choosing at each intersection the road you want to go to, guided by your own thoughts, experiences and emotions.