It was a big deal when I went on my UK/Ireland adventure in 2006. I was 19, had never really travelled anywhere before, and I was going by myself.
To be completely honest, I don’t really remember how I decided I was going to take the trip. I mean, I remember that I pretty much always wanted to go to that part of the world, but I guess a switch must have just flipped for me that made me go, “it’s going to happen now.” I don’t even know if I would go on a trip like that by myself anymore,* so it’s really fascinating to me how eager and willing I was to go.
I planned it all out like a pro, booking B&Bs and guest houses along the way, scheduling bus trips between cities and so on. I had pages of printed itineraries and plans. It was actually pretty damn impressive.
Of course my parents were worried. Why wouldn’t they be? Their teenage daughter was about to leave home and explore a few countries halfway around the world by herself for six weeks. I would be terrified if I had a kid and they decided they were doing something similar.
But while there was definitely no stopping me, there was ample time to give me advice before my departure. Things like don’t hang your purse on the back of your chair to keep it from being stolen, and you can use storefront windows to check if someone may be walking too closely behind you. My dad left me with some words of wisdom about how I should try not to get kidnapped by a taxi driver. That was useful (see: horrifying).
Anyway, the time eventually came, and after saying goodbye to my mom approximately 47 times, I made my way to the security lineup at the airport. I had only been through security a couple of times before, and I have a bad habit of always feeling SUPER SUSPICIOUS when I go through any sort of security anything, so I was a bit nervous.
The airport security guy waved me through the metal detector. I stepped through cautiously. It beeped.
“Come on over here,” he said, motioning me toward him. He was in his early-mid 30s with curly shoulder length brown hair and glasses.
I complied, standing in front of him.
Security Guy started waving his metal detection wand around my body. He looked me up and down a few times. I smiled nervously.
“You have beautiful eyes.”
“You have beautiful eyes. Gorgeous. They’re captivating.”
“Oh, thank you.”
And I must have smiled (nervously), because then he said:
“And a beautiful smile. Damn, girl, where are you off to?”
“Can I come with you?”
“Haha.” (That’s me, laughing nervously.)
“Will you marry me?”
“You’re beautiful. Let’s elope somewhere. It can be London. It can be anywhere. What do you say?”
And then Security Guy stared at me expectantly.
“Haha.” (Now laughing NERVOUSLY.)
“Let’s run away together.”
“HAHAHA!” (VERY NERVOUS LAUGHTER.) “Okay, well I’ve gotta go, so bye!”
“The offer’s open!”
And then he watched every step of me walking away. Very carefully.
Guys, there was something in his eye.
The remainder of my trip was uneventful when it came to creepy guys and scary incidents. I had the time of my life in the UK and Ireland. So good that I would decide to move to Glasgow a few years later and forever change my life.
Lesson learned: creeps are everywhere.
P.S. Happy Christmas/Holidays! I hope you don’t encounter any creep-o security guards if you’re travelling to see loved ones this week (or ever)!
*Yeah, I totally would.