Whenever I tell people, “So, I have this blog…” generally, the first question is always, “What is it about?” My cookie cutter answer, after eight years of blogging and over ten years of flying, is short. “It’s about Flight Attendant Life.” Naturally. Contrary to popular belief, not everything needs to be complicated. 

Flight Attendant Life’ is the simplest way to synthesize the complexity we feel as aviation professionals. Of how it is to do this job. Of how much it changes and how much you change in the process. Of the sadness, the loneliness, the bliss, the wonder. Of how much you love it and hate it and crave it and are repulsed by it. Sometimes, all at the same time. It can be so good that you gush endlessly over the love you have for your jet-set life. Other times, you question how crazy you actually are for volunteering to be locked in a metal tube, engulfed by recirculated air, with three hundred strangers. AND pilots. (oh those pilots). 

The hardest part for me to understand, and what I have quietly wrestled with over the last few months, is how quickly one can swing from loving being a flight attendant to tolerating. To abhorring. To almost hating. I don’t hate my job as a corporate flight attendant. Hate is too strong of a word. Also, the guilt that ensues from even the thought of moderately disliking where I have landed in my career is intense. I’m so fucking lucky it’s ridiculous. Luck, though, always has a connection to hard-work, but still. I’m blessed. How can I be uneasy over the opportunities I have? They are so good. Too good. I worked too hard not to be “all in” and love this. Maybe, it’s just that it’s so good that it doesn’t feel real.

Layover Life in South Lake Tahoe

I’ve had it good in the past, too. Flying for Norwegian Airlines had its downs, but what an amazing experience. I find myself reminiscing over my entire career in aviation. I think about Copenhagen and hear songs that remind me of Tarifa, Spain, London, Oslo, Sweden, and Hawaii. I remember old boyfriends and the fleeting feelings of falling in love abroad. Of my Norwegian love and the Danish pilot who circles back around every few years. It’s strange not knowing how long someone will stay. It’s weird always facing an inevitable goodbye. Thankfully (and yet sadly), the callouses surrounding my heart are tougher than when I was 23.

Much has happened in my three years since going into private aviation. So much has happened in the ten years since I took my first flight attendant job. I am different and yet, when I giggle and laugh and my sparkly kid-like personality bubbles over in the silliest ways when on another layover, I know I’m still the same me. Just a better a version. I’ve grown. I’ve built confidence. I’ve found success. I feel joy. I guess that’s what most people dream and hope to discover amidst travel. 

There have been so many wonderful moments, layovers, and people in my life that it blurs together; feeling as distant as the destinations where the experiences occurred. It almost feels like someone else lived that life. How did I do all of those things? Visit all those places? Survive more red-eye flights than I can count? How did all this happen to little me? I’m not more special or cute than the next girl. The only reason I became a flight attendant is that no one else would give me a job! Not even Sees Candies!!! It’s crazy. I never thought I would be here and making such a good living doing cool stuff. No matter how disconnected or discouraged I can become over my job, I can’t help but be retain a sense of gratefulness always.

I don’t have any control over my schedule anymore, and I’m not sure how long the great job I have now will last. It’s incredibly anxiety provoking ‘not knowing,’ but I’m tired of choosing stress. So, I’ve decided that I’m NOT choosing that emotion anymore. Not in the same way that I once did. I had five weeks at home and that changed so much for me. It’s one of the reasons I decided I didn’t have time to let stress affect me. That time at home allowed me to find clarity with my goals, direction, and hope. I also became clear that, if money were no option, I wouldn’t be a corporate flight attendant anymore. At least not right now. This is not because I don’t love the job, but because I pushed myself so far into burnout that I still need to claw my way out. You might not notice that via Instagram or even when interacting with me on a personal level, but I’m tired. This ‘tired’ is deeper than the jet lag that you can eventually sleep away.

When thinking about the shift I feel toward my career, my mind begins to wander to Copenhagen and days when I was more carefree. When I held my heart more openly and hoped that the date one would turn into date two. I date a lot now, but find it to be more for entertainment’s sake and an enjoyable way to spend a layover or an afternoon than anything serious. However, this doesn’t make sense to me for the truth is that I want a family. I want a home and husband and kids and so much traditionality you will question if I’m feeling ok. You will be surprised at how flight attendant life fits me so well. I want more than only travel. I don’t judge you if you only want travel, because I think it’s travel that made me realize what is most important to me. I’m not quite to the point where family is a first priority, but I’m moving in that direction. Still, I approach dating in a bit of a cold and heartless and disconnected way. Don’t judge. I’m just very tired of goodbyes and don’t have the energy for distance. With my job as it is now, it still dictates and distracts from giving my full attention to other places.

Maybe that’s why I love being home. Even though I am still on call, when at home, I disconnect from work and reconnect to myself and my friendships. I’m more present and focused on how to build new dreams. Nothing is truly wrong with life, and I’m not complaining. It’s just that I struggle to start; whether that be a relationship, flight lessons, or book writing. The private jet always comes first. That’s not the way I want priorities to be, but for now, I’m choosing it. I see the beauty to this job, and I’m holding out to see its purpose and why it landed in my life. I didn’t want this particular job, but it’s better and easier than I ever imagined. I have never worked easier private jet trips in my entire career until these past three weeks. 

What this season of life could be teaching is patience, gratitude, and faith. My job was my passion and my sole focus. Now, it’s a tool to achieve the goals that I have set in other areas of my life. I really do love having a job that gives me not a few hours after 5pm for myself, but entire days. I use those hours to cultivate friendships, notice the beauty of nature, go to fitness classes, and feed my soul. You don’t even know how much I value time. It’s the most precious entity. I crave it. Love it. Want it.

My soul is still burnt out. I don’t even know how I managed such a hectic schedule for two years. Whatever happens from here, I believe God is watching over me and guiding the next step. I believe that because I know I shouldn’t be here. I know that because my life and “dream job” doesn’t feel real. I am blessed beyond belief…even if I’m not yet where I truly want to land.

About the Author

Hello, I’m K. J. Watts, but my friends call me Kara. I fell into the sky and have worked as International cabin crew, on private jets as a corporate flight attendant, and earned an FAA Private Pilot Certificate. Over a decade ago, I started this blog, which developed into a love for writing and a debut memoir based on Flight Attendant Life. A California native, I now live in Sydney, Australia, where I enjoy spending time with my husband, writing, and surfing.

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