Pacific Northwest Airplane Window Photo

Amidst the darkness, I sat silently, feeling the forward momentum of the aircraft propel the jet down the runway and on a trajectory to cross The Atlantic. Somewhere between 2.5yrs, a leave for fatigue, hundreds of long-haul flights, a couple of situations of sexual harassment, wonderful colleagues, amazing friendships, a few pounds gained, incredible experiences, I was losing hope. Or I already had lost it. Amidst the darkness— with a crew member on the jumpseats to my right and left— tears slid softly down my California suntanned cheeks. With each drop of salty liquid, I begged the universe to take me anywhere but here. I begged the universe to help me escape this company and this place. I begged the universe to make all of this stop. The destinations no longer seemed appealing. It could be Stockholm or Stockton, California for all I cared. I just wanted to go home. I just wanted a home. I just wanted a life. I just wanted everything that I couldn’t make this life give me. 

Travel Blogger goal setting goals computer

Having these thoughts over a job as wonderful as mine doesn’t stop with just tears, sadness, and frustration, but it also includes guilt. I feel guilty because I should love this life entirely. I’m one of the lucky ones to be here and to be doing this. I don’t live a normal life; having access to places like regular people have access to a grocery store. I live with regular access to an international existence. “Where do you go after LA?” he asked me. “Oh— I have to go to Oslo.” “You have to go to Oslo???” as he shook his head, smiled, and pulled me close.” I laughed. Yeah. I mean, it’s cool. I will always think it’s cool. I just emotionally and physically can’t keep the pace. My goals have shifted and I’m ready to go, but held here at this company by a fair amount of fear and financial obligation.

Before I began flying, I remember throwing myself onto my knees, along a dirt road—alone and in utter darkness— telling the universe to please give me something that would save me. To give me something to hope for and love again. And then flying happened. And now, I beg the universe to take away or change the one thing that has given me so much happiness, hope, and purpose? How can this be??? Anywhere but here, I pray. It’s heartbreaking when what you love becomes who you hate. 

Kara mulder

As I pray this, you are praying to have a life like mine; of international travel and flight attendant trips. I’m sorry I can’t live up to everything that it is and all that it isn’t. My humanity is showing quite regularly these days. I feel guilty because I have the life that you want. I wonder if I am thankful enough. I wonder if I’m just not working hard enough at being happy. I wonder where the hell I went so wrong and why I didn’t catch this until the point when it hurts so much. 

I just want to go back to when I could handle the shit of this airline; when the layovers and the people were enough to counteract all of the negatives. I just want to go back to when my rose colored glasses colored everything beautiful. I just want to go home. I want to escape you, Airline. I’ve put EVERYTHING into this, and I feel like the reward is— I’m broke, fatigued, and constantly afraid anything I write here will get me fired. How’s that for dream life?? 

Kara Flight Attendant Blog

I feel like I’ve betrayed the one thing that has been so loyal to me over all these years— flight attendant life. All flight attendant life is not equal. I’ve simply grown out of where I’ve been. Somehow, I and you must trust the pain of change and discomfort are pushing us into our destiny. 


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.

  1. I have been following your blog for quite some time now and it breaks my heart to read this…I was hoping you would get a second wind or have your strength rejuvenated. Are you leaving for good? 🙁 I am actually waiting for my final interview with an airline this Tuesday and your blog has inspired me and has opened my eyes as well, so for that, thank you. <3

  2. I don’t know how old you are….or who you are beyond being a FA….but I think what you are describing is depression. So my guess is that you have been so busy working toward this singular goal, got it, and now regret it, while issues you may have had continued to be in your suitcase the whole time. Just a guess. I don’t think you’ll be let go if anyone sees this from your employer…because depression is an illness and it would be discriminatory to say the least. Have you ever slowed down long enough to figure out what it is you really want to do? Would you rather a position on the ground, in one place you could call home? Are you just burned out? Would you consider some counseling to help sort things out? I do not think you are alone…no matter what career path we take, I think it is few among us who are truly happy all the time. I went into social work over 25 years ago. With older adults. Many of them are wonderful; many days I know my organization is making a positive difference in someone’s life…but still I am at a point where often I feel like I have had enough…and I look forward most to coming home. But one reaches an age where they simply can’t quit. There are responsibilities, bills that must be paid to keep us going and keep a roof over our heads and food in our tummies and our pup’s tummy too. And we need a car to get to work…I don’t know how we go on…but we do. If it matters any, I have the utmost respect for you that work in the cabin. I know how hard you work; I know how people have changed over time and are rude and disrespectful and many are slobs. I know your work is harder than people give you credit for and sometimes that includes your own airline. I suspect if not for FAA regulations airlines wouldn’t hesitate to cut crew…Please take care of yourself and know that others care about you. When I see a plane overhead I always look and I will send good thoughts your way in case you’re flying over CLE. Sending hugs.

  3. Maybe all you need is a break. Some time off to find your center again and recoup. I am going through something similar, maybe not as jet-setting as yours, but I have been living in China for almost 8 years and my rosy glasses are shattered. I feel exhausted, lost my patience, and I am so weary of being the odd (wo)man out.
    But it is tough and scary to take a break. I had to take semi one because I was laid off by the end of march, and now I have a job and I am not entirely happy with it but its a paycheck. And I keep telling myself that I should hold on for a bit longer while I keep trying to figure out what I want to do next.
    So– hang in there, try to enjoy, take a break. No one will judge! Be kind to yourself

  4. Right there with you girl. I’m feeling that way about being a flight attendant lately and the guilt is unreal. If i leave my family doesn’t get the benefits anymore, will i regret not being able to go wherever I want when I want? When in reality I know it’s not really whenever I want because we’re saddled with exhausting schedules and after awhile just want to be home in our free time which removes the one real perk this job offers-being able to be anywhere else. I hope the private life fares better for you!

  5. Hey girly, I’ve been reading so many of your posts lately, especially the ones like this. I’m a flight attendant for a major, if not THE major Middle Eastern airline. I can tell you with my heart of hearts that you are not alone with these feelings. I live a life that a million girls drram of, and all I want to do is go home. I miss my mom, my boyfriend and my puppy. Dinner in Rome, lunch in Sydney, breakfast in Tokyo, I’d trade it all for a McDonald’s in my hometown. But for financial reasons I can’t just go home. But I feel your pain, and I underatand. Rather it be money, blogging, status quo (I live for this one) it’s important to think about you and your happiness. All good things must come to an end. It allows the new good things to come in right? Good luck to you, and maybe we will meet one day in the skys!

  6. Kara, I wish I can just give you a hug! Don’t feel guilty for how you feel. You have the right to feel and how we feel can always change throughout our lives. Maybe you’ve done your time and it is time to have a “normal” life and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. A job does not define you and you are not obligated to devote your time to something that you no longer enjoy as much as before. I hope and wish you feel peace and freedom soon.

  7. Happened into your blog. Amazing. I also want to hug you!
    Since you left the airline. I am hoping it is ok to ask you: Did you have a place to call home? Did the company give you an apartment or housing for your belongings? For yourself? I know you are gone on the job often, but those “three days back at home” do those exhist? A constant location with pictures of loved ones, your fav shampoo and maybe a pet? Also, FA is so well paying, but you mentioned being broke. Do you have to use up all of your earnings because of company policy and demands? It that a fine print that gets people?

    I ask in all seriousness. I am naïve to that life you had. I am also so curious while on my search, but I am feeling drawn to this career for the financial reasons, security, benifits, perks, and because it seems like a blast!

    I felt every word you wrote, you are a great writer. I love to write, and want to make music. The entertainment industry seems parallel to the ups and downs of FA life.
    To be honnest, I have expierenced so many highs and lows. Deperession that creeps in because of the polarity in me too.
    I want my life passion without the loneliness, I want a family, but also financial stability and excitement. Regular sceduals make me cringe.
    I would love stability without staleness too. Maybe these days being a human, woman, in 2016 Is overwhelming and unfulfilling. Everything has to shimmer to be sold to us, so distractions become the very thing we seek out of habbit. In our humanity, we won’t be satisfied with a constant. Even though the only constant is change. So we are left wondering what we do since we always change. There is no cure for change, only inner contentment. Life will always have it’s fine-print terms and conditions, no matter what page we sign, in our monumentous choices.
    I hope you obtain the contentment that we all search for!

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