Why I Quit: Leaving “The International Airline”


I don’t even know when I wrote what you are about to read or where I had planned to publish it, but I found it while organizing content for my book project. Originally it was titled ‘Missing A Lot.’ Although I explain how much my job as a flight attendant makes me miss out on happenings, I only feel that what I will be missing soon is my international airline—even the worst parts of it. Scheduling, jet lag, commuting. Ok, maybe not commuting, but, leaving is actually a fairly heartbreaking decision. And, as you keep asking on Instagram or in person why I’m quitting, I really don’t know what to tell you. I know I don’t owe you any explanation. It’s my life. Remember that, “It’s your life,” when you face a turning point. You don’t really have to explain yourself to anyone. I’m not sure if the best decisions can be explained, because gut intuition has a way of failing to find words. Sometimes, life just calls us to make decision, otherwise we end up missing a lot; missing everything. I don’t know if this blog will be an explanation as to why I’m leaving (because there is always a lot to a decision like this), but maybe you need to read it. That is why it’s published here. That is why you are here.

With love—Kara


Well traveled.

Going Everywhere.

Sounds amazing, right? Sounds amazing to live ‘the flight attendant life.’ 



But, are these terms and phrases for one who country hops as frequently as “normals” drive to work simply code for ‘missing a lot?’ Because, as much as you witness as a world traveler, it’s amazing how much you miss.

You miss weddings.

You miss Christmases.

You miss Hanukkahs

You miss birthdays.

You miss home, your kids, your boyfriend or husband.

You constantly feel jet lag and you constantly feel like something is missing. But, you know if you give up this cabin crew gig, it’s just going to be one more thing added to that ‘list of miss.’ You’re going to miss your current career. It’s a lifestyle, and you have become so used to constantly packing and unpacking that switching to settled seems like a mountain you never want to begin to climb. Gosh—it would be great at the top, though…

Your heart has been captivated by the world and this fly life. It sometimes is quite fly. A quick trip to Tel Aviv. The typical Miami red eye with a day rest. The overnights in London and very fun crew outings in Copenhagen make you say, “Ok— I can hang. I’m not sure if I’m exactly happy, but I’m not exactly unhappy.”

Kara Mulder flight attendant


Is the desire for happiness simply a selfish first world quest? Some in this world are simply trying to survive…

Some days, it does feel like a game of survival; this flying world. You are so tired of the pilots, so fed up with your cabin crew, so disgusted by scheduling that, ‘You can’t even…” A few weeks ago, I stopped bringing it all up— the everything that was breaking me in my world of going— because it would all come pouring out in a torrent of tears, ellipsised by words and explanations.

Elijah, my hot pilot friend, tells me, “Kara, you gotta leave. Your job is killing you.” I look back at his bright blue eyes with a hallow brown eyed gaze. It’s not killing me, but if I had a dollar for how many times I’ve told someone this week that, “I’m just so tired,” I would definitely have a lot more dollars in my bank account.

I get to see everything, and yet, it feels like I’m missing everything. I’m missing everything that matters. I’m falling steadfastly into a world of complete fun and loving it and cherishing it, but constantly wondering when I get to be home. Like, really home.

Kara Mulder Flight Attendant Writer
Live somewhere, you know? Does two days a month count?

About the Author Kara

Curious. Bubbly. Creative. Curating a life I don't need an escape from and inspiring you to do the same.

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Leave a Comment:

Debi Leary says November 1, 2016

Hi Kara, it’s been over a year since we worked together and I can relate to how hard the desicion is to leave. I miss everyday the adventures and the crews that were as close as family, as I had to leave was due to family obligations & an elderly mother. It is almost impossible to have both a F/A career and roots and responsibilities at home. Granted there are many that can handle the pressures to do both with fanesse but I do believe in time it will wear on them also. You have so much spirt don’t let the flames be diminished, life’s to short. Keep the memories close to your heart as you where put there for a reason. Love and only wish you the best. Fly safe. Debi Leary former Long Haul

Marsha Elliott says November 1, 2016

Good bye Kara. If you have gypsy blood and wander lust, you will long to return

Kathy bird says December 1, 2016

Why don’t you try to fly with a main line where scheduling is not as difficult? Your airline is known for its long trips and scheduling nightmares and I wonder why you would not try another especially when so many others are hiring?

Karissa @withourbest says June 20, 2017

Wow. Kara. I have been reading your blog for the last few hours. I am seriously feeling everything you are feeling. I have been an FA for 10 years (2 airlines). I am trying to make the decision whether or not to leave. MAN! It is the hardest, most heartbreaking decision of my life. I might email you to ask you a few things. We’ve got a lot in common right now!

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