osprey with twig flying in cloudless sky over nest

Flying the Nest: My Journey to California

Flying the nest is a big part of growing up. I was 18 when I flew the nest, and it’s hard to believe that was twenty years ago.

It was August 2001, and I felt so grown up as I got ready to travel. I had just returned from a two weeks trip to Nigeria to visit family and friends because I believed in the importance of returning home.


Now it was time to make another trip. This time the trip would be longer. I was going away to University. Going to University was an adventure in itself, going to university in another continent was another adventure I was about to experience.

Saying Goodbye And flying the nest

Before I could blink my eyes, it was a day to my departure. Since we lived in Ndola and the main International airport was in Lusaka, that meant I had to either travel by road or by air to Lusaka. Well we did the latter, yes my Papa was coming with me. He was going to drop me of in California and then head to Denver for official meetings.

So the eve before my departure from Zambia, we drove as a family to the Ndola Airport. Which at the time was a small building. Once we got there, I had to say goodbye to my Mama, sister and brother. Now I don’t think I had really thought about that moment until it hit me that I was going far away from my loved ones. My mother and siblings were sobbing by the time I had finished hugging them.

As I climbed unto to the small plane, tears began running down my cheeks. By the time I was on the plane and on my seat, they had grown into loud sobs. My Papa tried to comfort me. But as I looked outside the window at the rest of my family waving at me, I knew I was leaving behind a huge part of me.

close up of peacock

ā€œEducation is unfolding the wings of head and heart together. The job of a teacher is to push the students out of the nest to strengthen their wings.ā€

ā€• Amit Ray, Walking the Path of Compassion

The flight

The next evening my Father and I were at the Lusaka International Airport, ready to board our flight. Our first flight was to the UK, and it was terrific to get upgraded to the business class courtesy of the airline. As we boarded the plane, I met a former classmate headed to Texas. It felt good to see a friend also making the journey of independence and flying the nest. Our Parents and teachers had prepared us for this moment.

I enjoyed the flight. The seats were super comfortable, we had good food, and I loved the pink luxury bag filled with essential toiletries.

Before I knew it the first half and shortest part of our journey was over as we highlighted the plane, and made our way through the airport. We had a few hours layover, and we still our UK visa from the year before. So we decided to go and visit someone special to our family. Mrs Eve Wilmot who my father called Mom, had lived in Nigeria many years ago. She and her late Husband were a big part of my Father’s life. In fact he had lived with them in Lagos before he himself had flown the nest and gone to the US to study.

We had a wonderful time with my Grandma Wilmot, as we read scripture and reminisced on the past. Before I left, she sent me out with blessings on my new journey. To think that years ago she had done the same thing with my Father. I felt honored to be in the presence of such a great woman.

Grandma Wilmot and I

One thought on “Flying the Nest: My Journey to California

  1. Wonderful post, Bethany! Iā€™m looking forward to reading the next chapter to this memory.

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