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“Two thousands miles away from
These stormy skies to salty air.”
-Story of the Year

A one way flight.  My first time doing that.  First time one-way anything really.  Something a little binding about that, I suppose, and in another way, liberating.

I had been looking at flights to San Juan long before this.  Back in January when I first contacted the boat captain amidst week after week of sending in applications for SEO copywriting (apparently the only subfield in writing hiring these days), I looked into them merely as a feasibility issue.  When I got a response a couple months later, I was looking at them for real.

My AirTran flight docked in Orlando.

And so I came across AirTran, a budget US airline that provided me with a $182 flight from Grand Rapids through Orlando to San Juan.  After moving all my boxes from my father’s old apartment and a night out until 3am in Eastown (and unfortunately a Yesterdog) the night before I woke up at 8:30 and was dropped off at the Grand Rapids Airport by 10:15, only to find out that the AirTran booth is “on break” from 8:45-10:45.

Aside from a small scare in Orlando when my ticket didn’t have my continuing flight to San Juan on it, and the resulting thought that my bag wouldn’t end up in Puerto Rico with me, the trip was mostly uneventful.  I had a three-hour layover in Orlando, which consisted of a beer at the airport Outback, a $9 Whopper at the airport Burger King, and a Facebook chat with Sheylyn about her new construct in her apartment, dubbed “Fort Awesome”.

Unfortunately, the sun was already setting as we were leaving Florida, not allowing me the sky-down view of random Caribbean islands that I was looking forward to.  So, the majority of the flight, I was on me computer, while, about a half hour in, the woman in the middle seat decided it was time to start clipping her fingernails.  Kind of gross in such close proximity.

In Orlando, I had called the San Juan Hostel to assure myself a bed.  It’s something that I’d never done before, usually just showing up, and expecting that it will work out for the best.  Getting there as late as I was though, and not having many other options (only listed hostel in the city) I decided it would be a good idea.

The eastern sky during dusk.

It became pretty obvious when we came over San Juan when the city lights began appearing outside my window.  The airport was deserted when we touched down though, so much so that I would have mistaken it for shut down had it not been for the crowd from our flight.

My bag showed up just fine, and after a couple minutes reattaching my carry-on to the greater pack, I got a cab outside of the empty terminal.  Unfortunately, the driver had no idea where the hostel was, much less what a hostel was.  Even with my iPhone GPS to show him exactly where it was, he was hesitant to drive.  Finally, I ended up having to call the hostel, and someone on the staff gave him the correct directions that he was looking for.

So, 10 minutes and $25 later, right around 10:30 pm, I was at the San Juan International Hostel.

Benjamin Williams

Hi all, my name is Ben. I’m a native Michigander with a passion for human culture and new places, and more than that, new experiences. I have degrees in archaeology and writing, pursuing a career in the latter. However, I never quite lost that fascination for archaeological theory. For the past 11 years, I’ve been living and travelling between Asia, Europe, and North America, documenting ancient sites and the peoples who built them, and then adapting them into practical archaeological travel information at

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