Nothing has paved my path to where I stand today more than my mother applying for a job with an airline. To say I am blessed is such an extreme understatement; one simple adjective cannot begin to sum up all that I have gained growing up in the “Non-Rev Life”. Adventure

My journey as a non-rev began in elementary school. My mom, after working as a full-time stay-at-home mom for most of her life, informed me one morning on our drive to Kellison Elementary, that soon I wouldn’t be so jealous of my friends who were taking trips to the beach every summer with their families (something I complained about often). I remember it clearly. She left me with just that. I was immediately intrigued; but seeing as I was only less than ten years old, I was quite used to unanswered questions.

That car ride was really all the information I was given for some time… then there was the first trip. My mom began telling me about this restaurant she had wanted to try but, unfortunately, it was all the way up in the state of Washington. I nodded along before being left in full shock when her story ended in, “Would you like to go with me tomorrow?” The next day was a school day for me, but she took me out anyway. I was speechless. Here I am, riding on a plane, which I didn’t do often, and I was pulled out of school for it. What a day! We flew to Washington, got a quick, yet delicious, bite to eat, then flew home. My world had shed its skin and was reborn right in front of me. Soon we were going all over the United States on weekends.

We never did anything extravagant, just inexpensive, exciting, short trips. I thought it was the norm for all kids my age! I laugh now thinking back at my obliviousness. Soon the day trips to Washington for lunch turned into trips to Germany and Amsterdam simply to see Neuschwanstein and taste the cheeses. I was living an extraordinary childhood without even realizing it and the best part of it all, the flights were free. I was learning to make the most out of every day. Instead of watching cartoons, I was asking my mom if we could go somewhere new again and discover what the world had yet to show me.  Lo and behold, I was far from jealous of the trips to the beaches I had watched my friends go on year after year: my mom’s prophecy had come true.

Today, I am in my second year at Missouri State University. My major is International Business and I am minoring in German. My two short days in Munich as a child led me to make the decision of becoming bilingual. I have been saving money my whole life for trips here and there when I find myself able to still make use of the benefits extended to me. This past summer I went with my university to Southeast Asia for half a month; something I would have never been brave enough to do if it weren’t for all the experience I had under my belt with traveling. I am working toward getting a job that will allow me to travel on someone else’s dime after graduation to make use of my combined passion for business and the environment.

Albeit my big business dreams, I will never give up traveling for pure enjoyment. There is nothing that gets my blood rushing more than the simultaneous feeling of wonder and culture shock when you land in an unfamiliar country. I will not stop exploring until my body physically will not allow me to, and that is something I can only thank the non-rev life for.

     💙💙💙

Catherine Brand received an Honorable Mention for the #NonRevSpiritAward (2018 spring semester).

Catherine is a Missouri State University student majoring in International Business Management and minoring in German. The daughter of an American Airlines employee, Catherine grew up traveling internationally, and after few short days in Munich decided to become bilingual.

What Catherine loved about growing up a part of the #NonRevLife was being able to experience the world that she otherwise couldn’t. She’s a saver and continues to make international trips happen for herself and takes advantage of travel just because she can. Good luck in your degree, Catherine!

Author: Emily (@ID90 Travel)

Emily is the Content Marketing Manager here at ID90 Travel. An avid non-rev flyer (she grew up in the industry), and passionate private pilot, Emily can’t get enough of all things aviation. When not writing awesome ID90 Travel content she can be found on a Texas patio, being one with nature, or annoying her ID90T co-workers with her many, many, crowdsourcing questions.