Because of non-rev life, I have grown up with the incredible opportunity of seeing and exploring a multitude of countries and cultures. Doing so carved a significant path in my career choice of Architecture.

Long before I was aware of how unique my life was, I was putting my toes in the sandy beaches of Cancun and trying to ski at the top of the Alps in Switzerland. Throughout my life, I have been fascinated by my English heritage, and although when I was little the hustle and bustle of London was fun to see, as I grew so did my desire to feel a part of where I traveled.  My Nanny was from Derby, England.  It is where the Rolls Royce engines were originally made and because they were used in the planes in WWII, it was a highly active place of blackouts and bombings during the war.  Growing up hearing so many stories of England (like how my Nanny met my granddad, an injured Army Ranger) made for an incredible visit to the house she grew up in, her church and even the pub she frequented. Yes, even though she had Alzheimer’s, she remembered to tell us to stop by the pub for a pint!

This world was made possible through my mom’s love of her flight attendant job.  An amazing opportunity and an introduction to a world I would never have seen without the airline benefits. When I was younger my older brothers and I would join my mom on her flights and layovers. This was great fun and although we didn’t get much sleep, it was worth it to see the castles in Scotland and tulips in Holland. My mother grew up with an interest and a gift for art and thus made certain all our travels incorporated visits to museums. The works of the world’s art masters came to life for us, and when my mom would go on trips without us, she would bring home books written about museums through the eyes of children.  One of my favorites is about the architecturally stunning Musee d’Orsay in Paris, which resides inside an 1897 railway station.  I do believe it’s sights like these that paved the path to my interest in design. From Monet’s home and garden to the Cliffs of Moher, I’ve gotten to experience beauty in all corners of the world.

Years later, when my mother was going through chemotherapy, I helped out by leading a children’s camp she designed called the Art Palette.  I was able to show the camper’s ways of exploring art through their own imaginations and could also tell them about the art masters and museums of the places I had visited, just like my mom had done for me.

Mom encouraged us all to do semesters abroad and I set out on mine next term.  I will go to Genova, Italy and look forward to traveling extensively while I am there.  The school will take us throughout Italy and on time off we will explore the rest of Europe.  I am truly excited as being the youngest child of an airline family I have grown up knowing there is so much to see.

My parents met in the 1970’s, in what is constantly described as “love at first flight”. They met at LGA airport and although dad was an audio tech for CBS sports at the time, he loved flying so much that he held a private pilot’s license. Even after my father passed away, my mom would tell me stories of their adventures in the sky.  The airline family truly set a beautiful example of caring.

Having the opportunities of growing up in the airlines is best described as magnificently sensory.  It encompasses seeing what one could never imagine: tasting foods and delicacies of many cultures, hearing the beautiful music of languages and touching the many hands of friendships made. As I continue to reach out to the world around me, I feel immensely grateful for the life that comes with being a part of the airline family.

     💙💙💙

Ashley Seiderman is the winner of the $1,500 #NonRevSpiritAward for the 2018 spring semester.

The daughter of an American Airlines (formerly US Airways) flight attendant, Ashley is a Clemson University student majoring in Architecture and minoring in Sustainability. Growing up in an aviation-passionate family (her father was a private pilot) Ashley’s parents even met at the LGA airport and claim it was “love at first flight”!

Ashley was always encouraged by her childhood non-rev adventures and brought what she learned from them to her studies and volunteer opportunities. Thank you for submitting your essay, Ashley! We can’t wait to hear what Genova, Italy (your study abroad adventure) brings next term!

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.