For those of us who don't live on the east coast of the United States, flying home to the States from Central or Eastern Europe can be a royal pain. Once, I flew home to Oklahoma from Eastern Europe (Poland), and it took me a little over 24 hours. Another time, I flew home from Athens, Greece and it took me around 30 hours. Why? Because unless you're willing to pay upwards of thousands of dollars, you will be hard-pressed to find a direct flight from that far east to that far west. Usually, it involves flying somewhere in central Europe first, stopping for a layover....then flying somewhere in Western Europe, stopping for a layover...then flying somewhere on the east coast of the United States, stopping for a layover....you get the picture. It's not fun.
I've developed the opinion that it's worth it (and still cheaper, in the end) to make a little 2-3 day stopover in the UK or Belgium and then fly directly home from there, to break up the travel time and relieve some of the airport-craze-induced stress. When I've taken that approach in the past, I've usually been able to find a direct flight from Western Europe to Dallas, Texas, which is just a 30 minute flight from Oklahoma. It does add some expense to arrange the extra mini-trip (especially if you stay in London, a city which always seems to empty my bank account, no matter how careful I am....thank you, GBP), but if you know someone in the area who is willing to house you, you get free lodging and end up feeling so much more refreshed in the end. It's never a good feeling reuniting with family and friends at the airport - whom you haven't seen in several months - and looking like you've just been run over by a truck, after having spent the past day and a half either sleeping in a plane seat or passed out on the airport floor, uncomfortably intertwined with your luggage so as to protect it from wandering thieves.
If "home" for you is NYC or D.C., then forget everything I just said, because you can pretty much find a direct flight to your city from anywhere in the world. ....or so it seems to a girl who's spent the better part of the past 3 years wondering when Oklahoma City's Will Rogers Airport will be considered among the ranks of JFK or Washington Dulles. The answer to that is: never.
And speaking of Belgium, I took this photo the last time I was there (a shot of Grote Markt in Brussels).
And that's the end of that!