The Long Haul To Love Via Australia

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The first few minutes of the flight are exciting. It’s a struggle just to sit still in the seat. Nine months of waiting has finally landed with a big, fat thud on my cool new suitcase, that can split into two bags of exactly the same size so I can load it up with souvenirs, or, even better, a couple pair of extra shoes. This is how the “Trip of a lifetime” begins.

Dallas/Fort Worth to Sydney, Australia, the second longest direct flight in the world. The Flight Tracker scares the shit out of me. Really? Halfway around the planet? Only 15 hours and 41 minutes left? All of it over the ocean? Xanax. Thank God for Xanax.

The trip turned out to be everything a good travel adventure should be: Fun, exciting, stressful, and full of wondering and personal discoveries. I could lay it all out here, but nobody would read it. A blog is too short a medium to share something as huge as a “Trip of a lifetime.” I’ll break some things down later, once I’ve digested a little more, and I’ll share it as I can. I used to do some travel writing, so there’s a chance I can string together a few sentences that summarize an event or two. In the mean time, here’s the rough cut.

Sydney-The Opera House-The Harbor Bridge-(Kick Ass Flat Whites)-The Blue Mountains-Uluru/Ayers Rock-(Reverence)-Cairns-The Great Barrier Reef-(Swimming with sharks)-Palm Cove-(Ahhh)-Rainforest-Melbourne-Cricket-Penguins-Koalas and Kangaroos-Sydney-Climbing the Harbor Bridge-(Wow)-Home.

Time Frame:                            Three weeks.

Air Travel:                              Six flights.

Tour Buses:                            Too many.

Miles Walked:                         50

Pair of shoes ditched:              2

Hotels:                                    Five, one of which was particularly scurvy.

New Friends:                          Dozens.

Questions about Trump:     Hundreds.

Magic:                                        Every. Single. Day.

Quick summary: Once you discover travel is simply a way of meeting yourself in other people in a different venue, (the simplified version) you get to experience the real deal. We are all the same. We are all love. Travel Safely in the new year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Epic Flight Meets Major Mortification

 

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The only thing worse than wedging yourself into an economy seat for 15 hours across the Pacific is:

1) Thinking major dental work two weeks before was a good idea.

2) Half a dozen really upset infants.

3) Did I mention the economy seat?

 

First, is there really anyone over the age of say, twelve, whose ass when seated is 17” or less? Enough said. At least I scored a window seat. My traveling Buddy was stuck in the middle between me, and a really nice woman on the aisle who said, “Don’t worry about getting to the bathroom, I never sleep.” She was stone cold coma within 30 minutes of take off with a blanket over her head.

An infant contingent was aboard. All seated within a few rows, and everyone knows one crying baby creates many crying babies. Seated in the row directly in front, was a woman, her small child, and an infant in a carrier. A long overdue diaper change permeated the entire cabin, but the majority drifted conveniently over the seat right into my face.

My face, which had lost its sense of humor because two weeks earlier, I believed my new dentist when she said, “Three crowns at once is no big deal.”

I was desperate to sleep, and the Vicadin, Xanax, Excedrin PM cocktail had failed leaving me wide-awake, miserable, and a little mean. I complained non-stop about the smell coming from the row in front and my suspicion that the baby’s mother had given her bourbon so she’d sleep. And I was loud.

Finally, after 10 hours or so, I drifted off into some kind of restless sleep. I might have remained there if the little girl behind me hadn’t screamed at the top of her lungs in the throes of a night terror. I was done. Fried. Unhinged.

I climbed over the top of our unconscious row mate, went to the back of the plane, and struck up a conversation with a flight attendant. My keen interest in her job was enough of a distraction that I lost focus on my throbbing jaw. She showed me the sleeping quarters for the flight crew, and I was all in. It was like summer camp up there. All that was missing was a roaring fire and marshmallows.

Note: This is how the job thing starts for me. Next thing you know, I’m applying for a job I’ll later end up hating, but the excitement in that moment is intoxicating.

Morning came and with it the descent and landing. The worst was over. Not. I stood up and stretched and got a good look at the woman in the row in front. She seemed familiar. In fact she was. When she spoke it all came back. “You’re Robin from (insert name of workplace here) right?” This was a woman I’d worked closely with a few years earlier. Originally from Australia, she’d been kind enough to bring me back of pair of sheepskin boots when she went home for a visit; something I don’t imagine was easy to drag back to the U.S. I am a total shit heel.

I learned something from this experience.

  • Noise canceling headphones.
  • No dental work. No drugs. Too bad about the sleeping.
  • Pay the extra money for a better seat. Sell your big-ticket items if necessary.
  • Keep your thoughts, opinions, and ranting to yourself. You never know who is within earshot.

 

How’s it going in your world ?