DAILY PROMPT: COME FLY WITH ME
Share a story about the furthest you’ve ever traveled from home
If you live in Australia and you want to go somewhere else, you know it’s going to be a looong way. (Unless you chicken out and opt for New Zealand, which is like visiting your cousin instead of the man/woman of your dreams.)
So the furthest I’ve travelled from home is 10,562 miles (Sydney to London). Plus a bit, given that I didn’t sit at Heathrow for two months.
This isn’t unusual for Australians (I’ve done it three times), but it does say something about the national character. Pragmatism? Or maybe just sheer insanity, because why else would you subject yourself to 24+ hours locked in a tin can 30,000 feet above anything that constitutes comfort, stimulation, halfway decent nutrition, safety, or the good earth? But I guess it’s a bit like childbirth: once presented with the end product, you block out the agonies of the process – at least until the next time.
My first venture into the unknown had, obviously, the virtue of novelty. But let me assure you, my friends, it doesn’t last. Hot towels and free meals can only get you so far. On the second trip, the seats were touted as the widest in the air. Possibly true, but supremely irrelevant to someone with more height than width: cattle class passengers are assumed to be 5’5” max. And when the most memorable moment of that incarceration was the appearance of a pink lamington for breakfast…what more can I say?
The highlight of any long-haul flight is the transit stop: that glorious moment when they launch you on a route march through tunnels and roped mazes to an approximation of terra firma, presumably hoping to restore your faith in them. (See? We’re very considerate!) But despite a fleeting flash of relief, it doesn’t work. Clocks might say it’s the middle of the night, but you know it’s really tomorrow morning, you’ve had no sleep, and fresh air is a dim memory now held at bay behind a wall of glass.
For inveterate shoppers, this may be the time to stock up on all those things you don’t want except that they’re duty-free, and for inveterate smokers, it means further incarceration, this time in a very small, unventilated room usually with glass walls, only lacking the moving arrows and flashing signs that say ‘Losers’. For everyone else, it’s a flurry of activity, a further (unspecified) period of boredom, and a second flurry of activity involving the whole rigmarole of passport and security checks yet again as they squeeze you back into the tin can.
Would I do it again? In a heartbeat – provided I arm myself with sleeping pills, and win lotto so that I can travel business class.
And finally, here’s a piece of travel trivia for you. US Customs and Border Protection confiscates thousands of Kinder Eggs every year. They’re banned. Too dangerous, apparently.