J is for Jetsetting

I believe that, at some point, every one feels the overwhelming need to hop on a plane and vamoose. In light of recent events, perhaps rational thought has more potential to suppress such urges. Though, these events still don’t stop a girl from dreaming.

There is nothing like a nice overseas holiday. Within a few hours, you are transported to a world so vastly different, yet vaguely similar to the one you live in. Even countries that are supposedly “similar” are practically worlds away. Though, it makes me wonder whether the cultural experiences that you have on your overseas holidays are as authentic as they are made out to be.

Even the prospect of a holiday is exciting. You are literally leaving your life behind and arriving at a new, but temporary, one. If things are, perhaps, not going as well as you had hoped, leaving your life behind looks pretty darn good. The trap that I fall into, though, is that I think that if I had the money to afford a vacation—if I committed myself to leaving my life behind—the whole act of doing so would somehow miraculously fix every worry I could possibly have.

Sure, the holiday gives you new experiences and happiness and everything is great while you are away, but those worries are still there, they’re just on the outer—they rap on the doors of your consciousness, impatient for the opportunity to cross the threshold. I think this is why a lot of people end up extending their trips to something more permanent—to somehow keep those problems at bay. Even if you could keep them away, wouldn’t new ones just be formed?

Living in Australia means that you are so far away from every country in the world that even a flight to Indonesia is up to six hours away (flying from Melbourne to Bali). Though, in the scheme of things, this is not that long, when you travel to countries like the US and UK, you need to be prepared to spend up to twenty four hours on the plane. After about eight of those hours, the excitement of going on holiday kind of wears off and you fall into “ARE WE THERE YET?!” syndrome.

Last year I went to England. It was fantastic! I could have taken or left the plane trip, though. Usually, I fly quite well—I don’t do turbulence well, but I ordinarily am able to stay calm and I can keep my food down … but let’s just say that my body doesn’t like ingesting recycled air whilst constantly trying to rebalance itself to turbulence for sixteen hours (despite the stop over). I had air stewards fawning over me because I hadn’t eaten the last few meals they had brought over, but I couldn’t even open my mouth for fear of what might have come out. Needless to say, didn’t go too well … and that’s enough of that!

My actual time in the UK was a blast and I thoroughly enjoyed every second of it! I can’t wait for the time that I go back. My dad being born in the UK, I have always had a love affair with the idea of going to England and I was scared that how I imagined it, would be gravely exaggerated. Fortunately, this was not the case, and has somehow only fueled the love affair further—clouding my judgement so far that it is now practically the only area I want to visit …okay, not entirely true, but given the opportunity to go back, I wouldn’t hesitate.

For me, the concept of jetsetting across the world is not something I see possible in the near future, however much I wish it to be so. I am pretty sure the local travel agencies are getting sick of me giving their windows puppy eyes every time I pass, though. Oh, to be able to travel on a whim.

Plan a holiday, see the sights! Sit on a plane for an entire day and allow your joints to fuse into that position. Pose for more photographs than necessary. Photobomb photos of other travellers (have you ever wondered how many of other people’s photos you are unknowingly in the background of?). Enjoy yourselves. After all, there is a world out there that awaits exploration, and don’t you deserve the chance to see it?

 

Are you coming or going?

Airports don’t seem to have got the memo that books are going out of fashion. Almost everyone I see here is either purchasing one or has one clutched in their hands as they scurry toward their departure lounge. I wonder how many people buy a book for the flight and then as soon as their holiday is over, with no planes left to catch, they discard the book where it sits lonely in the back of a cupboard.

I don’t come to airports often. They attract too many people for my comfort zone to bear. Despite this, I can’t help but feel excited to see what world the plane is going to take me to and who the people are that I will meet along the way.

There are stores everywhere. People are weaving their way in and out, spending money, filling carry on luggage and moving on. I look around, trying to find the path I need to take. If in doubt, look for signs. If in further doubt, take a deep breath, swallow your pride, open your mouth and ask someone. A sign overhead says “Gates 12-21”. I breathe a sigh of relief and move to pass underneath the sign and head down toward the gates.

More stores, more people—more money being spent. I don’t know where they find it all.

Arriving at my gate, I sit and take in my surroundings again. Many are listening to iPods, reading their new books, watching the footage on televisions bracketed to the wall. The majority, though, are staring into the space about three inches from their noses; thinking about where they’re going and what they’re leaving behind, I assume.

I pull out my book—one that I took from my bookshelf at home before I left. The pages fall open to the bookmark and I start trying to read. But focus is far off. There are too many people moving in my periphery, too much dull chatter and loud announcements over the PA. Instead, I raise my head and join the others in their stares.

Hawaii, here I come!

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