When you’re 10, flights are exciting because you know… you’re given coloured pencils, you sleep on your mum’s laps, you watch silly cartoons and before you know it, you’ve reached your destination! When you’re a grown up though, it’s a totally different story. The seat is a lot tighter and you kind of spend the flight wishing you were 10 again. On my last plane trip (from Paris to Sydney), I had a lot (looooot) of time to think about all the details that make flights hard to handle and I decided I would share it with you! Pain feels better when shared, doesn’t it? Ready for take off?
First act: The nightmare begins
The nightmare starts even before you hop on the plane. You haven’t slept much because you were stressing about whether your alarm would go off and whether you had forgotten to pack something essential… When you make it to the airport, you’re already a bit sweaty from carrying your luggage and you feel like having a shower but you know it’s not going to happen anytime soon so you put that piece of dream away. You go through customs, you are told to throw your bottle of water away and you get felt up in your socks (classic). Once you’ve reached the gate, you want to buy a bottle of water because you were told to throw yours away and that’s very frustrating. You know you’re going to end up paying as much for it as you would have for a bottle of whisky in the duty free area. Before you board, you go to the bathroom and the automatic flush decides it’s time to flush even though you’re still sitting on the toilet seat. Great. Everyone loves getting on the plane with their ass wet right?
Second act: In the thick of it
You’re on the plane, ready to do nothing for what will seem like eternity. You’re already hungry even though it’s 10am because you woke up so f****** early. You can’t decide whether you’re going to have the « chicken with rice » or the « pasta with sauce ». Tough decision! Keep in mind that in the end, it’ll probably look and taste pretty much the same anyway. If I’ve learned anything travel wise these past few years, it’s to not eat plane food. Sure, when you’re bored and you smell warm food coming up, it can be appealing. We’ve all eaten that piece of pizza covered with fake cheese whose taste resembles cardboard. We’ve all regretted it afterwards. So learn this once and for all: plane food smells better than it tastes! Unless you want to feel bloated for days after you’ve travelled, stay away from it! Careful, stewardesses will try to convince you with their evil smile and pretending that you’re asleep won’t do it. You have to actually say no to their face.
So what should you have on the plane? Nuts, salads, fruit… you name it! I recommend healthy food to help your body deal with jetlag. Of course, if you’re going to Australia, make sure you eat all your nuts before you land, otherwise you might end up in quarantine! Aussies don’t joke about wildlife preservation 😉
Filling your belly with good stuff won’t be enough though. Flight after flight, you’ll have to face diverse and numerous challenges. Think about it, we’ve all experienced the moment when…
– You realize your seat doesn’t include an individual TV and you’re seriously thinking about going back home and cancelling the whole trip;
– The plane toilet flush is so powerful and noisy that you feel it’s going suck out your soul;
– You realize you shouldn’t have chosen Malaysia Airlines to save 50 dollars because this turbulence area is freaking you out! (okay, maybe I shouldn’t joke about that);
– The stewardess spills tomato juice all over you right after take off and you didn’t bring a change of clothes (and you f****** hate tomato juice!);
– You wake up from what you thought was a deep and long sleep, you realize it’s only been a few minutes, you blame it on your broken watch but you know the truth is you still have 12 hours to go.
All these little things add up and you want to yell and escape the plane but you obviously can’t so you try to relativize. « Back in the days, it would take them months on a boat to go from France to Australia. I’m pretty lucky really… ». But let’s face it, it doesn’t quite work… You feel like shit, that’s it.
Third act: « Is this real life? »
You’ve reached a tiredness peak, you’re not quite sure who you are anymore… but you’ve made it! The plane has just landed and you can’t take one more minute on-board. « Let me out! ». You feel like a hero (and like a zombie but more importantly… like a hero)! You set foot on a land you’ve never seen before, you’re ready to embrace every new experience, but first you really have to sleep because these bags don’t quite suit your face. When you give your passport to the customs officers, you feel so tired that you want to tell them the now famous Game of Thrones line « A girl has no name…» Then you realize it could get you into trouble and you keep this wonderful reply for the next Starbucks employee who’ll want to misspell your name on a stupid cup (crumb of comfort).
Finally, you walk out of the airport feeling like shit but also really happy to discover a new country and a new culture. Ohhhh right… discovering awesome countries and cultures… that’s why these plane nightmares are worth it in the end 😉