So here I am sitting in yet another airport, about to board yet another plane bound for yet another destination.
I travel between 240-300 days per year (and have done so for the past 7 years) to many places around the world (Australia/New Zealand, Asia, Europe and the US). Traveling can be an interesting experience on human endeavors – what makes a good traveller v’s tourist; how people cope with stress and the fundamentals of travelling successfully really all do really depend on the person. The people you meet are indeed interesting, the experiences you lived do help to round out your personality, and if you look and allow yourself to think – the appreciation for what you have will also improve.
Traveling as much as I do certainly has lost some of the intrigue and glamour I once had given it, but I still do really enjoy it. I still love take off, and I love a bit of turbulence. When I started travelling the anticipation and the excitement of researching, booking and receiving the confirmations were indeed a very strong part of the wonder of something new. But alas now, with many aspects of the journey becoming stale, problematic or even loathsome there are ways that you try to just get through it.
I find that above all else, patience is what will allow you to keep your sanity. The little idiosyncratic behaviors of others that would test the patience of saints are just their little thing that they need to do to get them through their day and journey; and they can be extremely entertaining and amusing. Sometimes they will be down right annoying, rude and may interfere with yours, but essentially they are quite amusing. I will admit that I have my own – and they are indeed odd, but I do own them.
Traveling as much as I do has allowed me to experience the wonders of being in the top tier frequent flyer programs and enjoy their benefits, which do assist with making the journey a little more pleasant, however it still isn’t glam. It was pointed out to me several years ago that the programs were designed not necessarily to reward frequent flyers, but more to applogise and acknowledge the fact that you bear witness to some things that are not in their advertisements, or they want you to see. Their are better programmes than others, and their certainly are much better airlines than others.
I will admit that I do get to travel predominately at the pointy end of the plane, I am grateful, but travelling as much as I do having some solitude and ease helps greatly. But it really doesn’t matter, people are still people and people on planes are just weird: Here are some observations:
- Rows start at number 1 (unless your on Cathay they start at 11 and don’t have 13), if you are seated at row 29 or 46 or even 79 you do not need to look at the very first couple of rows …
- Learn to play Tetris – this will help with overhead locker bins and the storage of items – and if you can’t lift it, then you probably should have checked it
- Using the seat in front of you to haul yourself up is not a pleasant experience for the person sitting in the seat that you have used for leverage – often the person in front move or even fly backward/forward – amusing but not good etiquette
- If the flight attendant offers you the seatbelt extension, then you may need it – they aren’t being offensive, they are just concerned that you may cut off circulation to your legs if you try and squeeze seatbelt around your girth.
- The seatbelt sign when on – generally means sit down and buckle up… Not to get up a
nd wander around – if you fall because of the turbulence you have been warned of then it’s your own stupid fault
- Screaming children – where do I start. Noise canceling earphones are a godsend – invest (the ones the airlines give you aren’t quite good enough for some sets of lungs). If you own a screaming child – attend to it, try and placate it, and think about your fellow passengers – they and the flight crew are not your personal nanny service.
- If you are carrying a handbag or a backpack – you are often bashing the people in the aisles as you saunter down. Note: when you turn around your backpack/handbag is usually bigger than you – so it will swing and hit people in the face. Take it off your back and carry it in front of you.
- Sitting in the aisle – a preference for myself when travelling on short flights – but try not to stick your legs out until all the passengers are on board, and get up when the person sitting next to the window wants to get into their seat. Also the crew will probably keep running over your toes as they push their carts up and down.
- Yelling at ground crew or even the flight crew will not encourage a resolution; you just look like an idiot. When things are going wrong, take a breath and approach the situation with a resolution in mind. The person in front of you is only working on the information that they have been given; they are not deliberately trying to sabotage your journey.
I am sure there are many more tips I can share about travelling, and look forward to doing this as I continue my journeys around the world.
Remember to survive the journey – relax, be patient and watch the people around you for amusement. Things go wrong from time to time; you have very little control if any, so enjoy the situation as it arises.