That great ‘back to the routine’ post? Didn’t happen. The post did, the routine did not. As I was writing it, I was slowly descending into a sickness that knocked me flat for two days. I am only now able to sit up and do something without having a tissue jammed up my nostrils.
Here is what I discovered while ill. Being sick and unable to sleep is exactly like the hell that is a long-haul flight. For those of you lucky enough to have never experienced the hell that is the long-haul flight. I envy you. I want to be you. I want the knowledge that being sick and flying to beautiful locations are similar experiences, erased from my brain.
Not everyone may agree with this comparison. Maybe you are a great flier. I am not. I dread flying, but I do it all the time. Let me be clear. I don’t fear flying. I dread it. The whole process. Getting up before the crack of dawn, sitting on public transport for an hour, hanging around in the airport for three hours, five security check points require various levels of undress, recycled air (which means recycled farts, let’s be honest), bad food, limited personal space, aching back, constant roaring in the ears, headphones that continually fall off my head or chafe my ears, swollen feet (despite the sexy flight socks and stockings), pasty and oily complexion, bad TV/movies, alternating hot and cold flashes, surly customs officers, lost baggage.
And that is just for short two-four hour flights. Multiply that by six and you have my version of hell. Have I said it enough? Hell, to me, is flying. But I love travelling. It’s a dilemma. In order to ‘travel’ you have to go through hell. This is one time when the ‘journey’ is not nearly as important or enjoyable as the destination. I long for the days when all ‘travel’ was done by rail or boat. When travelling was classy. When you weren’t squeezed into a tube with hundreds of people wearing tracksuits and flip flops. When the journey was as enjoyable as the destination. When the holiday could start when you left your home, not 10-24 hours later when you finally collapse in your hotel room, take a shower and order some room service, by which time everything is closed and all that is left to you is to roam the streets (which we do enjoy) or watch bad US TV with subtitles or BBC World Service. This is not the way to start a holiday.
Whenever we are planning a trip, a huge portion of my energy goes into planning how I will survive the flight. I no longer carry magazines or books. Reading on planes makes me nauseous. I also have given up on music and neck pillows. I now carry a plethora of moisturizers and dry shampoo and flight socks and Advil PM. The latter of which only manages to take the edge off my gruelling situation so that I won’t have to scream into a pillow. Although, I have done that on a few occasions. I have yet to figure out how to get a footstool in my carryon. I am convinced that if I could get my feet a few inches off the ground I would be immeasurably more comfortable. I did have a blow-up pillow that sort-of worked, but I left it on a place somewhere. Probably tangled in the three blankets and four pillows that I systematically requisition throughout the flight.
So while I sat up in bed the other night, aching back and body, with tissues shoved up my nose, listening to the maddening buzz of the refrigerator and my sleeping husband and suffering through alternating hot and cold flashes and feeling trapped in our tiny bedroom and wanting to scream into my pillow, but unable to change the situation, I realized I could be on the way to NZ.
If only the view out the bedroom window waiting for me in the morning was as beautiful.