I can’t actually believe that I am writing this thousands of miles from home, in an actual place more obsessed with rugby than Wales, and where there is the actual Hobbiton, and, as far as I can tell, the friendliest people ever.
Yep I’m in New Zealand, dreams really do come true. Every so often I get a rise of excitement in my chest and I have to remind myself to just relax a little- this has been my dream for as long as I can remember. I’ve only been in the country for 5 hours and I already have so much writing material in my head, but I thought I’d get started with what I discovered before landing.
The journey was the longest I have undertaken in my entire life: Swansea to Heathrow, Heathrow to Hong Kong, HK to Auckland, Auckland to Queenstown… 31 hours and still counting (as I’m waiting for my lift out of the airport). And it could have gone very, very badly. But, as always, I can think back now and find the positive in every situation. Here’s what happened…
Despite packing hand sanitiser, vitamin C water dispersals, migraine relief, asprin, and even compression travel socks… I was not expecting to get ill the day before I flew. Damnit, all that prep and I still ended up being the much-hated passenger spreading germs around the recycled air! Bugger.
How did I draw the positives from this? Well, the check-in lady was so nice to me! I was strategically placed at the very back of the plane by the window allowed to snivel and blow my nose in peace without drawing much attention to myself. There were also only two seats right at the back and she said it was most likely to stay vacant unless the plane was full… the plane was full so not such a good outcome for the guy next to me. But I did get a whiff of his feet every once in a while, (not pleasant by the way) but I could barely breathe that often so we probably made a good team – all things considered.
Typically, that lovely seat the check-in lady found me wasn’t so lovely after all. Probably the only seat on the plane that couldn’t recline. Sleeping in an upright position is almost impossible for me anyway (because of an old back injury) so from the 12 hour flight I estimate I actually slept maybe 1.5 hours … it was my intention to sleep the entire journey.
Determined not to let this minor set-back ruin my entire journey, I kept positive and prayed for a first-class upgrade on the next plane (we can all dream, right?). Whilst I didn’t get a first class upgrade I did get an entire row of three seats to myself – which turned into a makeshift bed! I know for a fact I would not have appreciated this absolute blessing half as much if I wasn’t as ridiculously tired and aching from the first journey. The universe has definitely got my back (literally). I lied down for the entire 11 hours (see photo below) and I felt amazing afterwards. There’s a firm belief that you can’t know good until you’ve experienced bad- well, I totally agree with that and I’m all the more grateful for it.
Some people hate time. I understand, when you are hurtling in the skies in a tin can for hours on end it can feel claustrophobic and uncomfortable. Clock watching is not the best idea either. By the end of that first flight I was ready to get off. I’ve never seen my feet so swollen and I was desperate for some fresh air. I was cursing myself for not packing an actual book. You see, my laptop with all my e-books was stowed away and it was super dark and I didn’t want to annoy the guy next to me even more.
So many solutions to this one. Long haul flights have some awesome movies, some of them quite recent. One even helped me get to sleep (remember that 1.5h I told you about earlier? Hurrah). But for the final flight, I remembered my notebook and pen and I decided to get my grateful head on. I couldn’t stop writing, because in the last few hours I had so much to be thankful for. I also vowed to visit Hong Kong again. I only saw it from the skies and from the panoramic airport windows but it looks amazing.
Oh my god, why am I such an inefficient packer? This has been a trend for my entire adult life too. I pack too much, it’s too heavy, it hurts to carry, etc, etc. This is primarily my fault.
Remember when I told you Kiwi’s are the nicest people on earth, ever? Well that’s because I had numerous offers to carry my luggage (of which there was a lot) within a few moments of landing in Auckland. I also had the nicest flight attendants, café ladies, airport staff and general passengers around me the entire time. Why is everyone smiling? Why is everyone so nice? Are all Kiwi’s like this? Did I land in an alternate universe? Do all humans have the capacity to be this nice? I am so happy right now.
A final note, on travelling alone. Thankfully, I have been working on myself a lot recently, to really love from the inside out (cheesy I know). And, do you know what? I quite like my own company. I’m not so bad, now that I can control my thoughts and see the light to every situation. Self-love is something that all great people seem to be able to do quite naturally, and yes I do want to be that kind of person. I also know that at any given moment, I am not alone. I was able to contact my parents, my friends, my old colleagues, anybody during each little connection stop. Modern technology is fantastic. I also owe a huge thank you to my friends and family on both sides ready to give me a helping hand to get on my feet. You guys are the best.
I am so happy and grateful right now that I am here, in a brand new continent, ready to appreciate every shaping experience and adventure that I attract my way.
A concise list of travelling with gratitude:
I am thankful for…
- The fact I can actually fly in the air (what sorcery is this?!)
- I get fed and watered onboard for free
- The sheer amount of people it takes to make these services connect together seamlessly
- Modern technology that keeps me connected and keeps all of the services running smoothly
- The free entertainment and movies I wouldn’t have seen otherwise
- The time travelling gives to reflect on all the wonderful things in life
- The extras that make travelling more comfortable- pillow, eye mask, earphones, etc.
What would you like to add to this list?