Yesterday, I returned from a 3-week trip. I flew from Wellington to Sydney, Sydney to Singapore and then Singapore to London. Then I did the same trip in reverse! Without my kids and without my husband!
Yes! I was fantastically alone! It was so liberating. I didn’t have to think about anyone else other than myself, and when I felt tired I just put my ear plugs in and closed my eyes. I watched movies, drank wine, had uninterrupted conversations with the strangers sitting next to me, and I managed about eight hours sleep on one of the flights – AMAZING!
To some people the thought of being stuck in economy class for more than a few hours is not their cup of tea. I get that I really do, but when you live thousands of kilometres away from your loved ones and long-haul flying really is the only option… well you really just have to suck it up. It’s not until you are a parent and you have to do a long-haul flight with a baby and a toddler, that you really know how lucky you were when you had the freedom to travel alone!
When you are a parent and you hear someone else’s baby crying, you don’t think to yourself, ‘damn I wish I wasn’t sitting so close to that baby’, or ‘I wish that baby would shut the fuck up’, or ‘what is wrong with that parent, why can’t they just get that baby to stop crying’ – you just smile, fucking grateful that it isn’t your problem and you stick your ear-plugs in – or turn the volume up on your blockbuster movie and slurp on your wine!
I have decided not to horrify you with the details of flying with young kids, but merely share with you how liberating it was to fly on my own! If you are a parent you will totally get it…
In the Airport:
1. I only had to hold one passport and one boarding pass.
2. I just stood in the queue for the toilet, and when I got there I went into a cubicle by myself.
3. I bought a hot drink just for me and drank it.
4. I sat in the departure lounge, read some of my book and listened to a tune from beginning to end.
5. In the Duty Free, I browsed my way through the make-up, squirted the perfume and read the labels on the wine bottles.
6. I went into a bar and enjoyed drinking a glass of wine while gazing out of a window.
7. I went for a shower by myself.
8. I played a game on my phone.
On the Plane:
1. I got out of my seat, went to the toilet without a nappy bag and washed my hands.
2. I watched four premiere movies from beginning to end. That’s right four!!
3. I closed my eyes for more than 15-minutes and nodded off for more than four hours!
4. When I heard a baby crying I literally turned up the volume on my headset and carried on watching my movie.
5. I read a book and a magazine.
6. My meal arrived, I pulled down my tray without smashing a child on the head, enjoyed a glass of wine without spilling it and had an uninterrupted chat to the person sitting next to me.
7. After landing I got one bag down from the overhead locker.
At my Destination:
1. I walked off the plane without carrying anybody.
2. I didn’t need to go and pick up a buggy or carry any car seats.
3. I lifted my suitcase off the conveyor belt and queued for customs.
Easy ay? Now I am back home in New Zealand it all feels like a distant dream!