There’s always a moment when I’m travelling that I wish I could just snap my fingers and teleport home to bed. Of course, if I could teleport, I wouldn’t for fear that I’d mis-use it and end up accidentally teleporting myself from the shower to a broadway stage.
Instead, I gotta schlep through the airport. I’ve travelled a lot and gotten the routine down - the clear plastic baggie of toiletries, the perfectly packed carry-on, the right airport outfit. This time, I wore my new balloony jumper - tight at the wrists, waist and neck, voluminous everywhere else. Perfect.
I slept fitfully. I always do before an early flight. I saw the clock at midnight, at 1am, at 2.03am and woke with a start when the alarm blitzed at 5.30am.
Then it was bus -> plane -> train -> hotel room -> conference room for 3 days, followed by the whole journey in reverse order.
Conference was OK. I ate a vegan chia pudding and decided I didn’t like it much. When did the world get so obsessed with coconut? (2010?)
Late on Friday, I made my way home again. I was early to the airport and ravenous. I choose the restaurant with the decor aimed at kids. It had neon lights and samba music. As the hostess led me to a table, I was silently wishing for a soft seat. (She obliged.) I ordered a burger (chicken breast, single onion ring, big mushroom, tomato, lettuce, mayo, BBQ sauce) with healthy greens and chips.
The flight was stuffy and full. Based on where I was sitting, I can confirm that only men pee on places. They must have pea-sized (pee-sized?) bladders. I have only peed once on a plane and that was a long time ago. And I have spent A LOT of my life on planes. One woman did brush her teeth though.
I hate the celebratory fanfare when a Ryanair plane lands, as if we weren’t expecting that to happen. Typical of those guys to pat themselves on the back for nothing at all.
The best part of all this travelling was the people watching. The lad who got on the train with a litre of chocolate milk and a packet of cold cocktail sausages, the fella with his eyebrows permanently raised - he looks disapproving, but that’s actually just how his face is, the parents trying to exhaust their toddlers before boarding. I leave my headphones in (international signal for “don’t talk to me!”) and listen in on the conversations around me. Nerdy boys laughing too hard at their own jokes (“you sound just like Theresa May”), teens slagging off their relatives for social media faux pauxs, earnest business men talking about KPIs.
It’s my favourite way to be: going about the world collecting things to write about, like an artist scavenging for materials for their palate.
P.S. Click here for more writing using the same prompt.