Talking Travel 3 – Beginnings

Flying high

I don’t recall my first flight.

In fact I don’t recall much about my first airport experience although it’s written down in a journal somewhere. I recall the flight back because it was 12 hours of absolute suffering with dysentery. Not recommended as a first holiday experience boys and girls!

But I certainly wasn’t put off by the cramped space, reclining seats in my lap and the dubious food. Nowadays they seem almost part and parcel of the experience and to be expected. One day I’ll pay for an upgrade, just to find out what it’s day I’ll win the lottery to pay for it as well.

Airports are fascinating places and I recall my parents saying on several occasions that they would take me to an airport so I could watch the planes landing and taking off. They never did but there is something quite enjoyable about watching a plane thunder along a runway and then shoot skywards and a plane, all those tonnes of steel, landing so gracefully. I shall admit I take pleasure in sipping a coffee whilst watching events unfold whilst waiting for my own flight.

Airports are great people watching places. Who are they? Are they coming or going? business or pleasure? Are they quite sure that bag they are carrying is cabin luggage as it dwarfs my suitcase in its dimensions?

That is a question rarely far from my lips. How come so many people have such huge bags they take into the cabin?. I thought there were size limits but I see so many individuals wrestling with ‘hand baggage’ lol, that seems to have got the ill considered seal of approval and I will then witness a member of the cabin crew put their back out or dislocate their shoulders attempting to heave the bag into an overhead locker and mould it into shape!. By contrast, my modest backpack seems utterly feeble.

And suitcases. Huge things, things you could carry an entire family in, or the family car!. Once again I look at my modest offering and start worrying that I’ve not brought enough whilst also chastising myself for bringing things I won’t use!. It’s a conundrum.

I do take too much. But I don’t take very much. I reuse items if they aren’t crumpled or smelly or dirty and since most countries I visit are hot I can usually get away with shorts and t-shirts and a pair of sandals. My packing is quick, sorted thoroughly and covers all eventualities!. My partners is like forcing a frolicking crocodile into a bag!. She worries about the weather, what suits her, what doesn’t and then also recalls the fact that she needs a make up bag containing all manner of brushes, oils, unguents, pastes, powders, scissors and other items likely to be confiscated due to their dodgy looking nature!.

Then it’s the little plastic bags for your liquids. I do that for both of us only to arrive at the airport to be told by some officious functionary that your bag, which meets the size and shape requirements, is not the bag you should be using and therefore you have to transfer everything into the approved bag …which is identical to your own.

And having done all that you approach the check in desk to be asked where you are flying to, as though you are checking in for Paris but really want to go to Colombia!. ‘And where is Sir flying to?’ – ‘Medellin, Colombia.’ – ‘Umm, Paris is so nice, I’m quite envious.’ Then there’s the obligatory questioning about your bag and if you packed it yourself. I did. Well done sir!. Over here everyone, there’s a man who can pack his own case!. And of course they carefully check it’s weight, something you have already done with your portable travel scales but which haven’t accounted for the burly man pressing down on your case and which accounts for it being 20kg overweight and subject to a huge fine…and yes, this does happen.

Duty free. I don’t smoke or drink so that’s a waste of my time and I’m not lugging stuff about for 16 days for somebody else. Yep, I’m mean..get over it lol.

I usually stroll through the shops, perhaps purchase a book for the flight, some sweets, an acceptable bottle of water. Occasionally I will pop into an exclusive boutique and caress it’s fine wares whilst wincing inwardly at the extortionate prices that only the wealthiest can afford, all the while trying hard not to choke to death on the scent of the over perfumed young woman who eyes me with unbridled contempt, as certain as I am that no purchase will be made that day.

A lot goes into a holiday before you even set your delicate tootsies upon a foreign shore. All you can hope is that all the hassle, the stress, the endless security and rules, don’t detract from the end result, sunning yourself in foreign climes.

But boy oh boy, could we do without it.

Talking Travel 2

It’s plane to see….

Flying is the great necessary evil if you want to go from A to B quickly. I’ve never really enjoyed flying like some people do but rather enjoyed bits of it, take off and landings, whilst wishing I could sleep through the many hours in between.

It’s noisy, it’s cramped and the seats are usually skimping on as much comfort as they possibly can with padding barely worthy of its name.

Then you get the person who will recline their seat so far into your lap that you could wash their hair for them as it hovers precariously over your groin. The reclining seat is the selfish persons dream and as someone who, out of a no doubt misguided sense of honour, refuses to recline their own, I do get a bit frustrated when my already cramped space shrinks even further due to the appearance of some silky locks or a suspiciously dandruff ridden scalp.

Emergency exit seats are the exception and have become my favourite seats on the plane, at least in the class I can afford, as there is nobody to threaten your crotch but rather you get valuable extra inches for your legs and the illusion of a proper space. And when you are 6’4” you appreciate that little bit of room.

But those seats are few and far between and even when you do get them, as with all seats, you cannot legislate for your neighbours who mummify themselves from head to foot in airline blankets for 10 hours and stare rigidly into space.

I like an aisle seat if I have to use one. At least I can dangle a leg in the gangway now and again, but my partner always wants a window seat and if it’s a 3-4-3 configuration, as many places are, I get the hated middle seat. The seat where there’s no room, where you have to ask someone to move their legs so you can go pee, the one where you feel hemmed in from both sides. I absolutely loathe it as it’s clearly been designed by a sadist who believes people stop growing at about 5’6” and don’t need so much room. Just…no.

Airline foods always a great talking point. Being offered a choice only to be told that, actually, there is no choice. The dry stringy meat, the slightly weird desserts that have been created for a captive audience- Rosewater and Chocolate Ginger Custard and Marmalade rice pudding are just two examples…that I’ve made up, but they illustrate the point.

And the drink that’s about a quarter of a can because heaven forbid they give you an actual whole can to drink by yourself. I mean, what?. The airs dry and you’re thirsty but nope, they have to eek out the only Pepsi on the plane which you must share with 279 others!.

Inflight entertainment can be hit and miss. When it works of course, as that’s not a given. Some airlines are great with decent size screens and a good choice of stuff but dear me, I recall the days of travel with only one film to watch and a screen set in the ceiling that was so far away you could barely make it out anyway.

Sleep is nigh on impossible, for me at least. There’s grunting, belching, farting, snoring, lights flicking on and off, toilets flushing, people with night terrors – who doesn’t love a bit of strangulated screaming as you try to doze- ‘No mammy, not the whip! Noooooo’ – which sets tongues wagging and questioning glances thrown towards the unconscious screamer.

But it is a necessary evil. Sure I’d love an instantaneous mode of travel to zap me from A to B in a microsecond but that’s not coming anytime soon, if ever and I won’t be around when it comes. So until then it will be seatbelt on, seat in the upright position, tray stored and then whoosh, we have take off.

And I cannot wait.

Talking Travel

Leave only footprints

I’m talking travel.

A hefty bunch of holiday brochures have arrived and I’m thumbing through them, wincing at the vastly inflated prices and then wondering why some companies have such a shameless need to rip us off.

There are bargains though and my eyes rove across the images as I smile at places I have been and places I long to visit.

But now is not the time.

Not quite yet. The worlds such a tumultuous place at the moment and whilst I would happily climb aboard a plane tomorrow I’m not yet ready to part with hard earned cash. But soon, perhaps.

I know it’s hypocritical. I’m quick to condemn those who have rushed off abroad whilst secretly wishing I was amongst them although the beaches of Spain and Portugal, whilst I am sure most delightful, are not for me as my eyes stray farther afield in search of exotic delights to soothe my aching soul.

The holiday brochure is an interesting read. Or if you are Saga, a very poor read. I say that because I have to keep reminding them that they can’t get the hotels name right and the pictures don’t have the right captions or that ‘insert caption here’..isn’t an actual caption relating to the image but rather an instruction to some faceless inserter of captions.

It’s easy to dismiss most tours I read about. Either the country doesn’t grab my attention or the cost per day makes my eyes water. Can I justify £5000 for ten days in Japan? I wish I could say yes but the answer is no. And what about that train journey? Only £6995 you say? How very….unreasonable.

And that use of the word ‘only’, an irritating word when it comes to pricing, the suggestion that this is cheap and that anyone can afford it. Its almost as annoying as ‘from’, another word that frustrates me. I don’t want to book a holiday from £1995 because I want it to be £1995 and not £20’000 which could still be argued to be a figure ‘from’!.

I know people have to make money and that, as with all things, someone somewhere will put their hand in their pocket and pay the extortionate cost but I can’t help feel that this is yet another example of how we will be ripped off and our desperate desire to escape will be used to make more profit than is necessary.

But for me it’s all about value and that’s what I will be looking for. How many days? What am I getting? Is the airline decent? Are the hotels decent? (TripAdvisor comes into its own at this time) What am I seeing? Are the journeys between places long or short? What’s the weather like? – these and a hundred more need to be asked and the answers dissected before decisions can be made.

Do we go back? Do we go somewhere new? Is the group small or large? – Yes the questions go on and on and on. But the way I see it, my money is precious and I’m not going to waste it on something I’m not going to feel is worth it. And that’s how it’s always been.

So, why am I writing this? Good question.

I’ve decided to blog more, or at least try to. To try and inspire myself and give myself a push and what better way than to talk more travel!. So, from whenever I summon my next inspiration (or even perspiration if that helps) I will be blogging about past experiences, holidays, flights, incidents and some other stuff.

Just remind me if I forget! Agreed? Cool.

See ya soon.

Nobody Cares

Am I right?

Nobody cares

Am I wrong?

Nobody cares

Nobody cares

About anything

Nobody cares

About lies

Before their very eyes

Or deceit beneath their feet

Nobody cares

The gap expands

The rich rub warm hands

The poor sink in quicksand

Nobody cares

About truth

What is truth?

Where is truth?

Nobody cares

Promises broken

Anger awoken

Revolution unspoken

Nobody cares

Nobody cares


That’s it’s rough

That it’s tough

Nobody cares

If we live or die.