The triumphant exit, Karl and I smiling at each other as we stroll through security with our upgraded boarding cards in hand, the camera fades to black and the string section soars to a glorious crescendo…that’s how I pictured it. Instead, I was ready to kill somebody by the time we had taken off. This is how NOT to start your adventure round the world!
Do NOT Fail to Pack Correctly- Part One
I knew what I was taking, I knew it had to fit in the bag, but I had never taken such a long trip and so I didn’t know the best way to pack it all. I packed and re-packed the whole day before our departure date. And then I woke up the next day and started the packing re-packing cycle all over again. Things went into my bag, came out again and went back in, in a different order. I had a time limit, I was off for brunch with my parents and some family friends, and so the last packing session came to close and we head out.
Do NOT Forget to Relax at Brunch
I was ALL over the place! My body may have been sitting at the table at the small Brighton cafe, but my head was in India, up in Nottingham with Karl and rifling through my backpack. The conversation washed around me as I smiled and nodded. I have never been good at focusing on the day of a holiday, I’m too excited. Add to that the apprehension of the unknown and I didn’t stand a chance. I had a look in my bag for some silly thing or other and realised I had forgotten the insurance documents as well as other paperwork I really needed. We demolished the rest of our food and called a taxi.
Do NOT Fail to Pack Correctly – Part Two
I ran back up the stairs into the front room and scanned the floor. THERE it is! I grabbed the clear plastic wallet containing the insurance documents and all the photocopies of our passports and visas; very important stuff. I removed a few bits from the backpack and slid it down the back. The bag was zipped back up and I ran back down the stairs and into the taxi…leaving the things I’d removed behind. I didn’t realise until I was in India and I went to take my contraceptive pill, “OH NO” (is the polite version of what I shouted).
Do NOT Fail to Pack Correctly – Part Three
I made it to London Heathrow Airport and found the Virgin Atlantic check in desks. Waiting anxiously, I couldn’t stop my heart jumping every time someone entered the terminal. Eventually, Karl appeared and to my dismay, he only had a carrier bag with him. Surely he didn’t pack THAT lightly!? It transpired that all his belongings were in the back of his family’s car, in many more carrier bags. We all had to get the bus out to the long stay car park so Karl could fill his backpack. I wasn’t impressed. It took a good twenty minutes back to the car park and then we all had to stand around as Karl played backpack jigsaw. My parents had to calm me down. Eventually, we got back on a bus to Terminal 3 and we finally checked in our bags. The check in agent mentioned an aircraft swap but the boarding cards said 54F and 55F so that was good enough for me.
Do NOT Ruin Your Goodbyes
I was livid. The delay had cost us all of our relaxing airport time and we had to head straight to the gate. Karl’s parents wanted to take photos of us going off on our adventure and I really tried to smile but I was about 30 seconds from throwing my boarding card away and living under the sofa for five months. Honestly, I don’t feel great about the mood I was in, but at the time, I couldn’t shake it off. I was NOT looking forward to spending five months in Karl’s company.
Do NOT Cry on Your Flight
We walked down the plane’s aisle looking at the row numbers…..numbers. Oh goodness me, not letters. In our stressed state at the check in desk, we hadn’t realised that we were sat one behind the other, in middle seats. The dreadful evening caught up with me and I burst into tears. I couldn’t help thinking that the entire trip would be terrible. The poor man next to me was really shocked that the small blonde woman next to him was bawling her eyes out like a three year old. He took pity and moved into Karl’s middle seat so we could sit together. Whoever you are, wherever you are, you are a hero!
Do NOT forget to see the funny side
I wish I had been in a better mood throughout this first evening. There was so much to look forward to. It’s weird, I experienced the same bad mood on my wedding day. I think it was all too much after so much planning, too much pressure, or maybe I had used up all my excitement? Either way, these experiences turned out to be amazing and the next five months really were the best of my life!