My name is Kylie Elizabeth Dawn and I have hated flying for as long as I can remember. Getting on to a plane; the little claustrophobic hallway you shuffle down like cattle, the gap between the exit of that and the entry of the plane where you can look down and see how far you are from the ground already. The larger than life smiling (I always perceived as manic) that you are greeted with by the flight staff. The inevitably awkward shuffle of putting your bags up and sitting down, waiting to see who you will be forced to sit beside for however many hours (who you might die beside- I once read or heard or made up in my mind that 90% of plane crashes happen on take off. If you’ve ever seen Final Destination you’ll have a good idea of what goes through my mind before most take offs.)
Right, well. You get the point. So why was I sitting in the Calgary airport watching the snow blow across the runway waiting to board what would be the longest leg of travel I’d experienced to date? Was it the solid promise of no winter in this far away land? (yes.) I was heading to Australia, which is something on just about every Canadians bucket list. I needed to find out why. I have a particular relationship with Australia, my father was born in a small town called Weipa, which is in the northern tip of Queensland. I’ll get there at some point, maybe I’ll write about it and you’ll go there too in some way. But for now, off to Adelaide.
When I told people in Calgary I was leaving for Australia, they would ask where I was going and glaze over when they heard the name Adelaide. “Is that closer to Melbourne, Sydney or Perth?”. It’s the same as when I’ve been anywhere else in the world, people will ask if I live in “Toronto, Montreal, or Vancouver”. So I guess I could say Adelaide is closest to Melbourne, just as Calgary is closest to Vancouver.
Fast forward to Seattle, a two hour flight. Not bad, also had no one sitting beside me which I perceived as a very good omen and was able to relax and spread out. Even read a bit from a book a friend gave me before I left. Then a two hour layover, and the huge flight to Dubai (14 hours). Then an amazing weekend with a friend, and back on the plane for a 12hour flight to Adelaide. Overall a really long week of travel.
Here’s what I learned:
1. Dehydration sucks. The plane is going to dry you out, if you wear contacts, don’t. Bring hand cream, lip balm, gum, I brought face wipes and they turned out to be amazing (burts bees).
2. Compression socks and baby Advil. So I don’t know if you know or care about what happens to you when you sit for long periods of time, but you compromise your circulation big time. I’m a weener, I know that and it’s fine if you read this and scoff but Advil thins your blood and the compression socks will help squeeze that blood back up. There are also exercises you can do if you want. Laugh, or don’t but I experienced no discomfort or swelling and I attribute it to the super sexy mens diabetic dress socks I got at shoppers drug mart. I will never fly without them again.
3. Neck Pillow- get one. I have an amazing one from eagle creek that turns into a small square pillow which came in handy when I arrived in the middle of the night to a bare mattress.
4. Triple check your ticket. I arrived at the airport and thought I had signed up to be picked up by the University. Which I had, but for the wrong day… So I waited and had to go through a headache of a time getting ahold of someone who didn’t know what was going on and eventually take a taxi to the school to find out when I got to the school that it was saturday and not sunday… You can get turned around when jumping through time zones, so just know that.
5. Podcasts saved me from going mental. You can only listen to music for so long, and watching the movies can burn the eyes after a while so make sure you load those babies up before you leave. I really liked Invisibilia, Stop Podcasting Yourself and Serial.
Here now, went from -15 to +41. Sweaty. I guess thats the word I would use for how I feel. This campus is beautiful. So is Calgary, but in a different way.
Until Next time,