For as long as I can remember, “Going to Australia” has been on my list of things I wanted to do in this life. It really has. But it was somewhere up there with “Become an Astronaut Ballerina.” I felt that they were equally attainable.
Because, if I am being honest with myself and with you, I never thought I’d actually do it. I never thought I’d be able to do it. I didn’t even know how to start to go there, really. The Caribbean is easy…click a few things, give them your credit card and your trip is done, meal plan and all*. Europe is not that complicated**. Pick your country, 8 hour flight, you’re there. You can figure it out as you go. But Australia? It’s across the world and by the South Pole and it’s summertime at Christmas. Plus it takes time to get there. Who has time?
Well, it turns out, I do.
(We all do, really. But then again, only so much, which is why we should all go. Now put on your YOLO t-shirt and follow me.)
Because here’s this unexpected wierd thing I discovered: It was the easiest trip I’ve ever taken.
My dad is having a hard time getting his brain around this. He is almost 70 and Australia has always been on his tip tip top list of places he’s dying to go. But he believes the flight would be too difficult at his age. And I’m here to tell you, I’ve had flights from Austin to Dallas that have been more taxing.
Do you get what I’m telling you here? Traveling to the future / Australia is not only easy, it’s delightful.
Here’s how it went down. I left Austin on a Friday late afternoon/early evening headed for LA…the flight was delayed because there was a disruption at LAX…but I got there on time. I made a very quick transfer with the help of a lovely person manning the @AIRNZUSA twitter handle. She was tops:
So once I was there, I boarded the Air New Zealand fight around 11 pm and the vacation started.
A few weeks prior to take-off I joked that I was looking forward to 12 hours of uninterrupted reading time. But I didn’t even know the half of it. And it sounds nuts, but it’s just the truth.
Hear me, Friends: This flight was for serious a vacation in itself.
I know, it’s unexpected, I still can’t really believe it either, and I lived it. But the fact is, now, when I’m super stressed out and need to go to a calm spot in my brain, I may just go straight to seat 15B. It’s my new happy place.
Because, for starters, Seat 15B is in this. And how cool is that?
And at Seat 15B, they greet you with champagne.
The champagne was then followed by wine. All the kinds of wine.
And then they start bringing you food.
All the kinds of food. Cheese plates, followed by salads and soups and breads and main courses and the best strawberry shortcake ice cream dessert of my life. And it just keeps coming.
All the while, I’m watching The Descendants . And two episodes of Louie. On the way back I watched Australia …and as a result, I finally got the whole Hugh Jackman thing. Then, with Jenny’s encouragement, I also watched The World’s End, which took me back to England in 1992. Awesome soundtrack. Too many zombies, but great music.
And then I pulled on my given sleep mask, comfy socks and earplugs (Air New Zealand gives everyone on board a lovely little gift pack of awesomeness in a hard felt case that I now use as my makeup bag).
And I turned on some music…I picked my favorite New Zealand band, but they had every album from every person on the planet that you’ve ever thought of…
And I went to sleep.
Slept like a baby. Or actually better than a baby because as it happens, there were 8-month-old triplets on the flight next to me and they didn’t get to listen to music or watch movies or anything (Yes, you read that right, this man and woman next to me flew this flight with three tiny babies. And they survived and actually were in great moods the next morning. I’m telling you, People, this flight was so delightful you can do it with three babies.)
You’ll notice I didn’t read any books at all.
But I did sleep very well.
When I woke up, we were almost there. And I had breakfast. And then we landed. Just like that.
And it was the most lovely flight of my life. The flight itself felt like a vacation. Jenny and I joked that next time we needed to get away, we were just going to board a plane and fly to New Zealand and back. Which seriously, I wish I could do right this very second. Sign me up. I’m ready for my new sleep mask.
So again, and to sum up, here’s how it went down: Left at 11 pm on Friday, 11/1. Flew over the ocean, under the equator and across the International Date Line. Arrived in Auckland at 8 am on Sunday, 11/3. Which was actually only 12 hours later. Or was it 36 hours later? You be the judge:
These are the time zones I was in over the course of the week. Do you see that 3 hours and 30 minutes difference? I honestly have no idea where that extra 30 minutes came from or what that’s about.
What I did get a firm grasp on: Time is all in your mind. If you let go…and go with it…it doesn’t really matter. And once you drop that control, if you choose to look around you and enjoy it, well, then you’ve found the Secret to Life.
Well, that’s the first secret to life anyway. The second is that traveling left on the globe is always a million times easier than traveling right. That’s just math. And another good reason to go to Australia.
I can’t wait to do it again.
* PS The Caribbean might be easy, but in the end, it’s way more expensive (We spent waay more going to a resort in the Bahamas last summer than this trip would have cost. Way more.) Also, the Caribbean resort experience was not near as cool.
**PPS Europe is way more complicated. I love Europe, but it’s always a harder trip than this trip to Australia was. Language, money, and don’t even get me started on time zone. Again, it is always so much harder to travel to the right. I never even feel remotely normal / not tired in Europe until the day before I head home. You know it’s true.