Monday, August 17, 2009

Notes on Traveling Solo

While traveling this past weekend, I noted a few things...

At the airport, there is a reason that a very well known coffee chain has the largest line. Best not to go to the competitor next door, because of the appearance of a shorter line. Especially when you see the lady who would have been in front of you in line, at the well known coffee chain, walk away with her beverage and treat. While you still wait in line...empty handed.

En route to Chicago I suddenly realized that I was traveling by myself. I had 4 hours to go, and no book to read. Caught unprepared, so used to traveling on long flights with children, I just sat there ...boggled. Then I watched a movie. I cannot even remember what it was, but there was no interruption. And no one attempted to climb into my lap.

Turbulence sucks. Most especially when you have to be a big girl, and don't have the reassurance of grasping for your husband's large, warm fingers.

The service on flights is not what it used to be. How about waiting an hour and a half, before being offered a beverage?

After everyone had sucked down their beverages, a long line formed for the bathroom.

Steward: I've never seen a line this long before.

JCK: Did you slip a diuretic in our beverages?

Steward: I don't know what happened.

Perhaps if they had served beverages earlier into the flight, people would have not felt inclined to down them so fast -enabling everyone to make a run for the loo, at the same time...

For years, the airlines have been complaining about passengers taking huge carry-on bags on board. Some now charge a $20 fee to check one bag. So, they want to discourage people from bringing carry-on baggage, yet charge you for 1 checked bag. This brilliant idea encourages people to carry even more baggage on board...making the problem worse.

Chicago is a fantastic city. The transit system is incredibly well organized, and you can take the metro train from the airport into the city. Having a bag with wheels is essential. Yet, maneuvering a wheeled bag up and down escalators and staircases, across intersections, and under bridges is far more appealing say...in your 20s.

When trying to fly home, and your flight is delayed for 2 hours, it is actually possible to sit next to a person who is on their cell phone chit chatting about nothing. Loudly. It is also possible to read an entire novel over a 2 hour delay and a 4 hour flight. It is also possible..., once on the plane, to breathe in and out only through one's nose, when surrounded by a group of traveling teenagers with unwashed bodies.

You can finally acknowledge how tired you are while standing outside baggage claim without your bag, as it was put on another flight, waiting for your husband to circle around for the 10th time...bless him. When he is suddenly there with a hug and an open door, there is no lovelier sight than your two children asleep in their pajamas in the back seat.


No matter what annoyances or hassles modern flight travel might entail, it is all worth it to spend a weekend with special childhood friends. Always, always...without a doubt.


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16 comments:

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

Traveling alone is definitely a different ball game than traveling with kids--though still not relaxing.

I'll be in Chicago in less than 2 weeks--though it will take me a little longer to get there as I'm driving.

I'm glad you had a great trip.

painted maypole said...

re: checked bags... yes, yes and again I say YES.

phd in yogurtry said...

Big difference, the appreciation for flying solo after traveling with kids. Although, I find myself really missing them at the same time I'm really enjoying not having to deal with them. It's a moment by moment bipolary kind of thing.

Glad you had fun with your friends, JCK. That's the main thing.

flutter said...

oh, great. Now I have to pee

Angeline said...

that's how most Stay At Home Mom feels isn't it?

Suddenly everything becomes too quiet, everything becomes too systematic, everything is so in-placed...feels so free to do whatever whenever you want, yet its this freedom that gives a sense of uneasiness....?

Oh girl! Let loose... have great fun for these few days....solo freedom is precious!

But once again, you made me laugh so hard when I read your reply to the steward. *laugh*

Manic Mommy said...

So funny that my first solo flight in years was also to Chicago. I too was a little happily lost. And never so glad to see my wonderful, smiling family.

The opportunity to miss them is a gift.

blognut said...

I'm sitting here drinking a coffee from that very well known coffee chain and I was about to say the same thing that Flutter said.

I'm glad you got to see your friends and have a good time. I hope you got to see plenty of our fair city, too. :)

blognut said...

I'm sitting here drinking a coffee from that very well known coffee chain and I was about to say the same thing that Flutter said.

I'm glad you got to see your friends and have a good time. I hope you got to see plenty of our fair city, too. :)

blognut said...

Apparently blogger thought that was worth saying twice.

I hate looking like an idiot.

Jen said...

I'm glad you had a fun time with your friends, and I really enjoyed your flight observations. I haven't flown with a child or without for the past 3 years, so I forgot what it was like in general!

g said...

So, they want to discourage people from bringing carry-on baggage, yet charge you for 1 checked bag. This brilliant idea encourages people to carry even more baggage on board...making the problem worse.

Yep. That's the lesson my summer of travel taught me - stunning for its obviousness!! A textbook example of stupid policies.

I have not yet discovered the perfect food item to bring on board - someday I will, and a purchased small bottle of merlot and my brought-on lunch will be all I need! And a book.

Glad you had a good flight, hope you had a marvelous time - looking forward to more reports.

Amy said...

Oh I've had much the same experience many times.
I love chicago too!

Amy said...

Oh I've had much the same experience many times.
I love chicago too!

ruth pennebaker said...

You really have to want to go somewhere to travel these days. Don't think we'll be in LA in the near future, but will let you know.

Rima said...

Glad you got a weekend away . . . even though it was sandwiched between the annoyances of flight travel!

Cafe Observer said...

I love visiting new places. But I
HATE traveling.

Thanks, Jen, for this timely article.

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