I tend to rebel against tradition just a little. Maybe I like things easier, or maybe I just like to rebel. I didn’t want a traditional wedding. And I’m not expecting that I’ll live up to the traditional expectations of parenthood – after all – there’s more than one way to skin a… baby?
I’m so glad I live in a country that doesn’t know what a baby shower is. It’s not me. It’s ok for those who want one, but I’m glad there’s no expectation here. There will be no maternity photo-shoot, or baby-shoot for that matter – where it angelically sits in a terracotta pot with a garland of flowers on its grumpy head.
It’s one of those things we only dream about… flying first class. I’ve flown business before, with a free miles upgrade, but first was something that was probably never going to transpire. Yet when I flew to Australia recently, that’s exactly what happened.
We’d initially planned for business class. My back would not have survived 24 hours of economy, so booking something that allowed a fully reclinable seat was an imperative for me to even consider the journey.
The jump in price from economy to business is monstrous… the jump to first is still hard to swallow but comparatively not as hard. So we figured, with the extra benefits of first, why not take the leap. And if you’re going to do it, why not do it properly? So with some trepidation about my back, but a little spring in my step, I boarded an Emirates A380 for my 24 hours of luxury. Was it worth it, you ask? Well read on!
Two years had passed since seeing my friends and family back in Oz… two years since I’d had the searing Aussie sun on my back, since experiencing the feeling of crispy summer-sun-dried grass on the soles of my feet… It’s not an eternity. It’s not impossible to endure. Not when I chose to live so far away.
But it had been a hard two years of lockdowns and back pain and then the joyful but also emotional news of pregnancy. And I yearned with every part of me to get home.
I remember the first time I flew for work. It involved a day trip from Melbourne to Sydney. I was super excited. I felt professional and oh-so glamourous. I wore business-attire (even though it wasn’t at all necessary) and I carried only a handbag.
I’m usually a fairly optimistic person. But I have been a bit down lately, as many of you read in my recent blog posts. But I have to say a big thank you, to everyone that reached out to give me a bit of love and support, and reminded me that it is all going to be ok. Because it is going to be ok.
I was already feeling more positive… the sun was shining, the weather was warming up… and despite the fact that the world was still being super crazy, I was doing ok at letting go of things out of my control.
And then suddenly I found myself on a plane to Australia.
I have done two extended backpacking adventures – one for four months and one for almost six. On top of that I have undertaken various other trips – month-long adventures to Europe and Africa, two week sojourns round Australia and Asia, overnighters, weekends away, and everything in between.
Despite over a year of living with Covid (or hiding away from Covid), we’re all still up in the air about what the future is going to bring. What’s the right thing to do? Should we be in Australian-esque-style lockdowns, or should we be celebrating Freedom Day? The government has an opinion, the scientists have an opinion and the people have an opinion… they don’t always agree, and no one really knows who’s right… if a ‘right’ actually exists.
In Austria, following the removal of almost all our measures in early July, our numbers are steadily increasing again, which is hardly surprising. So what do we do now? Half the population is already vaccinated, yet Delta is threatening to plunge us back into chaos.
I tell you what we do. We get in the car and we drive to Italy.
There was one thing I was terrified about when embarking on my first solo travelling adventure back in 2011. Was it that I was flying into Egypt shortly after the Revolution? No. Was it that I might get mugged and lose all my stuff? No. Was it that I would run of money? No. Well… maybe I had slight fear for those things, but the overwhelming thing was… I was scared of being lonely because I was convinced no one would like me.
In my then-group of many acquaintances and a few very good friends, some were connected to my childhood, and a lot of the rest were also my brother’s friends. What if no one actually really liked me, they just liked my brother, or were just stuck with me having played as kids?
What if I had to spend four months travelling completely on my own?
Like many people out there in these times, I am required to take all of my holidays this year. There goes my secret plan of saving them all up and taking 6 months off next year!
This requirement is kind of sucky, because holidays to me generally involve getting on aeroplanes, visiting other countries and changing time zones. And in Covid time there is none of that. I’m used to packing a bag, and packing as much as possible into every day, tasting new and exciting foreign foods, and running on empty. Usually my holidays end with me needing a holiday from my holiday.
I realise it’s a first world problem, because I am thankful to have a job and also to have holidays that I can actually take. So I figured I was better off taking the bulk of them in summer, when the weather was warm.