Waking up on a Monday morning, I’d usually drag myself out of bed; wake up under the shower and skull a cup of tea before joining the rat race to the office. Last Monday, I still dragged myself out of bed, woke myself up with a shower, sipped a piping hot tea and joined the rat race. However, there was one difference, I joined peak hour morning traffic to head to the Jolimont bus station instead of the office. I boarded a bus bound for Sydney international airport and commenced my journey – both physically and metaphorically – the beginning of my year off work.
The reasons for this year off are not too philosophical. I had the chance to join my fiancé on his study exchange to Italy and instead of asking work for four or five months off, I decided after seven years (hard labour), I would ask for 12 months. This would give me a chance to refresh, recharge and reinvigorate before bringing all the wonderful experience and lessons I have learned back to my workplace. Fortunately, I had an understanding boss who could see the benefits, understood my plight and granted me 12 months leave.
As I jumped aboard the Murrays bus and took my seat in the window, I was still yawning as we passed out of the city on that grey winter morning. I wondered about what the journey would hold and had a faint flutter of nerves about the next 12 months of unknown adventures. I also thought about my friends who were probably wandering to the coffee shop at that same moment.
After arriving at the check-in desk we loaded three very heavy suitcases onto the conveyor belt, their journey as long as ours. 38 hours of travel ahead was their (and our) destiny, although for us in a lot more comfort. Thanks to a well-travelled friend with a savvy eye for travel deals, we were able to secure business class seats for not much more than the cost of economy seats. Having been in economy class many times before, I could truly appreciate the difference that extra class makes. From a little extra smile and the check-in counter, to the express lane for customs and security and of course boarding at one’s leisure.
The droll of the cattle class would have been so much worse on that flight to Bangkok as we read that there was no entertainment in economy class due to operational reasons. It is almost disgusting though how you can acclimatise so easily to the niceties of business class: “oh yes, I will have one” to the pre-flight drink, “hmm which to chose the beef fillet with truffle infused polenta or the chicken with chilli and basil, or the prawn and salmon risotto with saffron fragrant rice?”
With the slightly better food, much better seat and priority boarding (let’s face, the plane isn’t going to leave any sooner), you get to see the amazing sense of entitlement people develop when they step into the aeroplane world. We had a couple push past us loudly proclaiming “excuse me, we are in business (insert harrowed sigh)” rushing to get on the plane first. We let them go and then happily greeted them as they were seated in the row behind us.
Our flights were uneventful and long, so I won’t bore you with the details here. Instead you can read the reviews of the airlines we travelled with for more insights into the trip.