Flights

The guy next to me on the flight right now has been soundly sleeping since we took off about 40 minutes ago, which typically wouldn’t be anything worth mentioning.  But this is stressing me out because every minute or so his head falls and jerks back up,  slow nod down and startled lift up, over and over without waking.   I’m worried he’s going to strain the muscles in his neck – or that maybe his head will tumble right off and go rolling down the aisle.   I tried distracting myself with my book, but that made it worse as the movement would catch out of the corner of my eye and I’d just end up looking over at him so often I couldn’t follow the storyline of the novel.  I’ve been wondering if I could reach over and adjust his seat’s headrest without him waking, but what would I say if I bumped him and his eyes flew open to see my arms near his face?!     Maybe I’ll ask a flight attendant to try….

I’m on a British Airways flight en route from London to Marrakech at the moment, writing this, and will post it whenever I find WiFi.    Yesterday my 21 hours in London ended up way better than I had originally expected, thanks to finding out that friends of mine were on layover at the same time.  Day One of my solo journey found me sitting with a few different groups of friends and other crew members I’d just met having a great time.  I got to fully embrace my FA side and live as an “international cabin crew member” for a while, and that felt great!  Over a drink in the hotel lobby pub we swapped work stories and laughs, talked about ironing uniforms (right, Gillian!) and made plans to meet for breakfast the next morning.   Seriously, it was the perfect start for me!

A little more than 2 hours from now I’ll be making my way through Moroccan customs, and tucking away tidbits for my next post I’m sure.

Oh, and the guy next to me woke up when the meal was served.  I showed him how he can adjust the headrest, and now I’m going to pick up my book again. 🙂
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4.5 hours have passed since I wrote that first part, and I have a quick Good news/Bad news update.   Good news: I arrived safely. Bad news: My luggage did not.    There were about 30 people from my flight that had the same problem, so it looks like an entire baggage cart got lost at Gatwick.    Figures.  Steve used to be so adamant that we only travel with carry on bags that any time I travel alone I revel in the freedom to check it… This is the flight I purchased a full confirmed ticket, too, rather than standby so I never worried once about it not arriving.
At least not carrying my bag made it easier to take the bus and walk to my hostel!   I have my fingers crossed it will arrive tomorrow, but in the mean time, I have some shopping to do!

Later

Thursday, 11:42pm.   I’m sitting here surrounded by piles of clothing, toiletries, and other travel gear wishing it would Marry Poppins its way into a neatly organized pack for me.    I sometimes joke about my level of procrastination – “I’ll do it later when I’m older and therefore wiser and therefore better at everything.  Future me’s got this!” – but I’m starting to recognize this may actually be a problem….     I look at other blogs talking about how to pack, and see their cute little photos of their 17 items neatly arranged in perfect geometric gallery style just waiting to be tucked into their bag, and tell myself that I can do that too.  Lie to myself.   I probably will actually end up really happy with what I packed, but I won’t have a single second left to spare in order to take a photo of it.   I guess this won’t be a “10 ways to best prepare for your travels” blog, but that’s ok, right?  There are lots of those already crowding the internet.

The good news is that I have decided where I’m going when I leave tomorrow.  My 75% sure on going to Morocco has been upgraded to 100%, and a couple days from now I’ll be wandering the streets of Marrakech (probably lost and searching for my hostel!)   I can not wait to see those vibrantly coloured buildings and smell the different spices in the air!  North Africa here I come! Thinking about this has me reminiscing on my last time I visited that continent a couple years ago, and how incredible it was to see Tanzania and Zanzibar.  My photo for this post is from there, exploring Stone Town in Zanzibar and just about as happy as a girl can be.

My next post will be much more interesting than this one I’m sure!  I’ll get to that later….

Where to?

Where to next?  What corner of the world is the right place for me to go first, with my 5 months off of work?  And how do I narrow down my options when there are literally hundreds of amazing and exotic locations I want to see??    I know, I know… This sounds like the worst version of #FirstWorldProblems and I realize it could be super annoying.  This has actually been looping through my brain for the last few weeks as I weigh my options.  I want to make sure I’m not just completely reckless in my impulsivity because I will be travelling solo most of the time, and I’ll need to have an idea of what I’m getting myself into so I can have the best chance of being safe.   A part of the fun for me is dreaming up what I might get to experience and so with that I like to do a bit of digging into where I might go.  Don’t confuse that with setting an itinerary though!  (Aimless and come what may, remember!)

With about a week before I expect to leave, I still don’t know where I’ll go.  My first plan (and I use that term loosely) was to fly down to French Guiana in South America.  Here’s why it appealed to me:

  1. French language is spoken there.  I’d love to have a chance to learn and expand my knowledge beyond the “cereal box” French I grew up with in Western Canada.    **
  2. It’s remote and different.  I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who’s been there, or even talked about going there – and I do love being a bit of a trailblazer!
  3. Rugged Amazon jungle. Sloths and leopards and toucans and stuff!

And why I ultimately scrapped that idea:

  1. It’s bizarrely expensive since the currency there is the Euro, and
  2. I might not meet other travellers and I don’t want to be lonely!  Yes, the positive about no one travelling there turned into a negative when I realized there might not be hostels for me to stay in and connect with others.

Plan B was to go to either Martinique or Guadeloupe in the Caribbean, again both are French-speaking locals also boasting tropical beaches.  But they were scratched off the list for the same reasons as above.

And that brings us to Plan C, Morocco.  I’m about 75% sure this is where I want to go.  It has the culture and history that I want to learn about and experience, the food, chaotic open-air markets, French, AND loads of other tourists in cheap hostels.   The flip side has the heat of the Sahara Desert in summer, and a reputation of being a tough place to be a woman.  Do I really want to be an unaccompanied, western and blonde woman there?  I’m not quite sure…

As I’ve been mulling all this over it struck me that I have a pattern of changing my mind about where to go.   Last year in June I spent 3 weeks in China, but I started out planning for that time to be spent in Bulgaria.  I even bought a guidebook and pinned photos of the Eastern Europe highlights I wanted to see there!    A couple years before that my vacation time was spent in Tanzania and on safari, but I got the vaccinations for Cambodia instead since at the time I was planning on SE Asia instead of SE Africa.  Oops…  One more example is at the beginning of 2012 I planned a trip through Croatia.  I couldn’t wait to see the coastal cities and I bought a phrasebook to start learning some basic words.   And then that trip ended up a Western Europe cruise – which I completely and totally loved! – but in hindsight it would have been nice to go to Croatia back then, before it exploded onto the tourism scene….  Now I almost feel like the only one who hasn’t been there instead of the ‘trendsetter’ I like to consider myself!  ha

Wherever I end up, I know I’m so stinkin’ lucky to have this kind of opportunity.  This is never something I’ll take for granted and I am genuinely grateful for each little adventure this life brings.

** Cereal box French – the words learned from reading the other side of any product sold in Canada.   Not super helpful in conversation, but I know what saveur de miel et de noix means   🙂