You know you’re having an adventure when you wish you were safe at home in bed.
Travel is tiring. They never talk about the unglamorous bits: the waiting, the sweat-inducing delays, prepackaged foods, high airport prices, the discomfort, the bloating, and the thirst. Travel bloggers, books and TV series seem to forget to mention the shoebox seating and holding your bladder for so long that adult diapers suddenly seem like a brilliant idea.
Oh, no. It’s all about the destination, facebragging and the inconvenient journey is soon forgotten.
But what about the smells? Sometimes I think I have too sensitive a nose because no one else seems to notice that the turbulence has caused everyone’s lunch to find an emergency exit with repeated haste. Or that the passenger in 51B has incredible BO this early morn or that your traveling companion has the breath of ten dead dragons with gingivitis no matter how many Fisherman’s Friends you keep handing to her.
On the VIP bus from Chiang Rai to Chiang Mai I was perfectly sandwiched between the guy who took off his shoes and stretched his legs out so that his offending feet could be seen at head level and the older woman who had excitedly emptied the bottle of Giorgio perfume on to her body. No, I wasn’t going to die, but I realized that I was in a certain kind of prison that I tried to escape through loud music.
And can nothing be done about the airport air? I understand the sickening smell of exhaust and spicy public toilets is something we cannot escape, but what kind of air are they pumping through the airports? Because it smells – bad. It’s an unhappy smell.
Maybe this is because airports are filled with exhaustion. There is the walking, standing, sitting, the lack of sleep or too much. I watch children running around with envy because everything must seem so thrilling. And though I pack as little as possible, even the lightest bag becomes heavy after carrying it all morning, afternoon or night. The smallest purse starts to weigh heavily on your shoulder, digging its leather strap into your skin so that you start dragging your purse on the floor like a child’s blankie.
Then there is airport security which ironically does little to make me feel secure and a lot to make me feel that incompetence, insensitivity and wastefulness must be key job requirements. I’m sorry, but I have a hard time not laughing when they paw through grandma’s underwear looking for the next unabomber or give parents with little children the 3rd degree about carrying certain sizes of baby formulas or lotions before tossing them into the trash.
When I finally do reach my gate, I feel like I had to work for it, you know? Not like I’ve walked the gauntlet because that’s absurd, but like I’m being punished for the privilege of flying. I’ve never flown first class so I always look at the “Beautiful Orchid First Class Lounge for Special and Better People” with curiosity because ass-class (or steerage if you prefer) has the warmth and frills of a meat locker. But one day, I hope to fly first class or even business class which seems like the same thing, but with more ego room.
Until then, I’ll be one of the people on the plane waiting to leave the runway while someone runs furiously late to catch this flight.
What do you think about travel? Do you enjoy the journey whether it be by bus, boat or plane?