It is my first fight across the ocean, the sun trailing behind us, yet somehow, when we land it will be a different day. A 10 hour flight, a brief stop in the land of the rising sun, then on to India. I will experience culture shock, I’m sure of it, a duck out of water. . I intend to embrace the experience with open arms, so I tell myself. I’ve always wanted to travel, to experience new lands, languages, sights. This is a chance I am so glad I have been given. I am grateful. I will not squander the opportunity to live this dream.
I am not an easy traveler. I am anxious; worried about hundreds of tiny details. Sleep has been elusive for several days, chief among my worries are the food allergies I have that make trying new and unfamiliar foods perilous. At home it is easy to control; it is routine. Now, and for the next several days, it is an obstacle course filled with potential illness. Just now, even though it is known that I am gluten free, the flight attendant handed me a dish that was questionable. They are apologetic and bring me something else. It reenforces that I am responsible for my own health and can trust no one else to be as vigilant as I need to be.
It is another new experience, this business class traveling. Mostly I luxuriate in the available space. I could, if I chose, lay down perfectly horizontal and take a nap. I marvel at that idea. Rather than a seat mate, I have a side table, slippers (provided) on my feet, a down blanket. Rather than a shade to pull down over the window, there is a button which darkens the glass. Of course I had to play with that. Wouldn’t you?
Before the flight, I experience the business class lounge for the first time. It was a relatively nice club area with leather chairs and a long high table in front of floor to ceiling windows. The chief attraction for most people was the free drinks, mimosas or Bloody Mary’s this morning, though not for me. My travel companions are from the company for which I work, and, in addition, they dwell high above my pay grade. They are lovely people. I resolve not to be “that person”. The one that is embarrassing, drunk or weird. The food thing makes me weird enough.
We are three and half hours in and already the flight seems endless. Maybe I should take that nap after all.