How to Travel in Style

Here’s the deal… when a person travels even occasionally, enough to have done it a few times and get a routine down, you… well… get a routine down.

Ours goes something like this… paperwork readily available, backpack stocked with headphones, movies, laptop, ipods, and reading material, stop just before security but after you check your bags to take off watches, belt, rings and put any change and wallet into the backpack before entering security area, take off shoes and take out laptop(s) while in security line, have all paperwork ready, and go through, unscathed (which usually works like a well oiled machine… unless, like today, Karen gets picked at random to be searched in London before getting on the plane… oh well, best laid plans and all).

Travel necessities… head phones, ipod, laptop, good book(s), snacks. If you go first class, which we are experiencing this time, for the first time (thank you saved up Alaska air miles!), you really only need the headphones, and not even those if you don’t mind using non-noise canceling headphones because they give you some on the plane to use. We prefer our Bose headphones. Totally worth it if you travel on planes even a couple times a year, but if not, get some sort of headphones.

This time I brought along a book called Go Go Girls of the Apocalypse. I love this book. Great flight reading. Never heard of this writer. I like to buy a book, at the airport, when I fly. Don’t know why, but I do. I don’t always do it. And in fact, I mostly don’t do it, but this time I did. Picked up this particular book at Powell’s at PDX before our flight. Great book. I have only read about half of it (hey… there are free movies on long flights, and I watched two flying earlier today… and in my defense, I also read the newspaper, the Daily Mail out of London to be exact. It’s a big fatty of a paper. This all took time away from novel reading. That and my playing with the make your own playlist option on my personal console. That probably took up a whole hour just by itself… more time away from my novel). But, I digress… a lot. This book is great. If you’re into pulp fiction, this is a book for you. If you’re not into post apocalyptic novels involving cannibals, armageddon dollars, go go dancers, a cowboy, and an uzi wielding former insurance salesman you can skip this one. I wouldn’t.

Now, luckily, while we’re sitting here, still traveling, and about three hours from taking off on our second flight of the day, I’m enjoying the lounge. Free wi-fi, free snacks, free booze (though we aren’t drinking… and no, I don’t know why… we just aren’t), comfortable chairs, and showers, I think (if we want them… we don’t). It’s not bad. I mean, if a person has to be in an airport for over five hours, this isn’t a terrible way to have to spend your time.

The only problem… my damn ears are totally plugged. I can’t hear a damn thing. OK, slight lie… I can hear muffled sounds. I sound, to myself when I talk, like I’m under water. Everyone around me sounds like they are under water. This happens to me a lot. I think my ear canals are small or something. I don’t know. I could be making that up. The whole ear canal thing. Sounds like a reasonable explanation for why this happens to me almost every time I fly. Usually it’s only my left ear. Today… lucky me… both. I’m hoping they clear before we take off. Three hours to go.

This post, as you can probably tell by now, is turning into somewhat of a ramble. If I had an editor they would certainly break out the red pen, or perhaps the shredder… get rid of the whole lot of this post. Fortunately… no editor. Just me… rambling. This is what happens when a person has been up and traveling for 17+ hours. The silliness is starting to come over me. The slap happy giddiness that is staying up too long in unfamiliar places surrounded by travel food and travel personnel… of all sorts.

At this juncture I feel the need to recount our progress thus far… here goes…  Up at 6:45 AM, Lancaster, England. Get ready, which took us like 15 minutes as we were already packed and just had to dress, brush teeth and hair, and throw a little water on our faces (my face actually… Karen uses lotion), walk to the train station (a 10 minute walk) pulling our big bags and carrying the backpack, messenger bag, and camera bag, get on the train (which ended up being 10 or 15 minutes late due to switching problems) and ride for two and a half hours to the London Euston station (central London) where we got off the train and then went underground.   The London Underground to be more precise.  We hopped the Victoria line South, went about four stops, got off that line and changed to the Piccadilly line West for like 14 stops to Heathrow.  Two hours at Heathrow before our flight (they like you to be there two hours prior for international flights) where we checked in and headed for the first class lounge.  Laughed our butts off as we entered the secret domain of the first class lounge.  That was an awesome lounge.  Three levels.  We only experienced one… the one with the good atmosphere, free food, free booze (again, or actually first), free drinks.  The free stuff there was awesome.  The snacks… great.  We boarded our plane on time and then flew for over eight hours, landing here in Minneapolis a couple of hours ago.  Get off the plane, go through immigration, get bag, go through customs, recheck bag, go through security, find first class lounge, hang out snacking and drinking hot cocoa until we can board our plane… two hours from now.   We will, hopefully, be able to board on time (so far so good with the time of the flight), and then a mere almost four hours later, be in Portland.  Finally.  Where, after collecting our baggage, we will be picked up and whisked, at last, to our humble abode where our pups and our own bed await.  Sleep… perchance to dream.   Though… not yet.

Guess it’s time to sign off this bad boy of a post and head to the free food line. They just brought out cookies. Maybe I’ll pour down a stiff hot chocolate to go with. Maybe I’ll just skip the cookie and go straight to that hard core beverage of all beverage choices… the cup of coffee. It will be my fifth of this looong day. Yum!

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