It’s almost a tradition by now – I am leaving the dreadful and wet New Zealand winter behind for some well earned (and needed) change of scene in the home country and the UK.
It almost didn’t happen this year due to financial shortcomings but when my life gets tough my friends and family get tougher and my e-mail and phone inbox had been flooded with offers of couches/spare rooms to sleep to keep costs down. I am truly blessed to have such a tight knight group of amazing and helpful people around me.
So back to the travel bit of this first blog post for the new travel season.. flying. Not for the first time have I chosen an airline based on price and schedule rather than my own common sense and experience and true to from I can say ” should have known better” . This time the culprit is Cathay Pacific via Hongkong. Don’t get me wrong they are a good airline with friendly staff, reasonably good food and this time a great price BUT… there is always a “but” – the seats. Oh my – I knew this from a past flight with them but I thought that the price ($500 cheaper than their nearest competitor) would kinda sweeten me over those but No. Unlike most long-haul airlines where the seat (even in Economy) declines – making it annoying to the passenger behind but at the same time possible to get at least some intermittent sleep – with Cathay Pacific they have a rather novel approach to this problem with the passenger behind – they do not let their seats recline. Instead they have a kinda seat in a seat that slides forwards so one can slide in the seat itself but not backwards if that makes sense.
That would not be a problem if it was a short hop across the ditch for us but when one flies close to 24 hours in total (not counting the stop in Hongkong and car travel before and after) it makes for a long, very long and sore day.
I knew this but I thought to myself I can manage – bought myself one of those funny pillows that wrap around your neck (their side head rests do not work either) and booked a window seat – I normally fly long distance with an aisle seat so I can get up when I want. Oh dear – still not much better – my next door neighbor’s managed to get some sleep so I was kinda stuck more or less the whole time – apart from a few toilet breaks and that resulted in swollen ankles even a week after that flight (despite those lovely fashionable flight socks). The upside of a window seat though is the view… sometimes at least.
In contrast the first leg of my journey was with Air New Zealand from Kerikeri to Auckland on a tiny 20 seater and I loved every minute of it. If you haven’t done that flight yet – do it just for fun – from the air one can see both costs of Northland and since their is no door between the cabin and the cockpit one even get a nice view for landing..
Suitably tired and sore in every mussel and bone imaginable I picked up my rental car for my 5 hour drive to Dresden. Before you shout – how could you drive after such a long flight with no sleep – I got into Frankfurt at 6.30am – and the alternatives where simply to expensive or would have gotten me there hours later than driving myself and I am a confident driver on German Autobahns. I take my time and no! most of the time they are not free to drive as fast you like.
So with all travel modes combined I had been on the road (ehh air) a whopping 34 hours from start to finish. Good going.
Jet lag affects people differently and my biggest problem is the waking up early – I can stay up relatively late but still wake up at 4am for a few days and that was draining. Additionally the world of limitless possibilities in form of wifi and e-mails on the road did not work for me after my arrival so I could receive e-mails but could not write/ send any. Just because I am away does not mean I am not running my business so that was a biggy but thanks to some fast help from Spark (formerly known as telecom….) in NZ via social media (in this instance twitter) I got it going again. I am still battling with the photo side of things though so unlike previous years I will only be able to post a few really good shots this time and the rest when I am back it seems.
As I am entering my second week of this years travel adventure and the sun is beaming down and heating up the surrounds to a lovely 30 deg C I am very grateful to all my family and friends who have made this years trip possible! Thank you all!