The long road of travel…

Flying out of Geneva

There’s something to be said for travelling alone. This isn’t the first time I’ve ventured away from home on my lonesome, but I vividly remember that first time:

I was fresh out of University and in my first office job as an account coordinator (absolutely unrelated to my field of study, journalism, but it brought in a salary which meant I could leave home sooner rather than later). I had just turned 22 and I was told I would fly to Florida, to Orlando exactly, for 5 days to attend a trade show with the company’s US salesman. I was ecstatic and then terrified.

I’d done a fair amount of travelling in my day up to that point, even flying home from the UK solo when I was 14, however, my uncle was a captain for British Airways at the time and he had the crew keep an ever-watchful eye on me, so it wasn’t like I was “alone” ever.

I toiled with so many emotions on that journey; anxiety, excitement, fear, joy, confidence, humility, as well as a sense of growing up and devolving all at once.

And I realize now, after 5+ years of solo trips around the world I still get those same mixed emotions and feelings.

Today I made an 11-hour journey from Montreal to Geneva, then Geneva to London. Two planes and countless security checks later and I am finally in my hotel room and have time to ponder my journey a bit.

My portable work station

Travelling on your own does something to you as a person. I feel so much more connected to humanity, to people, and the world around me. I’m more aware of my surroundings and I’m more self-aware. I have confidence (much more than I did the first time) even when I enter a brand new airport in a country I’ve never been in. I’m not afraid to ask someone for help or approach a crew member for something specific on a flight.

And I think I’m a very good traveller. I’ve journeyed with some not very good travellers (I won’t name names) and against them I think I’m a golden child.

Take, for example, my flight from Montreal to Geneva. I forgot that I’d be served a meal and I’m a vegetarian. Normally, you have to special-order such a meal. So, when the meal announcement was made, I quietly made my way to the back where the steward was preparing the tray. I explained that I hadn’t made a special reservation for the meal, but that I didn’t eat meat and if he possibly had a leftover veg option, I’d be really grateful if he could send it my way.

A few minutes after everyone had their food, the steward appeared with my meal and a grin on his face. He set it down in front of me and said: “Even though you didn’t order it, I appreciated the way you asked for it so I gave it to you instead of a guy at the back who demanded the veg option when he hadn’t ordered it, either.”


And on my Swiss flight from Geneva to London I got an extra Swiss “thank-you” chocolate (which, OMG, is like heaven — basically it’s Lindt chocolate, not like our cheap, dry “thank-you” North American chocolates) for giving up my seat so a mother could sit with her children because she was separated from them.


I’m not a saint, I’m just a good traveller.

If you’re taking a trip somewhere, know that even if you’re travelling “alone” you aren’t really alone. We’re all in it together and if we don’t work together then we’re all going to have a miserable time.

Some points to remember the next time you travel:
– Do not stand in my personal bubble while we wait in line. This will not get your through security faster, nor will it get you to your destination faster. It will only result in my running over your toe with my roll-y bag.
– Do not block the boarding line if your number has not been called. Your number has not been called — this is a concept we all learned in kindergarten, let’s try and do our preschool teachers proud and remember that.
– Do pay attention to your surroundings when you’re in the plane. You are not at home. You do not have all the room in the world, and I do not appreciate your knee resting on mine, nor do I want your elbow on mine or anywhere near me. I make an effort to stay in your space, so please stay in yours.
– Do not make conversation with me if I have headphones in, especially if I have headphones in and I’m reading something. I clearly do not want to be bothered, despite my friendly demeanor at all times.
– Do chat with me when I’m headphone- and book-free. I love meeting new people on my travels, and I think that’s the beauty of the journey. We don’t just grow from the locations we visit, but from the people we meet along the way as well.
– K, is it really so hard to keep your seat belt on when the captain tells you to? As soon as we land I hear belt buckles snapping all over the place. You’re supposed to wait till the plane has come to a complete stop. I don’t know about you, but that seat belt isn’t burning a hole in my uterus and really isn’t so horrible to keep on. But maybe that’s just me…

I could go on, but I won’t.

I got my first glimpses of London in over 12 years as I was driven to my hotel in the back of a Mercedes-Benz 550 CDI. The driver and I chatted about The Stig’s reveal and Euro cars vs. NA cars. Seems I can’t get away from the addiction no matter what country I’m in.

Cheers & Drive on,
– M.

~ by drivingmsmiranda on August 24, 2010.

One Response to “The long road of travel…”

  1. I’m sure Jo could add some other useful hints on how to be a better traveller! Very Amusing yet informative as usual!

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