21 February, 2016

Flying and writing

Coffee and editing at the airport
(with the ever present cup of water).
I'm in Bangkok at the OMF guest home and, though it is only 7.40pm here and 9.40 on my body clock, I feel as though my eyes are about to fall out of they sockets. It's been a long day of tiring travel. I don't know how people do 20+hrs on a plane; I'm not sure I could! My bottom was really tired of sitting by the end of my not quite six-hour flight (but I am a restless person).

In any case, I tried to pretend I was one of those travelling writers today! In a coffee shop at the airport I pulled out a couple of articles I'm editing, and then sometime in the middle of my flight I pulled out my computer and did some more editing as well as writing a blog post. Sounds pretty glamorous, doesn't it? Well it wasn't. It was just using what time I had to do things I needed to do (the editing, that is).

Here's what I wrote, it's a bit raw but I'm too tired to do much about that now.

Here’s something I’ve never done before: written a blog post . . . or really anything, while high in the sky over international waters. I’ve flown on many planes (we have counted, it’s more than 60, I think), but the vast majority of those have been with young children. I have only flown on my own internationally three times before. From Indonesia to Australia via Singapore as a 20 year-old and from Japan to Hong Kong and back in 2010.

Today I’m flying to Bangkok to do some training with our mission, training related to teams: participating and leading them. It is a small group, only 12, plus the trainers. I’m looking forward to meeting new people, learning more about leadership and teams, and growing. I have to admit I’m also looking forward to time away from parenting (don’t tell the boys) and a break from wearing my winter clothes, including long-johns!

After so much flying as a family, it is strange to fly alone. No one to look after my luggage while I use the ladies at the airport. No one to keep an eye on my valuables in the plane while I do the same thing. No one to talk to, or sit next to. No one to be entertained. No one to correct or help. No one to lean on when things don’t make sense or I don’t have enough information. It is both fun and a little intimidating and lonely.

On Thursday I met with my language exchange partners. They’re always interested to hear about my latest adventures. And it often seems that I have more "adventures" than they do. They asked, “How many countries have you been to?” I counted them up, “Only seven, all of them in Asia [except Australia which isn't really Asia]. If you count airport layovers it is nine.” Not that many, really. It looks like we have a very international lifestyle, but in truth most of our journeys have been between Japan and Australia.

The other countries were for a short term mission study trip (Indonesia), training (Hong Kong, Philippines, Singapore), and a conference (Thailand). No overseas holidays except for the two Japanese summers that we’ve flown back to Australia to visit family. Those were technically holidays, though we often felt more tired afterwards than we would have if we’d holidayed closer to home. Other than those we’ve never left the country we were living in at the time to go on a holiday. Since we’ve been married the only airplane we’ve caught for a holiday was our honeymoon.

I guess to most people we look well-travelled. Last year in Australia I got the same reaction from members of our home church. Compared to most of them, we travel a lot. But most of it is for work, not pleasure. Therefore it is in our budget, our work budget.

Other travel that’s looks beyond-usual to our friends has been our motorhome trip to the centre of Australia and our camping trip around the top of Japan. Our motorhome trip was by far the most expensive of holidays we’ve taken.

One of these days, after our boys have flown the coop, we’d love to take a holiday somewhere else. Maybe even get out of Asia. Our lives have intersected with many people from other countries, I’m sure we could find someone to go and visit!

But in general I haven’t found travel to be a relaxing occupation. I’d rather go somewhere fairly local (and I’m Australian used to driving country roads, so you know that that means within a few hours drive) and hang-out for a week or two with books and other relaxing things to do. I get overtired by the constant movement and noise involved in travel. I’m also not terribly adventurous with new food, which puts a damper on international travel.

And there it petered out. I got a start on another article for a magazine, but I'd really run out of steam by then. So I went back to watching episodes of Forever.

Now I've totally run out of steam and I'm heading to bed. Good night!

1 comment:

MOM2_4 said...

Travel is tiring. I don't know how people who are frequent fliers do it. Enjoy your time away and the training!