Finally, the day arrived that I’d been counting down from the last 270 days (yes that’s 9 months) since I first booked these flights to the other side of the world to Australia and New Zealand! Here’s how it went down and then, we’ll get this show on the road! [Cover Image Source]
The Big Question
I’d be lying if I said this turned out to be a plain, clear cut journey from before I booked the flights but it wasn’t! You’d be fed up with me with the amount of back and forth, umming and erring, do I don’t I? Months and months this went on for before a conversation with my friend in Melbourne enticed me in.
“What was said?” I hear you ask.
Nothing out of the ordinary but rather a very simple yet powerful question that would get the wheels in motion.
“Would you regret it if you didn’t take this opportunity?”
Yes, absolutely! This is the question I usually ask myself when faced with a “big decision” and I forgot to ask it all those months stressing about this, that and the other, going to conferences to “help me decide”. All I needed to do was ask that all important question.
What Have I Done??
My situation at the time. No job, no money coming in… Sure, let’s go to the other side of the world! Panic set in a little bit as I looked at my finances to see that things were looking a little grim! What have I done! Time to apply for temp work to stem the flow.
Thankfully, the universe provided the solution and a day or two later applying to agencies, a job came up that not only helped the financial situation but also gave me a little bit of “free time” to help set up the Electronic Music Alliance and @phctop3 AND the company may well consider taking me back when I return.
So What Are You Going To Do Out There?
Ah yes, good question! One that was asked by my HR Manager at the time (who did a lot of travelling when she was younger) a few times and I’m glad she did!
I didn’t actually have an answer to this one for 6 months as it hadn’t really occurred to me to look into it. I just thought I’d wing it and see what happens. For someone who does like a little bit of structure, that answer didn’t seem to fly well with my “planning side”! More panic!
So I sat down over Christmas and started putting together something on a spreadsheet which gradually unfolded as time went by. February 2018 was the month that I was starting to feel a little easier as I researched a bit more and put things in place.
There you are “Organised Nicky” – stop panicking!
We’re Actually Going Away Then?
None of it seemed real actually. I was in the work routine and, dare I say, beginning to enjoy it! The company seemed to treat its staff well, I had loads of free time in the evening with some some structure going and the communities I’m in are keeping me busy. It wasn’t until the final day of work when it started feeling real.
Now I had time to get the final bits and pieces done, put together an itinerary with all the information on I needed so “future me” wouldn’t throw a hissy fit. It was all on the pdf! Phew!
Thankfully, the tour group I’ll be on in New Zealand has an app with a checklist of things to pack in and that greatly helped matters, plus previous experience plus another couple of friends have travel experience sharing some other tips all contributed to the final preparations.
Final 24 Hours
I’ve been to various places on my own before, flown out, met people on the tours I’ve gone on, been away for 50 days so I should be used to it by now, no nerves needed.
Well, sound that buzzer because no matter how many times you go away, you will not sleep the night before as excitement hits, “last sleep before you go syndrome” grabs you, and the thoughts of “the time is now” will all make sure you are kept awake the night before! This is where that itinerary really comes in handy as you may be half asleep the day you travel!
Then it’s the waiting game for the taxi. You know you’ve done your packing (have you got everything?), mind games start, do I need this or that, I’ll just add this, will I be over the baggage allowance? And other mildly amusing anecdotes.
Taxi’s here! This is it.
As soon as you get in the taxi, your holiday has begun. The doubts may linger but there is nothing you can do about it. As long as you have your passport and essentials, everything else can be bought should you have forgotten anything.
My goodness, what a mammoth journey this was. I wanted to get the whole 11,000 mile thing done as quickly as possible. 30 hours looked like it was going to be the best bet. Let’s find out.
Part 1 – Flight to Singapore
After getting to Heathrow, checked in and dropped off baggage, I learned that I had a middle seat in the middle of the plane to look forward to… For 13 hours to Singapore on this evening flight. My advice here is to get an evening flight for long haul journeys as you will give yourself a fighting chance to “sleep”. Buy a travel pillow that goes around your neck to make it a little more comfortable and I’d also strongly advise ear plugs to reduce the sound of… Well… EVERYTHING!
The jet engines of course being the biggest sound but even so, they don’t drown out the penetrating noise of a screaming (and I mean SCREAMING) child. Most ear plugs reduce the decibels by up to 30db which is not a small amount. I also have over ear headphones which played a vital role in blocking out sound further and playing music. Yea sure, you can still hear the plane as a faint rumble but you’d want to take that over jet engine + screaming kid!
Part 2 – Flight to Sydney
As the plane needs to refuel, you need to get off the plane, which also means taking everything with you AND going through customs again. I am wearing my hiking boots, I have my laptop and a relatively warm hoody that I need to take off every time I go through customs. This the second time but whatever it takes to get to Melbourne!
You’d think the second leg would only be a short flight seeing as Singapore is close to Australia… Well, Australia is a big country! Very big! It was another 9.5 hours. Back to the middle seat I go, ear plugs in, headphones on, piercing baby scream – check!
Part 3 – Flight to Melbourne
The part I was least looking forward to was connecting to an internal flight from Sydney to Melbourne as I had to go through customs, pick up my baggage and then check it in again. There was just under 1 hour to get this all done before my next flight. So… Not a big time window really!
So why is it that my bag hasn’t come out of the carousel yet 30 minutes after everyone else’s has?? I’m definitely going to miss the connection flight now, I have to get a shuttle bus which takes 10 minutes and they only come every 20 minutes. I was sweating and despairing at this point…
But wait, what’s this?!
There you are you beautiful suitcase! What took you so long?! Right, where do I need to go? A nearby steward informed me, “It’s about a 5 minute walk, take a right, then a left, follow the signs, drop your bag off and away you go”. Right, that sounds like 10 minutes at least but, loaded up like a donkey, I wasn’t going to argue – to the check in kiosk!
A chance to discover just how unfit I was as I “ran” to the baggage drop yielded results I was fearing the most – very unfit! Nevertheless, I got there in time and this lead me to another awesome situation of unpacking my laptop, hiking boots off, hoody off, backpack with sleeping bag off then put it all back together again.
The shuttle was just about to depart… Crap!
They waited for me. Hurray!
The transit to the plane got me there in the nick of time and I got to my seat grateful that there was no more screaming kids. Oops, spoke too soon!
The exact SAME kid who had haunted me the last 24 hours was about to do it one last time… I kid you not (pun intended). Thankfully, it was only an hour flight but what a pain in the butt this creature was! Seemed to cry only when their tablet got taken from them. That kid has a rude awakening coming I feel!
Part 4 – Taxi to Couch Please!
Finally, I’m in the desired city and I was looking for the taxi section. Seemed they found me as there was a driver on his way back from a job and I obviously looked ready to collapse as he just approached me and said “taxi?” Yep!
We had a good chat in the car as he is a big football (soccer) fan and he let me watch Arsenal football highlights on his phone with the sound blasting through the speakers haha! It was a great laugh and even better – no screaming kids in the taxi! I tried paying using my Revolut card but it didn’t seem to work and was blocked a few times, panic set in. I was beginning to crack but thankfully I had cash available so gave it to the driver. Turns out you need to disable GPS blocking in the Revolut app settings so one to remember for the future.
World’s Longest Blink
Finally, I made it in to my friends house, 30 hours later from when originally setting off. Being the legend she is, she put the sofa bed out for me and I showered, freshened up laid down, blinked and…
5 hours later I think I’m with it! Will find out when I try to get up I suppose!
Catch you soon
PHC Top 3 – A Chance To Win From A Growing Prize Pool
Well, whilst I’m here, I might as well take the chance to tell you about a new contest that I’ve been a part of with the Power House Creatives called @phctop3. All you need to do is tell us what your top 3 favourites for a chance to win from a growing prize pool – more info here.
Electronic Music Alliance (EMA)
EMA is a growing electronic music community run by electronic musicians FOR electronic musicians. We have weekly playlists on a variety of platforms to cater for all streaming preferences – make sure you follow our blog for your weekly dose here. We’re also launching a new community run label called Electronic Alliance Records which aims to spread the word even more for our artists – check the latest developments and what music is coming up here