Journey’s beginning

The sky is silver. It is the day before our journey begins, my first international trip in three and a half years. The bags are almost packed, the housework done. Tomorrow afternoon we go to the hotel near the airport to stay a night before our early departure.

For so long through the pandemic I have dreamed of this moment, of a long flight across the seas to another country. In my mind I’ve imagined cruising high above the Earth, that escape from the house and everyday life. I pictured the excitement of setting off on the journey.

Yet now that reality approaches I’m back to negative thoughts, to anxiety and fear of flying. I know intellectually that it should all be okay, but I just don’t feel it.

So now that everything is done I’ll try to relax and focus on the positive. Take one step at a time and trust it to all work out.

And we are off!

October 2018

It’s up, up and away on our virtual trip to Japan aboard a Qantas A330-300 to Osaka. Sydney’s Central Business District and the famous Harbour Bridge can be seen in the background.

Our virtual flight is about to depart

All aboard our virtual flight to Japan, flying a Qantas Airbus A330-300 from Sydney to Osaka, just as we did back in October 2018.

A perfect day to fly, but…

The sky is clear and the breeze is an insubstantial breath. It is the perfect day to fly. I was supposed to off to Osaka in less than an hour, but COVID-19 has seen all travel cancelled. So I’m going to do a virtual trip here.

A quick stop at the International Airport

On my way back from traversing the Carlingford Line I stopped by the International Airport. In contrast to my anxiety filled departures I am always overcome with a strange feeling when I visit for fun. It’s a combination of nostalgia and anticipation for a non-existent journey.

Sydney’s landside departures area might not be as airy and modern as many other international terminals, with low ceilings that looked dated when I first flew out from it almost a quarter of a century ago, but I love that it retains that same feeling.

I wandered around the airport, browsing through several shops. I imagined that I was heading off on a trip. Looking through the WH Smith activity books and toys I felt a tinge of regret that Alex has outgrown most of these and that he was never into them much anyway, prefering his electronics.

Lunch was a katsu chicken burger from Chicken Confidential, probably the best I’ve had in a long time. I just sat and watched aircraft taking off into the brown skies or taxiing in, passengers walking past on the way to their gates. I could feel their excitement, pretend it was mine.

I realise now what has changed. Now I plot my route, look up the weather, plan and worry. Here, today, I am simply living in the moment, as I did all those years before. And I wonder if I can return to that point.


Qantas Lounge for breakfast

Made myself go through with this. It helps that the day looks lovely. Wind is invisible.

Had a little breakfast at the Qantas Business Lounge.