The Art of Travel

I took a trip recently that required me to fly. No, I’m not actually able to physically fly. Although some might say my flabby upper arms could easily keep me airborne. And although cruel, they may not be entirely inaccurate.

But no, I’m talking about flying in a plane. You see, in my younger days I loved to travel by air. But now I look at it as a necessary evil. Sort of like taxes or condoms.

If you’ve seen that 20/20 episode of confessions from pilots and flight attendants, you’d be justified in driving to your destination, no matter the distance. But that’s a blog for another time…

If you ask me, uncomplicated travel is an art form. And I’m no Picasso. No matter how organized I think I am, it’s never smooth sailing. At nearly 60 years old, I’ve finally accepted the fact that there will ALWAYS be problems.



For instance, when I went to Africa with my friend Mandy, I misread our departure time by an hour (in that I thought we had an extra hour).

Fortunately, this was before 9/11 and strict airport security. So when we checked in and learned our plane was leaving within minutes, it came as quite a shock. Not to me but to Mandy, who didn’t know my traveling history.

Figures our departure gate sat at the farthest end of the airport. So we sprinted the entire way, arriving with only seconds to spare. Personally, I blame Mandy for leaving me in charge of travel arrangements. I mean, really. What was she thinking?

Now don’t get me wrong; I’ve learned from that rather unfortunate blunder. Sort of. I’m now obsessive about checking my itinerary and all travel documents. Remembering to bring those documents with me is another thing entirely.



For this last trip, I was so organized I had time to spare the morning of departure. That’s never a good sign. So when Suzie and I arrived at the airport, I realized I’d forgotten my boarding pass as well as  the directions and all information for the home we were renting. I’d left them in a neat pile on top of my printer (where I knew I wouldn’t forget them).

Before you judge me, let me just say I had the good sense to give the aforementioned info to all my traveling buddies because, let’s face it, I know myself.

Anyway, three friends drove to our vacation spot (8 hours by car) while Suzie and I took an hour plane ride. I’d say we have our system down to a science. Since we flew Southwest (with no seat assignments), whichever of us first gets on the plane saves the other a seat. Then we put the system into action.

If we learn the flight isn’t full (it wasn’t) we leave the middle seat open and lean in, talking to each other during boarding, avoiding eye contact with entering passengers. We appear to be too chatty (which comes naturally) to warrant anyone wanting to take the middle seat.middle seat

I also pull the old coughing and sneezing routine. Personally, I think it’s ingenious, although my sneeze needs a little more work. Anyway, who wants to sit in the middle of two gabby gals, one of them suffering from a terrible cold or possible typhoid?

True to form, the system worked and the seat between us remained empty. But my fake contagious illness backfired on me when I couldn’t stop coughing till we were half way home. It was the only glitch in an otherwise perfect plan.

So now that I’ve divulged one of our travel secrets, don’t even think about using it. I’m going to be VERY suspicious on my next flight if I encounter the same situation during boarding. In fact, I may just sit between you and your cohort as punishment for plagiarism.thou shalt not stealHappy travels!

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