Flight: Dublin-Dubai-Bangkok

I ended up, naturally, rushing a little to catch my flight-at least according to my mom (ironically, as she's the 'latest' person I know, although, I guess not for flights!)who'd rang me on the way over (I however felt extremely at ease and full of a peaceful serenity I had gained from my beach walk, and sleep). We drove round and round in circles, up floor by floor, trying, desperately to find a parking spot. Finally, on almost the top floor, we came to a sudden turn and halt, and jumped out of my dad’s black Polo. And out was hauled my silver-grey suitcase. My schoolbag, packed full, hugged my back. I felt like the biggest travel nerd.

My dad insisted on pulling my suitcase, much to his dismay, I’m sure, as it was 26kg or so. Stumbling about a little in an oddly familiar setting to me (I work in the airport), I finally found the Emirates check-in desk. There was no queue, unlike the never-ending, snaking queues of Aer Lingus, and the check in lady was friendly and brought me a sense of peace once she had taken my suitcase away. I was free now, and was in plenty of time really. We headed upstairs, and up the escalators again to the next level. I pointed out my workplace to my dad, recognising a few co-workers going about their daily routines. They seemed so tiny as I ascended higher and higher up. I was glad that my dad had finally seen and could understand how the food court was laid out. The questions from my parents regarding work, and the windows, and other restaurants are endless. At least my dad could now conceptualise it for himself.

Reaching the 3rd floor, it was finally time to say  goodbye, to really say goodbye to the last person I knew from home. And off I went. It was a strange feeling, stepping out into the ‘big, bad world,’ myself. Handing over my boarding card, I was just another individual passing through the gates, but for me, this was to be the first steps of the best decision I had ever willfully made completely and absolutely by myself.

I breezed through security, having shed my younger stress over this stage and gone without over-thinking what I wore (If I’m too  careful, I beep, if I’m carefree, I don’t..maybe it detects stress levels too?!). Sitting down at my gate, I noticed another girl, who seemed a mirror image of me- about the same age, alone too. A customs officer came over and asked her where she was going and why, and what her accommodation plans were. Later on, a different customs officer approached me and asked to see my passport. They seemed to be selecting people in my demographic, for whatever reason. I was reminded of the Michaela McAreavey drug trafficking case. On the subject of drugs, what is your opinion? Naturally, being cautious person, I would, of course, stay away from them. I’ve seen only on a surface level the damage and devastation they can cause. But 'can' is quite a big word. Certain substances can cause cancer. Vaccines can have serious side effects. I guess the big difference here is that drugs have such serious side effects, and can turn a person’s life, their families, and even sometimes, their friends lives upside down. I wouldn’t touch them, I can have plenty fun without mind-altering substances, especially once I’m brave enough. But I find it hard to judge people for taking drugs. I guess I’m too big of a believer in your situation and experiences in leading you down certain paths in life. We don’t all get an equal chance at life. We’re all different, for better, or for worse-for both. And we all get our own individual path to follow, or to stray from. I grew up in a stable household, with a loving family, and honestly, the best friends anyone could ever ask for, throughout my life. I went to brilliant schools, ones with some very memorable teachers, and policies they stuck to in terms of tackling bullying etc. We never had any real problems with money. We always scraped by, saving every last penny, living our lives through second, if not third hand clothes and library books only. But we had enough, and I read as much as I breathed. And, I appreciate and see the logical side to sharing, reusing, and living economically, with worth. And I see, that we never were poor. The most I suffered from was brief embarrassment. Real poverty, anyway, is when you lack a loving, secure home, and family-whatever sort of family that may be. I also was never outgoing enough to get involved with the anyone who actually took drugs. Maybe I’m being too judgemental, but, most of the time, people like me or my friends don’t take drugs. We’re too ‘smart’ (haha, I wish), or scared, too careful, straight and narrow/obedient. Whatever you want to think. That’s fine. The truth is, that people like me do take drugs. I just didn’t. For one, the opportunity never presented itself, not in a pressuring way, anyway. And maybe, because I’ve never tried them, and don’t ever intend to, I’ll never really be able to talk about them, or the destruction they can cause. Because I can’t also talk about the high, the buzz, or the plunge back down you get from them. So I’m being judgemental, maybe. I do know that illegal drugs can be used medicinally-but to what extent, or end, I don’t. I do question many forms of medicine, believing as I do that many can cause more harm than good. I think people rely on them too much, and should try to at least lessen their intake of them by first adjusting their lifestyle (diet, activity, incorporating whatever is necessary such as relaxation and pain relief tools). But again, I understand that I am not everyone, and who am I to tell them to reduce/stop taking their meds? Especially when doctors promote them so much? I’ve gone off on a tangent now, so I’ll return. My point about drugs, be they legal or not, is that we need to really consider what they are doing to us. Are we better off by taking them? But to what consequences? Are they worth it? And, just one  more point. We should never willfully judge someone on drugs, be they recreational or detrimental. You are not him/her, and although we always, technically have a choice-what do you think made them say ‘Yes’? Or, more likely, ‘Yeah, sure, pass ‘em here bud.’

Back to my flight, and a very full flight it was! I had to walk through 1st class to get to my seat. My thought process along the way: ‘Wow! I didn’t realise my seat would be this nice!” “Oh, wait, there’s a curtain here, ok, ok, noisy families, simpler, more closely squashed together seats-this seems more like it!”

Throughout the day I’d been feeling extremely serene, a little sad. Taking off finally gave me some energized excitement (that was the only way I could describe it four months ago, and it remains that way right now). I silently bade goodbye to the clouds, which all too often, form together to give us a nostalgically beautifully, dull, overcast day. I kissed the wonderfully cool sea-breeze goodbye.

Flying over Istanbul was beautiful. I was forced to appreciate the windowseat I had chosen all the more, as, although I was sat beside a friendly Irish couple, who made sure I knew not to worry about waking them to get out- I simply didn’t want to disturb them too much. I was grateful for the compression socks my mom had given me the night before-otherwise, I surely would have been left with deeply swollen calves. I survived the 8 hour flight pretty well, thanks to the amazing service Emirates provides (amazing food for plane food, hot towels to refresh ourselves-although at first, I was confused as to what they were for-, and,  of course, the many many movies and programmes i managed to watch, along with reading). I was only worried about my next flight. I had 2 hours and 45mins (my flight was a bit late leaving), and I hadn’t planned out exactly what I had to do (collect my bag, where to go exactly, etc.) After asking on board and at the airport though, it was seamless. I didn’t have to collect my bag, and getting to my gate was easy. I even got McDonalds in the airport (something I never do, but everything else was ridiculously expensive there). And there were even loungers to sleep/relax on-which I did for almost an hour. It was perfect.

“47 mins 'til intense heat & humidity for 63 days” I was quite obviously nervous about the heat to come. My 2nd flight, about 6 hours long, was a quiet one, and the lights were dimmed. Everyone was sleeping, or at least appeared to be, except, typically, me. I never can sleep anywhere but a bed, or even just a floor in a sleeping bag at least. I know, I know, I’m like the Princess in ‘The Princess & the Pea’.  I think I’ve slept all of two times in a car in my life (one time after not having slept for 24 hours). I even had a whole 3 seats to myself, but only managed to fall half asleep for the last 20 minutes before I was woken by the noise around me of breakfast about to be served. I joked  with the flight attendant about the options for breakfast (it was either an omelette or noodle stirfry). I remember my hair was all over the place, after twisting and turning, and even changing head position from the window to the aisle, but I honestly couldn’t care less. I found myself thinking about how flight attendants must see people, all sorts of people in all sorts of states-completely vulnerable, exhausted, distressed, anxious states, to states of almost complete exhilaration, joy, drunkenness (relaxed, to, well, the not so good side of being drunk). It’s not an easy job (although, if there were an easy job, could  someone please tell me about it? I guess that's why they're called jobs). I could barely contain my excitement to see Tanya. I maybe wasn’t so excited for the dreaded jet lag to hit, but it wasn’t what I was focused on. I finished ‘The Intern’, a surprisingly good watch. It was actually quite an original story line and very enjoyable, I’ll link the trailer below- I definitely would recommend it!

Finally, we landed on Thai concrete. As of yet, there was very little to notice that was different. I guess airports must be designed pretty similarly even on the opposite side of this world. I couldn’t wait to get out of that plane and run to meet my friend. We had to wait an unfair amount of time for the doors to open. My story there was about to be written, and I couldn’t wait to find out what were to happen.