I love flying. For me, the allure of plane travel has never waned. Airports themselves still fascinate me. The bustle of people. The palpable emotions. The excitement of either returning home or discovering somewhere new. I still get a thrill when the plane leaves the tarmac. So, when an opportunity came up to fly to Melbourne and back for the day, sans family, I was as excited about the plane flights as I was the event itself.
When I was younger I would travel for work and relish the flight hours. Now, as a mother, the thought of a few hours to myself in transit becomes even more appealing. A whole couple of hours to sit. To read. To write. To spend time in my own company without a beautiful little person demanding my attention.
Some people would view two flights in one day as a necessary evil – a means to an ends. I viewed it as little luxury mini-break.
And this is how I made it so…
- I checked into my flights the night prior to departure. It meant minimal stress and less to do at the airport.
- I arrived at the airport with plenty of time. My me-time started early with a cappuccino in the airport lounge.
- I have a handbag reminiscent of Mary Poppin’s carpet bag. Large and holds a surprising amount. It was packed with good chocolates, a book, a magazine, a notepad and pens, some moisturiser (less than 100ml), my iPad, a couple of scarves and head phones. If you are a mother, no doubt your handbag is of similar dimensions. When flying solo, fill it up with things that make you feel good and make sure you ditch all the children’s paraphernalia before hand. A small ball, a toy car, a spiky dinosaur and a Pokémon trading card were all evicted from my hand bag. But I kept the baby wipes – they always come in handy.
- I always feel cold on planes. I packed one scarf to act as a blanket, the other as a pillow. Because a nap should always be an option.
- The headphones were not for entertainment purposes. Popping them on gave a clear signal that I was looking for solitude.
- Two hours of uninterrupted time doesn’t occur in my life terribly often. There is a temptation to fill it with work. I resisted that temptation. I left the laptop at home in favour of the iPad and allowed myself time just to read, write and be. Pens and a notepad allowed dreaming, planning and doodling time.
- I made sure that I bought a bottle of water on board. Plane travel is dehydrating and a plastic water cup doesn’t quite cut it. And who wants to sit with the little tray down the whole time?
- As the plane took off, I used the time to close my eyes and mindfully relax. There is a really simple relaxation exercise where you work through your whole body, toe to head, tensing and relaxing each muscle group. It’s a little more difficult to do seated, rather than lying down, but it helps me unwind. It placed me in the right frame of mind for a chilled-out flight.
- I love fashion magazines and will only ordinarily indulge in them at the hair dresser (a bi-yearly event). A two hour flight meant time to read, cosily tucked under my scarf-blanket. And once finished, I left my mag on the flight for the next person to enjoy. Hopefully they will also be on a luxury mini-break.
Time alone is a rarity as a mother. It’s something to treasure and enjoy. The hours where you can fill your own needs. Indulge your own imagination. Catch up on some sleep. Read things without interruption. Write things without feeling guilty that you really should be doing something else.
And perhaps that’s why plane travel feels like a luxury for me. In my busy life, I do not sit still for two minutes, let alone two hours. So when the time becomes available, and the sitting becomes inevitable, why not turn it into something special?
Do you regard a plane trip without children as a mini-holiday within itself? What are your tips for enjoying that time?
This post was written as an entry to the ProBlogger Virgin Australia competition.
You can find out more here.