Day One: Don’t Make Me Leave My Sleep Pod

I don’t want to leave my sleep pod on Qantas Flt 12. I am safe and comfy. I don’t want to leave my new friends flight attendants Anna and Esther. We’ve bonded during the flight. They’ve seen photos of my husband and son (Cute! Soooo Cute!). They know I’m a travel writer and are wondrous at the job description.

I do love to travel. I’ve traveled internationally since I was 15 and I’ve become accustomed to it as a way of life. Still, its not without its anxieties. Showing up for a flight a day late at JFK on my way to Hong Kong, discovering my passport is expired on the day I’m leaving LAX for Germany, and turbulence so scary flying out of Bora Bora that I thought “This is it!” are only a few of the tribulations that come with the territory. At least it is my territory. One I’ve chosen.

We land in Sydney. Esther offers to photograph me when the passengers deplane and I happily agree. I pretend to cook in the galley. I mug with one of the flight crew coming out of the cockpit. I toast them with a bottle of champagne.

I promise to email photos to Anna and Esther. I leave the plane with a sense of contentment and security.

I don’t know what awaits me when I step off the luxury carrier: the people I’ll meet, the places I’ll go, the personal items I’ll forget in hotel rooms but I feel ready and able.

Once off the plane, I coast through the maze of hallways at Sydney Airport (SYD) until I am thrust into the muddied line for immigration. People elbow their way past me. My wits (i.e. anxieties) sharpen and I join the fray.

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