When Travel is the Worst

Well it’s Spring Festival and all of my acting students have gone home, so I guess it’s time for me to follow suit.

The planned location for my Springtime revelry is the North Island of New Zealand.

I’m going to fly from my beloved Shanghai back to Middle Earth, pick up a hire car and trek the ring from Auckland to Palmerston North. (Basically go from top to bottom of the island, give a few kilometres).

If I don’t sound particularly excited to be returning home then my true feelings are shining through.

I’m a terrible flyer, not at all because of a misplaced fear of dropping out of the sky or hitting a flock of geese, but because of how sucky it is to be a very tall man crumpled into an economy ‘Air China’ seat.

Over the years of flying for work I’ve become accustomed to twisting my body into intensive yoga positions in order to sit in such a way as to not push on the seat in front of me or elbow the person next to me. This fine art of plane yoga is best paired with fabulous seat mates who will listen to my divaish tales and woes of air travel, laugh with me as we discuss the funny parts of where we’ve just flown from and roll eyes with me over other travellers antics.

More often than not I have had charming seat mates and have even met lifelong friends (and

romance) in this manner.

This was not the case today.

Sat next to me was the rudest couple I’ve ever met on a plane in my life.

Not once did they address or look at me or the flight attendants. Polite offers of drinks or snacks from the lovely attendants were dismissed with casual waves of their hands and scowling faces.

My polite and apologetic request for them to let me out to use the restroom midway through the 11 hour flight was met with 10 minutes of ignoring, followed by slow and groan-filled pulling up of their legs to allow me to awkwardly squeeze my way out from the cave they’d trapped me into while accidentally grinding and groping them in the process.

Here’s a mental picture of what I was looking at, try to imagine two blonde and freckled sour people sitting in the worlds most cramped plane seats with their chairs reclined to breaking point and their bare feet up and pushing on the seats in front of them.

Some people are in serious need a stern talking to and perhaps a travel ban.

Fast forward to this moment and I’m on the other side and alive in New Zealand. However it’s now time for the next stage of the journey, a sizeable road trip to our final destination.

Now don’t get me wrong, I like a lengthy joyride with friends. I love tearing down the highway belting Kanye and waving my hand in the wind as much as the next guy, but I am unfortunately prone to intense carsickness. This ensures a thick layer of nausea to distract from joyously hand surfing and Kanye belting.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, teleportation can’t come soon enough.

All this sacrifice is so that I can see and appease my mother, shower her with Chinese gifts and lavish her with attention before I head to Australia and see some of my old chums.

I love old chums, the ones staying in one place and moving forward with their lives. Through these friends I can vicariously do the things people my age normally enjoy, things like getting married, having kids and erecting home gyms to ignore.

I mean it when I say that I don’t envy them, but I also have a healthy admiration for them. I respect the maturity it takes to be responsible for another human long term.

Meanwhile you’ll see me blowing the last of my cash on Aussie essentials like Caramello Koala’s and laminations while waiting to endure the entire travel nightmare again when it’s time to go home to China.

Until then it’s holiday time!

Nausea be damned because I’m going to make the most of it through the carsickness and mean flyers.

This side of the world is sure gonna feel different after spending last year in China, I wonder if anyone here takes Alipay..

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