Which would you choose:
- A. The Silk Road, circa 1347, with accompanying risk of Black Death, bandits, dodgy highwaymen, etc.
- B. Journey through Middle Earth to Mordor, being pursued by Gollum and those scary men on black horses wearing welders masks and brandishing ball-and-chain weaponry
- C. Off to see the Wizard, with sporadic acts of torment perpetrated by flying monkeys and a witch with unparalleled flame throwing ability
- D. The 12 Labours of Hercules, involving your average hero-esque tasks such as lion slaying, boar capturing and the like
- E. Volunteering to accompany Indiana Jones on his next mission. (Might sound like the lesser of the evils, but I have two words of warning: the snakes)
- F. A 10,318.15-mile, 24-hour-plus plane journey from Australia to Boston with only a fear of flying and three children – aged four, three and almost two – for companionship*
I chose the unglamorous option F.
Most people don’t enjoy flying, myself included. But I don’t dislike it in the ‘I have no leg room and it’s boring’ sense, but in the ‘I experienced a bomb scare in my formative years’ sort of way. (True story: it was during the 80s, when I think it was Libya that hated us at the time; but really, who can keep track of one’s enemies when you’re American?) One boon to my current way of travelling: I’m too busy running, tethering, cleaning, adjusting, feeding and seatbelting to worry about the motives of the praying bearded guy requesting the Halal meal seated in 17B.
In the lead up to Option F, my morale was bolstered with comments on my bravery (when clearly ‘stupidity’ would’ve been a more accurate term). I made sure not to watch the movie ‘Flight Plan.’ I made lists, borrowed harnesses, and got a new backpack for hands-free carry-on. And I consoled myself with thoughts of help from the flight attendants, who for the comfort and safety of the 300-plus passengers on board, would surely be of some assistance - of course when they weren’t busy serving Bloody Marys, reapplying their lipstick, or assisting in the aptly-named cockpit.
Then, shortly before the epic journey was due to commence, I get a phone call from Qantas: ‘Sorry, we’ve overbooked the flight and we’re going to have to bump you up to business class. Is that suitable? You will be able to enjoy champagne and some much-needed rest while your children are looked after my our in-flight nannies. This is a new service we offer to all business and first class passengers…’
‘Hello? Are you there? This is Judy, I’m ringing from Qantas?! You’re flight’s been cancelled. We’ll need to rebook you. Is via New Zealand okay? It’ll only add approximately nine hours to your overall flying time, but it leaves at the same time. Is that suitable?’
Apparently due to what Qantas was calling ‘budget constraints’ and other mysteries of airline scheduling, my original long haul non-stop flight from Sydney to L.A. was cancelled. ARRGHH! But finally after much to-ing and fro-ing and even a few real tears, the compromise was to send me via Brisbane: adding another leg to an already lengthy journey. With a very tight connection time between flights. Where I would have to catch a train and switch terminals. Any questions?
Yes. Is it too late to choose ‘C’ from the epic journey choices listed above?
Stay tuned for the sequel...
*DISCLAIMER: Do not attempt this feat. This feat was accomplished by a trained professional, who in hindsight, would not have undertaken the journey armed with the knowledge she now possesses. To do so may result in loss of sanity, excessive in-flight drinking and, along with Osama Bin Laden, landing your name on a permanent 'Loss of Right to Fly' list.