Friday, August 6, 2010

Air travel boot camp

Its the last week before we leave for South Africa FOR A WHOLE MONTH.  If you are a thief, reading this, don't get too excited.  Josh will wait two weeks to join us and then we have a house-sitter.  Actually, I should term them a chicken sitter since our house is pretty self-reliant and even our cat could be cared for by a person with a light touch with the cat-food, a self-filling water bowl and a few minutes of silent communion.

Its funny, going away.  For ages it seems a great idea.

"We are going away!"

We imagine the thrill of traveling, of being somewhere new, if not exotic.  We have a heart full of unexamined expectations about what we will do and share while There.  But There is just an Other onto which we can project our dreams and soon enough we have to face the reality that its connected to HERE and involves TRAVEL WITH CHILDREN (on which subject tomes have been written).  We have to prepare to leave our home and miss our friends.  We have to buy gifts (that say what we mean to say) and  pack cabin luggage to support the needs and interests of children on long flights.

Suddenly, I have to transform into Long Haul Flight Ninja Mama!  She can go without sleep!  She can creep over sleeping passengers standing only on hand-rests, carrying a toddler who needs to pee at 10am in pitch darkness.  She can wipe a bottom in a 2 foot square airplane toilet which has a 72:1 person ratio (imagine having 72 people in your home for 17 hours and all sharing your bathroom.  Gross!).  She can eat breakfast at midnight and drink polluted water in great quantities and do unspeakably entertaining things with a monkey puppet.

Our flights are something like this:

Seattle - Washington Dulles (5+ Hours)

2.5 hour layover.

Washington, DC ----> Johannesburg (17.5 hours with refueling in Dakar after 9 hours).

2 hour Layover

Jbg ----> Durban  (1 hour)

That is roughly 23.5 hours in the air plus about 5 in airports.  Every time I look at those numbers I rush off and buy another pen / pad, book.  Eventually that is going to impact my stated aim for this trip, my ethos for travel circa 2010:


So far, hand luggage alone includes:

2 Apple Macbook pros
2 digital cameras
1 iPad
2 Pillow pet stuffed animal pillows (for the kids to SLEEP ON ALL THE TIME because THEY WILL SLEEP A LOT)
My book(s)
Frost's book(s)
Wren's book (s)
A drawing book
A small bag of lego
Scrabble pieces
Snack bags
Spare pants for both boys (because food accidents happen EVERY TRIP)
Play dough

I am not taking a stroller or an on-plane carseat.

Anyway, I have to run to fetch Frost from Warhammer Academy (where he is making a Vampire Count army with a skeleton hoarde (clearly, he was named Frost to thrive in this underworld of geek gamers, everyone looks up when I call his name).

I just wanted to let you know we are still here and I am just chasing my tail and planning and doing laundry and watering the garden because IT WILL MISS ME.  I promise blogs and blogs of our travels.  I have even joined Boingo so I have wi-fi access at airports.