I spent a few days travelling this week for work. There were a couple of flights, a shitty hotel room, several taxi rides and many hours in cars traversing the countryside with nothing to look at.
Travelling always makes me tired. It takes me a while to be able to sleep in an unfamiliar place and I spend a lot of time worrying about schedules, alarms and people and places I’m not familiar with. Oh, and no matter how many flights I take, I always, always think about the plane crashing and how I should really write a will and give M all my passwords and stuff that he would need to know if I was no longer around.
Plane travel makes me particularly melancholy. I was reading an article in some newspaper or something a while ago on the topic of how plane travel makes a lot of people emotional. Apparently being totally cut off and completely at the mercy of the pilot and flight attendants can be very cathartic and makes you introspective. I would totally concur with that opinion because I know I’ve had very strong reactions to movies I’ve watched on planes that I wouldn’t give a shit about otherwise and I’ve ended up teary for no particular reason on many a flight.
Most of my plane travel I do alone. The last flight I took with anyone was the trip I took to Japan with M in 2010. Before that, it would have been my honeymoon in 2002. So that’s 6 flights out the probably 150 flights or so I’ve taken over the past 21 years where I’ve had someone sitting next to me to talk to instead of drowning in my own thoughts.
There’s a part of me that likes the freedom of being alone and the anonymity of plane travel where nothing is expected of you, but then there’s that part that gets lonely and bogged down in deep thoughts. I find that the energy in airports is more sad and negative and the prospect of travel to me is sad as opposed to exciting and fun. Does anyone else feel like this, or just me?
Anyway, that shitty hotel I stayed at? Well, it wasn’t cheap at $150/night (but I guess it is on the cheap end of hotels in Australia) and everything seemed to be ok until I had a shower and peeled back the bedspread to find this:
For the life of me, I couldn’t figure out why anyone would put a sheet on a bed that was a foot too short and feel ok with that. Obviously there were absolutely no fucks to give that day.
A couple of days later I was in a rural town in Western Australia with some clients we went to a cafe for lunch. The waitstaff literally scowled and grunted when I ordered food for the group and when I asked for drinks, I was told to ‘Get ’em yourself’. Cutlery also seemed to be a bit too much and some of us were just given knives and others just forks and apparently five napkins for seven people is enough and asking for one each is just annoying. We paid $150 for some unforgettable food and were happy to get out of there. Sadly, that experience though is pretty on par with what I experience in many local towns.
Australia’s hospitality game is so weak…I often wonder why tourist even want to come here at all.