Ten Tips for Long Flights

My younger sister is coming to visit me in October and although she travels frequently, this will be the longest flight she has ever taken so she asked me for my advice.  Here are my suggestions for surviving super long flights:

  1. Buy the highest class of seat you can afford.  If you are like me and can only afford economy, choose the most comfortable seat available even if it means you have to pay a fee.  I am a bit claustrophobic so I vividly remember the two flights where I did not have an aisle seat.  
  2. In the old days, airlines provided pillows and blankets for all of their passengers.  These days, economy passengers are lucky to get a seat belt!  Getting as much sleep as possible will help to ward off jet lag and it is a lot easier to sleep when you feel cozy.  If you are travelling to a cold climate, bring a cardigan or an overcoat which you can use as a blanket, on board.  If you are travelling to a warm climate bring a pareo or beach towel either of which will double for a blanket, also bring an inflatable neck pillow.
  3. Drink a lot, preferably water 😉 Not only will this keep you hydrated in the Sahara-like on-board environment but will force you to make several trips to the toilet which leads us to tip number 4.
  4. Move!!  Do those at your seat exercises (see the in-flight magazine) but also get up and walk.  Big airplanes have miles (kilometers) of aisles that you can stroll up and down.  You can easily get your 10,000 steps done, just ask any flight attendant.
  5. Wear comfortable clothes and shoes.  You might think your jeans are comfortable until you have had to wear them for more than 24 hours and sleep in them.  Also, metal buttons, zippers, and buckles could set off the security alarms at the airport so choose to wear something that more closely resembles pyjamas.
  6. Bring lip balm and hand lotion/ moisturizer (see tip 3).
  7. Bring a pen (sounds so simple but you’d be surprised how often I have had to lend mine to the person sitting next to me).
  8. View the hours you are forced to spend in airports and on planes as an opportunity to research your destination when you aren’t walking or sleeping.
  9. Bring a book, e-reader, or Ipad.
  10. If you have any food restrictions make sure to pre-order your meals.

A night out in KL

Kuala Lumpur, or KL as it is often called, is the largest city in Malaysia.  According to Lonely Planet, “The founding of KL was almost an accident. In 1857, 87 Chinese prospectors in search of tin landed at the meeting point of the Klang and Gombak rivers and set up camp, naming the spot Kuala Lumpur, meaning ‘muddy confluence’.”

These days Kuala Lumpur is more famous for the Petronas Twin Towers than it is for the twin muddy rivers.  I have written about my frequent trips from Singapore to KL but this post is about an opportunity I had to share my favourite part of KL with some visiting Canadians.

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We began our evening at Bijan Bar & Restaurant which advertises that they serve “fine Malay cuisine”.  The food, the ambiance, and the service were all great.  This restaurant is located in the trendy Bukit Bintang area so there were plenty of places to choose from for a ‘nightcap’ after we finished our wonderful meal.

My Bucket List

A friend of mine is travelling in Italy right now.  She posted photos of Cinque Terre on Facebook.  I commented that I was jealous because Italy is still on my bucket list.  It occurred to me that I am either incredibly selfish or pathologically addicted to doing things that are not routine.

I have lived in five countries in three of the seven continents but I am still not satisfied.  I have travelled to dozens of countries and the only continent left for me to set foot on is Antartica, but I am still not content.  What will it take for me to stop travelling and settle down?

My bucket list is not getting shorter.  When I was a child I wanted to go to Greece which I called “the birthplace of civilization” and to Rome which I called “the cradle of civilization”.  A few years later, I had added Egypt to the list because of the Pyramids.  I also decided that I was going to live in Paris but I can’t honestly remember why.  When I did finally start travelling, more places got added to the list than got struck off.  It was a bit like a hamster-wheel.  I was going places but not getting any closer to finding completion.

If you would like me to write about a particular place, just ask.  It is always my pleasure to share the trip.

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Seeing with new eyes

I have been to Kuala Lumpur so many times that I have lost count. I have stayed in a variety of hotels, in a number of neighbourhoods, so I stopped thinking of going to KL as travel. It had become mundane, ordinary, routine.

Last week everything changed; well, almost everything. I took a bus that I have taken countless times but instead of leaving late, as it always had before, it left 15 minutes early. Instead of turning left at the usual intersection, it turned right and I was able to see a part of Singapore I had never seen before, even though I have lived here for 6 years.

Upon arrival in Kuala Lumpur, the bus went through an area that I had never seen before. I was sitting on the edge of my seat with my nose pressed to the window. This is travelling!

I remembered that when I was about to leave Botswana, I started seeing commonplace sights differently. I called it “seeing with good-bye eyes”. When we travel to a place for the first time and everything is new, we see it with shining clarity. If we stay, some things start to seem dull.

Perhaps this phenomenon is like growing old. When we are children most of our experiences are new. As adults, most things are run-of-the-mill. Then as seniors, we start to see the world with ‘good-bye eyes’.

Wishing all my readers the chance to see everything around them with new eyes.