On Last Minute Packing and Other Pre-Departure Concerns

“This time tomorrow I’ll be in Australia” I remarked excitedly, before coming to the realisation that I’d be less than a quarter of the way through my 20-hour journey. With a sigh of exasperation I turned my attention back to the Wimbledon final. My idol Federer was being thrashed by the one and only “djock strap’ (my inspired name for Djokovic), and I really wasn’t enjoying watching him send backhand after backhand beyond the baseline.

That was 24 hours ago, and as I write this I can already feel the dehydration kicking in as I enter the second hour of my sterile Qatar airways flight. So far the journey has been reasonably uneventful- for me at least, as I’m known to attract chaos and disaster.

This said, I can still list a fair few mishaps that have occurred…

Packing was a relatively last minute affair, which involved an out of breath me running up and down the stairs countless times as I forgot various item two storeys below. It’s safe to say that I must have lost a couple of pounds after two days of packing-related mayhem (or maybe I’m just being hopeful). Having finally crammed the last of my obscure items into my suitcase (yes I do need a bucket to put pencils in and a blue kangaroo soft toy!), I proceeded to place my very heavy and unstable suitcase on our ancient weighing scales. To my horror they registered five kilos over the allowed weight. So the re packing commenced and by the time we’d finished it was 2 am.

Pre packing...

Pre packing…

The next difficulty that we inevitably encountered was an announcement on the radio that climate activists had broken into the north runway at Heathrow and were holding up flights. Suffice to say this worried me slightly. However, this was nothing compared to the near heart attack I experienced when my friend texted me, saying that we were actually departing from Gatwick! I’ll get him back one day…

Inevitably, when we arrived at Heathrow (or was it Gatwick?!) my bags were still overweight. The only solution to this was obviously to sweet talk the guy at the desk so he wouldn’t notice my extra bag… Or maybe it was my dad’s incessant flow of questions that did the trick. Either way, it worked.

Having miraculously made it safely through security (I swear that’s never happened before), we proceeded to buy four 1L bottles of Smirnoff Vodka, leaving the shop with the typical student “clink clink”. I then attempted to buy a bottle of water, which proved more difficult. The offer at WH Smith was a free bottle of water if you bought a Daily Telegraph. This sounds fairly straight forward, doesn’t it? Not for me. I first tried to get the wrong water bottle, so I went and swapped it- before realising it was the right one after all. The machine didn’t like this minor disturbance and so demanded assistance. The poor assistant had to scan her fob about five times before anything actually happened. I knew I was scared of self-checkout machines for a reason.

Now, nearing the second hour of the six-hour flight, my back is aching and my arse is considerably numb. I sound like an old woman already! I’m also slowly being driven mad by the ‘relaxing’ music they play in business class (I managed to get a cheeky upgrade, leaving my friends stranded in economy class). To top it off, I can’t even work out how the seat reclines. I guess I know how I’m going to occupy myself for the rest of this flight…

Tip: if you’re going away for as long as a year, try to start packing more than two days in advance.


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