Sydney Airport – my old friend

Hello old friend we meet again. I’m sitting in the departures hall surrounded by people speaking languages I don’t understand. Happy travellers returning home or starting their next adventure?

Check in and security completed with a minimum of fuss, although note to self – the boots with the metal trims? Don’t wear them next time! Rooky error! I’ve streamlined my packing and look smuggly at those who are wrestling with their hand luggage to get out all the liquids while I pop my prepackaged plastic ziplock in the tray. Hazar! Travel Ninga status restored

I have 90 more minutes to waste and I’m wishing I hadn’t had that extra glass of cheap wine to help me sleep! My stomach is a little squeamish. Is that nerves or a hangover. Both, no doubt. I do hope it isn’t the slightly under heated lamb shank I had last night at the hotel.

How things have changed in the years since I took my first international flight. That flight, to Italy, was my first time ever on a plane. It was January 1982. After leaving Sydney we stopped in Melbourne then Perth then Singapore then Bahrain, and finally Rome. Mechanical repairs at Bahrain meant we sat on the tarmac for six hours, air con off, no food, no water. Thirty. six. hours. Thirty of those confined to a tiny seat. Thankfully I was small and could curl up cat-like. Thankfully, I was travelling with someone I could lounge against without concern. The invisible force field surrounding the chair could be extended – a little. The toilets became blocked. The plane remained in that state until we got off in Rome.

Back in those days international travel was a novelty. At least for my family and friends who hailed from more or less working class roots. My brother had been to London a couple of years before but unless you count Lord Howe Island, my parents had never left Australia. The ex’s dad worked for Qantas, so his family flew frequently on staff tickets. Cheap travel sure, but you didn’t count your chickens until the door was closed and cross checked because you could get off loaded if another paying passenger needed the seat.

“Seeing a friend off” was a social occasion. Your friendship group would drive you to the Airport and as payment, you would shout them a few drinks at the Airport Bar before racing to the gate. I don’t remember if there was any security screening but I do remember that your friends could come right up to the departure gate where there were many teary goodbyes.

In 1982 the decor vibe was timber paneling and 70’s orange. Since then, it’s undergone many, many renovations. Every time I come here there are hoardings covering up more promised improvements. It’s bright and airy with charging points and interesting seating nooks. Tom Hanks’ character could live here quite happily.

It’s beginning to brighten up outside as Sydney starts it’s day. Jets have started to leave as the curfew is lifted. Come on Iain, it’s time to move to the gate.

Iain! It’s a bit early!

Planning My Scottish Holiday Episode 5

A map of Scotland with Acamera and passport

Well folks, here is the final installment in My Planning a Scottish Holiday Series. In the next couple of days I will be leaving for Scotland.  I started this planning journey in mid 2018 and I now have a detailed and comprehensive plan (the Manifesto)  of what I am doing and where I am going. As stated in a previous post I have my travelling companion, Iain, all ready to go.

 

I’m looking forward to the “doing” now the planning is done.

I have attached a blank copy of the detailed itinerary pages I talk about in the video. Please feel free to use them and let me know if they have been helpful.

Template detailed itinerary 1

PS Notice Ii didn’t say anything about how heavy my bag was? The 15kg limit I set myself has been blown! I’m up to 19kg!

Planning a Scottish Vacation – Episode 4

A map of Scotland with Acamera and passport

I have booked the flights! Yes it’s still months to go but since I was using frequent flyer points and they only set aside a limited number of places for award tickets I decided to get in early. So a nearly free flight!

This video discusses why I have chosen to fly with Korean Airlines even though they are not always the cheapest or the most direct route to my destinations. I think being loyal to this one brand has been worthwhile. I am a member of the Morning Calm Club which gives me access to the Prestige Class Lounge at the airport and priority baggage handling as well as extra baggage limits. I have had one free upgrade and now the “free” ticket. It was free except for taxes and the fact that I have flown with them for eight international return trips!

I have also recommended an app called Tripit, which aggregates all your travel information into one place which you can access from any device or computer. So even though I still have my trusty printed spreadsheet; I also have this electronic version that sends me alerts if any flight/booking details changes.

Next episode,  I will have the itinerary pretty much finalised.

Planning a Scottish Vacation – Episode 3

A map of Scotland with Acamera and passport

In this very short episode you can see the method I use to select the places I will visit on my Scottish road trip. I look at the map, do some internet research and add it to the list. Eventually, it will lead to a more or less coherent itinerary.

More or less…..

I made this clip using the new Adobe Rush… not sure about it yet…

PS: Now that I am up to watching the final episodes in Neil Oliver’s History of Scotland I understand why the castle looks like a French chateaux. I had not realised that there was such a strong connection between Scotland and France.  I need to study more history!

Travelling Light!

This post is the first in an occasional series of Travel Tip Tuesday Posts. It will be a quick and easy read and include links to (hopefully) useful sites.


I have been on the road enough times that I have some travel hacks sorted out. I know it’s easier to take the ipad and not worry about a computer because you don’t have to put it in a separate tray when you go through the security check. I know you need a different adapter for the UK compared to the US. I take my own extension lead and power board that way I only need one adapter but can plug in all my Aussie devices at once. I know it makes sense to use packing cubes to make organising your suitcase easier. I even have those roll up vacuum bags that you can squeeze the air out of. I know about putting things inside your shoes. I know about making sure you are well dressed when you go to the airport to increase your chance of an upgrade. I know about having my carry-on bathroom stuff in a see-through bag. I know about wearing your heavy clothes on the plane.

This stuff I know!

It’s not the mechanics of packing I have a problem with. What I am not good at is taking the right amount of the right stuff. I always, always always overpack and end up bringing things home clean and pristine, albeit a little wrinkled. I end up wearing the same few things and lamenting my poor choices of what I thought I would wear. I pick up a particular jumper and think to myself “when did I think I was EVER going to wear that. Why didn’t I bring XYZ jumper instead!”

I have learned I don’t need something different to wear everyday but I still take too much. Viz a viz

  • The nice outfit in case I get an invitation to a fancy dinner (hasn’t happened yet!).

  • The fancy shoes to match the nice dress for the yet to materialize dinner invitation.

  • The extra pair of pj’s in case you can’t wash…I have always been able to find some way to wash my clothes, it’s not like I am going to the moon!

  • The 6 changes of shorts/pants/skirts – 4 would probably be plenty

  • The 10 T-shirt’s/shirts/tops – 6 would definitely be enough

  • The jacket and the wet weather jacket – I could get a wet weather jacket that looked ok to wear anytime

  • The hiking boots and runners – I don’t think I can cut down on these. I can’t run in hiking boots and my runners are not sturdy enough to hike in.

It’s not just  the ‘wasted” outfits that are a problem. As a solo traveller I have to be able to manage all that stuff on my own and still be able to fit it and me into a toilet cubicle!

(Just an aside I think that is one of the main hassles of travelling alone – going to the bathroom and having no-one to watch your stuff!)

To date my method is to pile everything up on the spare bed and then only take half – it’s still too much!

I need to be able to hoike that suitcase into the back of the car, onto the train, up the stairs by myself.

For my next trip (to Scotland – I’m excited) I have set a challenge to take just one 15kg checked bag and no carry on other than a backpack. (I will have an overnight layover, so need a change of clothes)  That will give me 8 kg of wiggle room if I end up buying anything.

I have a few months to get organised and I have decided to base my travel wardrobe on the “capsule” theory of a few outfits you can mix and match. 14 items –  30 outfits. That sort of thing. You’ve seen them no doubt.

That’s what I am going to do! You will be my accountability partners!  I will limit myself to 15 items (not including underwear etc) and 4 pairs of shoes. Two of which will be runners and the hiking boots.

Let’s see how I go! I will post again when I am packed.

Here are a few links I will be using to help me out.

https://www.momondo.com.au/discover/article/packing-tips-solo-travel

https://www.skyscanner.net/news/15-best-ever-packing-tips

https://pin.it/b7arfwfydz6gft

https://pin.it/lgomjp46vuzxby

BTW it’s going to have to be a big backpack!