It’s been fifteen years. Fifteen years of intensive work travel.
When I started, I was presented with six A to Z’s. I covered the East of England. My Welsh mentality of all roads leading to the M25 was quickly disproven on a long journey from Luton to Cambridge.
From there I learned the geography of England, covering the country I became familiar with the service stations which had McDonald’s and a map of Tesco petrol stations. I was still at the age where McDonald’s didn’t hit the scales.
From days of racking up over 40,000 miles per year to now, life has changed immensely.I now drive as a last resort. My preference now is to travel by train. I’ve learned the art of packing an overnight bag. Luggage dependent on how many days I’m working way. Preferred clothes for lightweight packing.
I’ve perfected the knack of getting through customs on flights to and from Scotland. Fuss-free clothes and shoes for a quick walk-through, not having to be asked to separate electronics and make-up.
Driving now is such a chore, of time wasted. I have timings as to what can be achieved on trains and planes down to a tee. Procrastinating doesn’t seem an option when you’re on fixed time.
I’ve learned to value the time I spend away, rather than begrudging the nights I don’t spend with my family. Remembering to take my camera with me from time to time. Getting to see great theatre.There are the journeys I would rather have not taken. The round trip to London for a meeting where the attendee didn’t show. A train destination not reached, left to find our own way from an outer London station, arriving ridiculously late for a workshop. Sat on runways because no-one is available to help us disembark, as the minutes eat away into a meeting I’m supposed to be attending.
Then there are the journeys which affect you, and it takes a little longer to regain your karma.
I’ve written on my Facebook page about my thought that I had developed a fear of flying.
It didn’t make sense, how could I have taken so many long and short-haul flights that now, taking flights to Scotland, I had found a fear of flying.
I rationalised. I’m a weak swimmer. All the airports I use (Cardiff, Edinburgh, London City) all seem close to a large expanse of water.
I found that if I sat in an aisle seat it was fine. If you can’t see it’s not actually happening.
But as I passed my phone to the gentleman sitting next to me on a recent flight to ask him to capture the beautiful pink sunset I realised I had to get to the crux of the problem.All things said I can’t miss out on the beauty of the world because I don’t want to look out of a window.
As I pondered, I remembered, my worst flight, from where it had all escalated.
29th January 2016. The usual. Taxi pick up 0530, Flight departure 0630. On take off we were told conditions in Edinburgh were “blustery”. Ten minutes before we were due to land we were informed “options were being assessed. We’re going to go down to investigate. We may divert.” I don’t think I’ve been on a flight where so many white paper bags were opened. Maybe I should just commend myself on using my birthing techniques to breathe through it.
These weather conditions were brought by Storm Gertrude.
And therein lies the problem of flying, the weather isn’t gradual, you can leave one location in perfect conditions and put your faith in someone that you’ll arrive safely at your destination in less than desirable weather.
But you know, that was January. I’ve probably done the journey ten times since then. And yes, there’s a niggle, but it’s not insurmountable.