THE BUSINESS OF FLYING HOME

I’m interrupting the broadcast that is my overview of our European vacation for an awesomely epic announcement! (Okay it isn’t so much an announcement, but something rare for a family that doesn’t have a money tree in their front – or back – yard, so I just had to document and write about it).

Best intentions. Yes we all have the best of intentions when we are preparing for something big. Like preparing for a long haul flight in economy. Of course like everyone else hubby and I had the best of intentions in preparing for our two part, long haul flight home to Australia. Our intention was to have an nice early-ish night giving us a good sleep for the first time on our trip, and head out after an early breakfast to do some shopping before heading to board our plane. I know I know – at least our intention was good right? So instead we did a late night Greek theatre show, a convo with the director after at her request, late night to bed, dragged ourselves out of bed for breakfast before going for a walk to pick up a new top and some *ahem* chocolate before going to the airport.

To say that we were all tired was an understatement…really, I’m surprised the airport security didn’t mistake our entry to the airport with the Zombie Apocalypse. So we were keen as to get on the plane and just get the whole flying thing over and done with very quickly so we could enjoy our four nights in to attend IGNITE Tour, and get rested after our six week holiday in Europe. So we lined up with everyone else to check in for our flight when the check in lady asks us if we want to upgrade to business class for a quite reasonable amount of money. We did consider it may have been way too expensive for us and seeing that we were thinking of saying no they offered one of the ticket upgrades for free, however it was still beyond what we were prepared to pay, another hostess walked up and offered to give us two for free. A little ‘eeek’ are we really going to pay that much to fly business class later and both hubby and I said yes! We have very little occasion to fly business class especially with two children on hand with us – its normally quite expensive for just one person let alone a family. But hell yeah…we were all trying very hard to stop ourselves from squealing with delight.

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Firstly…executive lounge – thank you very much! Yummm…lovely little snacky lunch and a lovely drink and a relax before boarding our flight. Bypass the line to board? Why yes please. I must say that I needed to give myself a bit of a mental bitch slap for having that thought of “sucked in!!!” when the economy passengers began walking past looking longingly at our spacious accommodations – after all, we would have to be those economy people once again so remember to be grateful gosh darn it!

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Secondly…the plane. So we boarded our plane and the set up is amazing. For example it appears that my seat has multiple functions. It is a chair, a recliner, A BED!, A MASSAGER!!, A CUBICLE!!! (Can you tell I have never flown Business Class). My little cubicle had storage area for my bag, a foot rest, a spacious table, a tv, a little area for bits, bottled water waiting for us, A DOONA! When I needed to visit the little girls room I found it to be only for Business Class, way more spacious, and complete with aromatherapy spritz, moisturiser, and eternally immaculate in cleanliness.

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We also had coloured mood lighting throughout the trip…wow! Talk about spoilt. It was a little odd being frequently called ma’am and constantly being offered alcohol (yeah right like I’m going to experience this under a haze of booze….nah!). But I soaked it up when brought our A la carte menu with the most amazing food on it – and yes they suggested a different type of wine with each course lol…nah!

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So all in all we really enjoyed the high life even if it was only for five hours, and I really loved that I could let my kids experience it too – and they really appreciated it for sure. So now we are to disembark and head to our FIFTEEN. HOUR. ECONOMY. FLIGHT. TO. AUSTRALIA. ICK!

See you on the other side!

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THE PLUCKY JET-SETTERS

Sooo…I guess you think my trip must have been cancelled since I haven’t done a post since I had spoken about our overseas adventure. I promised that I would write and share all my family’s adventures throughout England, France, Spain, Switzerland, Italy, and Greece. I promised I would share photos, and stories, and anecdotes about this entire journey. Yet here I am already two weeks into our trip and almost in our third country – Spain – with not one hint of sharing this amazing journey. That is until now.

There are a few reasons I have been slacking off sharing this with you all until now, and although one reason could very well be that there has been little time – at least in Paris – that there hasn’t been at least a pastry, a baguette, some chocolate, or some wine gracing one of the hands I use to type with, or I’ve been climbing up and down the five billion stairs both England and Paris seem to have to prevent their decadent, rich foods from making them all obese diabetics.

So I think I should catch you all up on the story so far. We flew out of the Sunshine Coast (Australia) on Monday September 1st to Melbourne, where we were meant to all fly to London via Abu Dhabi, notice the word ‘meant’ thrown in there. This was Little Miss 8 Mackenzie’s first ever flight anywhere and although we planned well with chewing gum, water, the usual mechanisms to help ears – we began descending whilst Macca began screaming and crying. Nobody could console my poor little munchkin – not even the experienced flight attendants could do anything for her – and although we thought it would pass, we were quickly told by the airport doctor that Mackenzie did not have clearance to fly and was being grounded for a minimum of three days. When we realised that Lauren and I would have to go ahead (because I was already a nervous wreck about getting in the plane – so building up again for three days would have been the end of me), my heart ended up in my throat and all I could do was cry at the terminal saying goodbye to my husband and my baby as Miss Teen Rebel Lauren and I boarded the plane.

I didn’t think my claustrophobia was quite that bad until we get seated for a long haul (14hr) flight and realise that our domestic seats where roomier. We flew Etihad and although I felt trapped with swollen legs the entire time having to excuse myself to walk the aisles and stretch when the feeling became unbearable, the service was impeccable and they kept us sedated with lovely meals and snacks frequently, with on demand television and movies, and a flight tracker (so you know your plane is going where its meant to I guess). Lauren and I changed planes at Abu Dhabi and boy was it a culture shock with so many different cultures in the one place and things being done so differently, it was a little daunting. The one thing we thought was awesome (being the clean freaks we are), was that the toilets were constantly staffed and being cleaned after every use! AFTER EVERY USE! The flight from Abu Dhabi however was just exceptional seeing us get seats that were near the exit and no one in front of us so leg room – hello! On top of that they buggered up my lunch order so I ended up with eggs and spinach made especially by the first class chef….mmmmmm.

LONDON

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My sister in law Emma (aka – my new best friend as dubbed by my tosser brother cranky we wouldn’t be coming to see his sorry butt – okay rant over), picked us up at Heathrow and even though we had only been skyping and messaging between us for the past 10+ years, it was like we had known each other forever. Although sad the rest of us were not there, we had a great time having dinner with friends out (oh my they don’t know what a lemon lime and bitters is!), and having a beautiful day in London. I did manage to drive in England and I now know how people drive in Europe – the idea is ‘pretend there is no one else on the roads, and drive where ever and however the hell you like’ – CONGRATULATIONS…YOU ARE NOW A EUROPEAN DRIVER!!! Yes, I too have learnt how to be a crazy European driver!

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It was great with hubby arriving with our baby girl, and we went straight to Harry Potter Studios. Oh wow that place is amazing with all the original stage sets and some of the actual set designers there when we went. The kids all had a go at wand lessons and we all went on the Hogwarts Train. Yes we all got our very own wand with the Aunties buying the nieces and nephew their own wand of choice. During our time in England we managed to see the beautiful Stonehenge, Dover Castle complete with the creepily cold underground tunnels and LOTS OF STAIRS in the castle, Changing of The Guards, Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, Florence Nightingale Museum, Westminster Abbey, and…..DISNEY SHOP ON OXFORD STREET – busy busy shopping district and definitely a place Lauren wanted to spend days at. We experienced the very noisy and fast paced underground, and got to travel in both a black London Cab and a red double decker bus. The most rewarding thing about England though was the time we got with my beautiful sister in law and my nieces and nephew (unfortunately I missed meeting my other sister in law and nephew but that will be for next time when we are there longer). I got to do the Aunty thing and spoil them, annoy them, read them a book, take them to school, take a million photos, and be super super distressed when we had to say goodbye last week when we boarded the Eurostar to head to Paris for a week. But that is for another post….

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What was your experience of England?

CHASING FEAR

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Fear. If we are truly honest with ourselves we would openly admit that fear is the race car driver when it should actually be the exhaust smoke – a burnt up byproduct of our journey through life. When you strip back the layers of fluff that surround the deep inner motives that shape the decisions we make in life you will find fear. If you don’t find fear ever, then there is a chance that you are either totally and wholly perfect or you are just pulling your own leg and need to get real.

I have loads of fears and many of them quite common in the general population, some specific to women and mothers. Here they are, careful this could be dangerous. I am fearful of spiders, bugs and crunchy insects. I am fearful of not being the best mother, friend or partner that I should be. I am fearful of being rejected, ridiculed and dismissed by the people that matter to me, or anyone for that matter. I am fearful of not being enough both personally and professionally. I am fearful of deep water, flying and public speaking.

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Now if you look at all the decisions we make on a regular basis you can see how these fears can impact on the conclusions we come to and the steps we take. Just recently we made the final decision that we would be taking our two daughters out of private school and putting them into a very good state school. Don’t get me wrong I am happy with this decision however at the same time I found myself questioning myself and how this reflected on me as a mother, whether I would lose some of the friendships I have made, not being embraced by the new people I would meet, and how this was going to impact my children. I understand when I look at this that some of this apprehension comes from my deeply ingrained and long history of self worth issues.

It is similar to what I feel like if I have to public speak. I feel like everyone is thinking “who the jelly is she? Who does she think she is – she isn’t the leading expert so what would she know”. I recognise however that this stems from this place of low self worth. So what did I do about it? I followed my “2013 YEAR OF AWESOME” instincts and decided to leap straight into this fear and get the jelly over it. A couple of months ago I accepted a backfill position as a Learning and Development Officer delivering education within the company I work for. It does prove for interesting conversation however when I am discussing with the participants about Personal Safety and fears – none of them believe me when I say public speaking is one of my biggest fears. I guess this means I must be building my own bridge step by step and gleefully (okay glee is a string word) getting over it. Yay me!

Miss Rebel Writer also asked me recently why I hadn’t applied to talk at TEDx NOOSA? Apparently my 13 year old believes in me more than I do! Six months ago I probably would have laughed hysterically and never gave it another thought, however now I only just laughed hysterically before actually giving it some serious thought. The theme for 2014 is ‘space’ taken either literally or figuratively. So far what I have come up with is the idea of creative space and creative license. My idea I think is worth spreading, and the idea I would like to share is that I believe that we should in all areas create space that allows for creative thought and action. For example at school we should be allocating unscheduled and unplanned time for creative thought and the time and space to do so, instead of trying to constantly fit our children into boxes. This allows them time to become connected with thought and be able to recognise their own thought patterns. In university, I believe that each bachelo/degree etc, should have at least one subject that allows for free thought and innovation – after all it is a falicy that uni students are brain dead from hours of study and little sleep (most of the time), instead this is the time when their minds are fresh, energised, and engaged in what they are doing. In our workplaces there should be allocated paid time for innovative thinking and brainstorming discussions that are also unplanned to allow the people in the battleground of their respective fields to move it forward. It is difficult for them to have these epiphanies during their working hours due to increased workloads, and by the time they get home many want to leave work behind to manage that dynamic balance in their lives. Releasing this potential in people releases the universal potential for great ideas, great change, great futures. What are our thoughts on these things?

My next leap is to face my fear of deep water. I’m facing this via baby steps next month with Melinda from MAB Personal Training as we have a group of us kayak from Golden Beach on the Sunshine Coast, over to Bribie Island and back. I still have plenty of fears. Some that relate to the lack of support I receive from family and friends regarding this blog – something i am passionate about of course. But all will be addressed as they arise, because finally I see that in fact I AM ENOUGH! My self worth does not depend on whether those closest to me read, or share my blog articles, nor is it dependant on whether material that is mine is acknowledged when used (although I do understand the copyright implications for the future). It is totally dependant on me. Can you tell I’ve been reading a significant amount of Brene Browns book Daring Greatly?

So tell me, what fears are you chasing? Or are you still hiding them under your bed….