Thursday, August 26, 2010

Debra – Miles To Go Before I Sleep

I have just returned from Australia.  Yep.  That’s where I’ve been.  Missed me?

No?  Geez.  Lie a little.  It wouldn’t kill you.  Pretend you noticed I was gone.

What did I learn during those long miles on a plane ?

1) Frequent Flyer miles are your friend.  The Business Class with 180 degree recline with foot rest is awesome!  You’re in your own little cubicle, with a TV, power outlet, lovely people waiting on you hand and foot.  A back massager in the seat!!  And a remote control for everything, including the light, air, footrest, etc.  The TV has an inexhaustible movie, TV show and game supply.  And a very handy feature that you can use to check exactly where you are.  The screen shows you a map, tells you how much longer you’ll be in flight.  I used it to figure out when I should go to sleep so I could arrived “rested” when we landed in Sydney.

Yes, you may all laugh now.   I stayed up all night watching movies.  And reading Anne Stuart’s RUTHLESS.  And asking for things to drink.  And then hitting the loo.

2)  Packing my Kindle with submissions and SWEARING that I was going to work all those hours over and back was the height of delusion.  I’m a bad, bad editor.  :/

3)  You do not want to hear your pilot say, “Well, folks.  It looks like we’re going to have to divert to Brisbane because we’ve over-burned our fuel and we’re not sure we can circle safely before landing in Sydney if there is any delay.”

Seriously.  He said that.  I’m not making this up to be humorous.  So, we flew all that way and an extra 2-3 hours to divert, land, refuel, and wait in line to take off again.

4)  I should have known there would be some problems in Australia because when we landed LATE in LA to switch planes, we were cutting it very very close for making our international flight.  So close my husband told me to “gather and go” the moment the pilot turned off the seatbelt light.  Even in first class and first off he still thought we’d have to run for it.

Nope.   We walked off one plane and walked diagonally across to our next gate.  The flight was boarding but we made the plane.  No running necessary. That should have been the clue that we’d just used up our allotment of travel luck!

5)  Okay, this isn’t really about learning anything, but the return trip?  That was about 34 hours door-to-door.  Everything went wrong.  Delays, missed planes, broken planes.

Despite the usual travel hassles, Australia is such a lovely country with lovely people.  I attended the Romance Writers of Australia conference.  What a great group of writers!!  But even people we didn’t know were nice to us.  Like when the nice police car pulled up to my husband as we were driving down a mall area designated for people only.  “Are you lost, sir?”  ROFL.  Yeah.  That was amusing.

How’s your summer been?  Any funny travel incidents?  What books did you take along to read?


krisgils33 said...

How often does that happen....just having to go across the aisle to reach the gate of the next plane?? Especially if you're late...that automatically means you have to go from one end of the airport to the other to get the connection.

My worst travel experience was going off to London to speak at a conference, then traveling on a Friday night to New Delhi, getting up the next day to visit the Taj Mahal (my only touristy thing on the trip and a really long day), flying to Mumbai the next day for 3days of painfully long meetings. The last night, our hosts (the Indian gov) kept us out until after midnight when we had a 5 am departure time to the airport. We then flew to Bhavnagar, spent the day visiting facilities, went to a reception, then at 11 pm were driven 5 hours on the scary Indian highways to the Ahmedabad airport, then fly to Shanghai (via Delhi again), followed by 2 days of more really long meetings and a visit to a facility 3 hours north of Shanghai, then fly back to DC. I did enough air and bus travel those 12 days to last me a lifetime (unfortunately, it was merely a blip on my travel schedule!). I have never been so exhausted than on that trip!

Michele Hauf said...

Sounds like a good time was had in Australia. That's not a flight I think I could ever manage without going a tiny bit insane locked inside that tiny cubicle for so long.

I think I'd pack my Kindle on a flight too, and just hope I didn't need it because I was able to sleep instead. But I know better. Can't sleep in the car, so can't sleep on a plane. That was not fun when we went to Paris, and I wasn't able to catch a few winks on the flight.

Terry Odell said...

I did the Australia run--Orlando to Melbourne, although we stopped in LA to see our son graduate so it wasn't QUITE as long a trip. But we came back in one swell foop. I'll never look at people sitting at the airport bar at 10 AM the same way again. Body clocks aren't always anywhere near local time.

Orlando to Cape Town was a killer trip. And although our airline didn't quite have the cubicle type seating, business class with those reclining seats is a must.

I didn't watch too many movies. If e-readers had been invented when we went to Hawaii, I would have taken one. For the trip to South Africa, I was concerned about re-charging my dinosaur e-Bookwise, so I took what I considered "disposable" paperbacks. Still had to buy more before we came home.

Terry's Place
Romance with a Twist--of Mystery

Leanne said...

34 HOURS!?! ACK! That's like 6 hours less than a 40 hour work week. Wow, I don't know, Debra. I really want to go to New Zealand, but 34 hours.... Loved your cubicle, although I would have had to wonder around a bit. Sometimes travel is so tiring and stressful that I think it's hard to make yourself work on the plane.

One of my worst travel experiences was sitting next to a guy who chewed tobacco and spit it into a plastic cut during the entire flight.

Welcome back! We missed you!:)

Kathleen Eagle said...

Okay, I'm going to lie a little. I didn't miss you, Deb. Not one bit.

On the way home from London years back I got "kicked up" to First Class. Man, that was nice, but I wouldn't have realized just how nice unless I'd flown NY to London in coach. You don't know how cramped coach is until you've crossed the pond. And that was back in the good ol' '80's!

Good to have you back, Deb!

Debra Dixon said...

Kris !!

Holy Crap, Batman. What an itinerary. I'm not sure how you survived.

And you had to be "coherent and social" because of the situations.

::bowing:: This is me genuflecting to a true road warrior.

Debra Dixon said...


I loved the cubicle. It does feel pretty "open" and you can get up and walk the aisles anytime. There is a lot of headroom above you which is why you need the remote for the light.

Wayne flies internationally a lot but this was my first seriously long plane ride if you don't count Hawaii. I was in the "coach" seats which were awful for that long! So, I liked this much better.

Debra Dixon said...


Oh, yeah the new battery life on ereaders makes all the difference!

I loved how one of the reviews for the new Kindle 3 said it had enough battery for space travel. LOL!

And you sound like a serious world traveler!

For as much as I travel (constantly) I'm always amazed at how little I've traveled internationally. The rest of the world has left me in the dust.

Debra Dixon said...


"That's like 6 hours less than a 40 hour work week."

Okay, I hadn't thought of it that way!! OMG.

The normal trip to NZ from LA is about 14-17 hours. So, it's not quite that bad and seriously the plane ride (once you take off!!) is a piece of cake in those seats.

Debra Dixon said...


Awww... you missed me. You really did. (g)

Yes, I think my appreciation of this flight comes from the Hawaii flight in coach where they pack them in like sardines.

lois greiman said...

Thanks for coming back alive, Deb.

Australia is number 1 on my international place to visit some day. But I do get a little nuts when I'm cooped up too long. And 34 hours is toooo long.

ForestJane said...

How do the cubicles work if you're traveling with someone? Did you and Wayne just... e-mail each other throughout the flight?


Dear Wayne
My chicken salad is good, how is your turkey club?

Debra Dixon said...


You'd love vacations with my Uncle. He does stuff like go to Australia for a month and then leave the city behind. Very action oriented guy.

He did some of the standard tourist agenda but mostly he explored Australia.

We didn't have that luxury. I was working for half the trip so that limited how much time we could spend getting TO whatever we wanted to do. We had to hang near Sydney and do day trips.

The Sea Cliff Bridge drive was nice.

Helen Brenna said...

We did miss you, Deb. Glad you're home safely. I would go INSANE with 34 hours of travel time. I might just cross NZ and Aust off my travel list. Ouch.

Sounds as though the RWA Australia conference was worth it!

Debra Dixon said...


the way the seats are arranged, it's kind of a V in the middle of the plane with two "pods" making a V and then a line of seats down each side.

/ V \
/ V \
/ V \
/ V \

My head was near Wayne's head so I could turn around and reach over to poke him to say something.

Debra Dixon said...

Helen-- It's a fab conference. Much smaller than RWA. Whole different mindset and crew. They are all volunteers. No paid staff. Probably more like we were in the early days. Or a large regional conference.

Australia isn't that many hours. We just had multiple, cascading failures as we traveled home. (g)

Christie Ridgway said...

Whoa. Serious traveling. But Business Class sounds so comfy. I'm pretty short so Coach isn't horrid for me, but I would fly to travel as you described.

Did I tell you guys I just ordered the new Kindle. I went for the wifi one. But I hemmed and hawed and didn't order until they'd sold out so I won't get it on the drop date of Aug. 27th. Still don't know when.

KylieBrant said...

Sounds like a great trip (except for the actual traveling part!) I'd love to go to Australia some time.

Debra Dixon said...

Christie-- You're going to love love love your Kindle. Promise.

Kylie-- Yeah, traveling usually sucks. My friend Andria sends me her emails from the road and she's always having the best time. It think it comes down to enjoying the unexpected and I'm sooo not that.

Keri Ford said...

okay. I'm jealous! I want to just sit in one of those business class seats and you got to ride in them!!

husband is itching to go to Aus. one day...some maybe we'll make it there sometime.