Now, some 24 hours in the air (including one 15 1/2 hour stint stuck in a single metal tube), three countries, and some 10 hours sitting in airports later, I am merely 3 more hours in an airport and one international flight away from my final destination.
It feels wonderful. Old hat. And I probably won't want to do out again for at least another year.
Still, this trip is teaching me some lessons, new and old, already. Like:
- When you get a new passport, sign it before the boarding gate attendant at your third airport finally notices.
- Yes, even if your final destination is 95 degrees and humid, do pack a down jacket for that first flight at 6 am and -5 degrees. You can use it as a neck pillow later.
- O'Hare sucks to hang out in.
- Yoga pants are great for long international flights.
- 16 hour flight? Go prepared for misery. Plan to read at least two books and watch at least one in-flight movie. Out won't seem as bad when you realize it's just going to be bad.
- Asia's version of the TSA is worse than the regular one. You will get screened getting off the plane and transferring to your next flight (no filled water bottles allowed) and you will get screened yet again at your gate before you board your next flight. Again, no half-filled water bottles allowed. And if you forget, you will have tho chug that water while you hold up the ray of that line.
- Sleep is highly overrated. You can sleep when you're comfortable, or dead.
- If you have as many connections as I do, do NOT expect your checked luggage to make it. It didn't.
- Wi-Fi is everywhere now, but don't expect it to be on a plane, and don't expect to actually be able to connect to it.
- Do know where you're going. And don't rely on having a cell phone or internet access when you get there.
- Even if you're just transiting through Bali, you need to buy a visa.
- In the world where online check-in doesn't exist, you will have to wait until the appointed time too check-in for your flight. You can't just waltz in and expect tho spend 4 hours hanging at your gate.
I haven't reached my final destination yet. I hope my next lesson is that this is entirely doable.