Vaarwel and Chì Mi Fhathast Thu

Look at how fancy pants I am with my super cool post title in, not one language, but two.

Fancy like this

Bonus points if you can tell me what two languages and what it says. I’m really counting on Google Translate for not messing this up and making me look like an idiot.

So, yeah, I’m leaving on a jet plane. It’s possible that while you’re reading this, I’m on a plane, squeezing the armrests as if that will somehow help steer the plane in any direction that will get us to our destination in one piece. I’m not a good flyer (sorry for the nervous farts).

So, yeah, I’ll be out of the country for a little more than five weeks.

This means I will, likely, not have time to read, comment on, or like your blog posts. I’ll try, but I can’t make any promises.

I might also not have much time to post, other than updates here and there.

So hang in there, don’t give up on me, and wish me luck in returning safely, ready to blog about my adventures.

Bye, babies!

Source

Planes, Trains and Automobiles: More Idiot Travel — Part 1

On my first trip to the British Isles, we literally pulled a Neal Page and Del Griffith. We took a plane, then a train, and then an automobile (actually, three automobiles) to travel all over the British Isles.

(If you’ve never seen the classic Planes, Trains and Automobiles, you’ve really missed out on life. Check out the clip below to get an idea of what I mean.)

It was eye-opening, exhilarating and gray-hair-inducing all in one crazy, no-not-that-way-that’s-on-coming-traffic-OMG-we’re-gonna-die ball of fun.

I didn’t subject anyone to my foot odor on the plane, but I did wear slip on shoes that had zero tread, so walking down the slick, strangely hilly terminals in Heathrow was more like sliding and slipping every which way (while my boyfriend pretended he wasn’t with me). This was the first impression I made on England.

I didn’t catch the arms of my jacket on the seat while driving, but I did get Magnum bar all over the seat belt.

We didn’t catch the car on fire, but we did lose a hub cap on the motorway (oh, so, that’s why people zip tie their hubcaps on).

We may not have gone full on Neal and Del, but we did have quite a few traveling mishaps and adventures.

I am going to organize my retelling of some of my favorite transportation stories from my first trip to the British Isles as a three part series. It’ll be a far easier read that way, because ain’t no one got time to read 5,000 words in one sitting. You’re welcome.

Planes

Surprisingly, my favorite plane story does not involve the man picking his long brown nails the entire nine-plus hour flight to London, but it does involve flying out of London, delicious karma, and plane poop problems.

When we got to Heathrow after three glorious weeks spent all over the British Isles, my travel partner paid $100 to get onto the same flight I was on. His flight didn’t leave for a good five hours, so he felt it was an investment well spent to not have to sit in a packed airport for hours.

Had he known beforehand who his seat companions would be he probably would have taken the shoulder-to-shoulder seating areas, the overpowering perfumes from Heathrow Boutique, and the endless boarding announcements that were never for him over his Flight From Hell.

When we got onto the plane and found our respective seats, I was pretty pleased to find a nice-looking middle-aged British couple as my seat mates. This was pretty much the ideal situation as my last seat mate, as we all know, chose the crusties under his nails for his in-flight snack instead of the usual dry roasted peanuts.

My friend, however, hit the airplane lottery and appeared to have no seat mates.

Time and again, people would come down the aisle, pause a couple times to deduce whether or not their seats were nearby, and then keep going past his row.

I tried everything to get him to let me sit with him. I offered up my favorite souvenir- my Odd Irish Socks and in pure delirious desperation, I even offered to pay the $100 he forked over to get on my flight.

He flat-out refused as he rudely spread out and (likely) farted all over all three seats to mark his territory.

Finally, I gave up and returned to my squashed seat, but I kept looking back to give him my saddest puppy dog pout, but he just acted like he didn’t see me as he haughtily made a bed out of his jacket, backpack and more than his fair share of airplane blankets.

Right before the door was shut and locked, a harried woman and man and their screaming toddler made their way to the only remaining seats on the plane- the ones my friend had already set his stuff up in like he was some kind of Economy King.

When I looked back at him, his face was pure karma in action. He looked just like every last dream he ever had had been demolished.

Not only did his luck majorly run its course and he wouldn’t be able to stretch out the whole flight, he had to sit right next to a kid who was blowing snot bubbles out of his nose as he screamed.

Even better, SO MUCH BETTER, the toddler barfed the.whole.way to Toronto.

I guess that’s what you get when you don’t share. I more than enjoyed that prompt delivery of karma.


Later on during our travels home from London, we were diverted to an abandoned landing strip in the Middle-of-Nowhere, Colorado due to a severe thunderstorm in Denver.

I was quite disappointed, because I really, really, really needed to use the restroom.

Bad.

After the first hour of just sitting on an airstrip surrounded by cacti and tumbleweeds, I started to get desperate.

It was pretty dire because it was getting really close to go-time, but because they had to turn the AC off, I’d have to be that person who takes a huge, toxic shit on a plane with no AC or ventilation.

I kept lamenting, praying and cursing under my breath.

Finally, after mentioning I needed to poop about 87 times, my friend loudly declared, “OMG. I’m sick of hearing you have to poop. There is a bathroom right over there!”

As he so helpfully pointed, everyone on the plane looked to the bathroom and then to me.

Needless to say, I didn’t even get out of my seat. I thought murderous thoughts the remainder of the trip, and because I held it for too long, I got majorly constipated and didn’t even end up going until I was home.

I could have died.

After the hellish 17 hour trip from London, we finally landed in Reno at two in the morning, and I discovered that my bags had been lost. It was the proverbial cherry on top of the all-too familiar shit sundae.

This is how I ended up having to wear a pair of my mom’s war-torn Hanes (you can read more about that here).

Next time, we will explore train travel. Hint: it’s just as fun as air travel.

So, tell me about a memorable time you had in the air. I bet you’ll all have some doozies! I can’t wait.

Don’t Be *That* Person On the Plane

People are really, really annoying. There’s no doubt about it. Despite my desire to maintain the overly sunshine-and-rainbow delusion that all people are lovely individuals who almost never clip their toenails in public, it’s just not reality.

Chances are, the majority of the people you have encountered and will encounter on a plane have been perfectly normal people who don’t talk to you nonstop on a nonstop from San Francisco to Paris. Most likely they’ve kept their mouth breathing to a minimum, and they didn’t seem to ooze odors from every orifice. Most likely.

Sometimes, you’re not so lucky. Sometimes you get Del Griffith as a seat partner.

Behold, four airplane travel types that no one likes (please don’t be any of these people):

1. The Cougher

Covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze is covered in Kindergarten and is practically a curriculum standard. However, some people don’t retain this information into adulthood.

When you’re on a plane, it’s already bad enough that you’re confined in a space that’s 50% recycled air. It’s perfectly ghastly and inexcusable that a grown adult chooses to blast their germ-riddled spittle into the air and onto every surface around them in such a confined space.

Source

Sharing is NOT caring on an airplane.

Cover your fucking mouth like the civilized human you are pretending to be with your Ann Taylor pant suit.

And, for your convenience:

Source

2. The Farter

OK. Lemme be real a minute. We all have to fart. In fact, I’ve heard holding in your farts can be hazardous to your health. So, it’s unreasonable to expect anyone and everyone to cease farting the entire length of their flight (especially when you’re flying halfway around the world on a 9+ hour flight).

However, if after your test fart (the little baby toot you let out to test the waters, er-air) you’re met with something that could melt the fuselage, I hate to break it to you, you’re gonna have to hold those in.

When you have one of those metal melting farts, this better be you.

Source

Some things you can do to prevent excess gas during your flight are:

  • Eat smaller portions the day before and immediately leading up to your flight
  • Take Beano or other gas-reducer
  • Avoid greasy, fattening foods, as well as wheat, lactose, broccoli, asparagus, cabbage, Brussel sprouts, lentils, beans, carbonated soft drinks, onions, pears, and all other foods
  • Essentially, eat NOTHING before a flight

Really, it’s for the common good.

There are no private trees to fart behind on a plane. I repeat: THERE IS NO WHERE TO FART (other than the bathroom, but do you really want to be the person who destroys the bathroom on a long flight? No, you don’t).

3. The What Was That(er)

Farts aren’t always the worst thing that can come out of someone sitting next to you on a plane.

Sometimes, your next door neighbor sounds like they are working on an almighty hair ball. Sometimes, your seat partner coughs up mucus and spits it out in their barf bag. Sometimes, people moan/whisper/belch/mouth breathe/mumble/groan without end or for any discernible reason.

My favorite idiot. This was on a bus, but you get the idea.

No one wants to listen to the plethora of noises your body makes. If you can’t help it and your repetitive throat clearing is a verifiable tic, I feel for you and you’re excused.

But, if you can hold in your whispered devil worshipping incantations or that weird belch/cough thing, quit being an annoying asshole already. Please and thank you.

My favorite annoying asshole.

Source

4. The Groomer

In case anyone here wasn’t already aware, it’s not proper etiquette to do any sort of extreme grooming in your seat on the plane. Basic freshening up, like running a brush through your hair, applying a covert swipe of deodorant, or wiping your greasy face down with a face wipe can all be tolerated.

What should never be tolerated, however, is:

  • Clipping your finger or toe nails
  • Filing your finger or toe nails
  • Cleaning wax out of your ears (especially when you place your wax-coated q-tips on the tray table)
  • Popping zits or squeezing black heads out of the end of your nose
  • Scratching excessively anywhere below the belt
  • Picking crusted crap out from under your long, brown finger nails

This last one I actually had to endure during a 9 hour flight from Vancouver to London. A man sat down in the aisle seat next to my boyfriend, settled himself in his spot, and then proceeded to pick his long, poop brown nails the ENTIRE FLIGHT.

It was a real test of my gag reflex not to barf all over him.

If you have a gross habit that is not exactly socially acceptable behavior, IT DOESN’T BELONG ON AN AIRPLANE WHERE YOU ARE INCHES AWAY FROM A STRANGER FOR HOURS ON END.

*Bonus* When I was *that* person on the plane

Sometimes, we really have no intention of being *that* person, but it just happens.

Years ago, on a domestic flight with my then-boyfriend, I tried an Airborne immune supplement for the first time. Both my boyfriend and I had no idea how to take one. We popped them into our mouths, feeling pretty smart and proactive about our health.

Just seconds later, we discovered our horrific mistake as our mouths ballooned with ever-growing fizz. Pretty quickly, we were literally frothing at the mouth.

The fizz was growing ever bigger and we both tried to swallow it down, hoping to minimize the embarrassing mistake we had made. Instead of swallowing it all quickly and silently, because the fizz was coming and coming with no end in sight, we both gagged and coughed and spit as orange-tinged froth overflowed and spilled down over our chins and all over our clothes.

The people next to us and across the aisle looked at us, shocked and disgusted, as we literally looked rabid.

The boyfriend was irate that I didn’t read the packaging and didn’t know you were supposed to put the tablet in a bottled water to dissolve before ingesting. Oops.

So, even without trying, one can be shocking, disgusting, and annoying.

If we all just read label directions more thoroughly, tried breathing through our noses more, and picked the dried crap out of our nails before getting on the plane, air travel would be so much more enjoyable.

What annoys you the most about the people you have to share a plane with? Let me know in the comments.

Air Travel is Fun

Here I sit, at the Philadelphia airport, not a fucking happy camper. I would like someone to explain to me why the trip home is always so fucking merry…

*I’m warning any virgin ears now, I’ll probably be using ‘fuck’ a lot in this post. 

My trip over was seamless, a breeze. There was barely any turbulence, I didn’t have to sit next to a smelly man with long fingernails, and it was just easy. Get on, get off, get on, get off-all on time. 

I’m hoping my complaining now will create a situation whereby I was just overreacting and it actually won’t be as bad as I’m making it out to be in my head *knocks on cheap vinyl, sticky with soda and greasy fingertips, because there’s no wood in an airport*

It’s just that, I know how traveling by air usually goes. We all do. Unless you have been living off the grid, in a mole hill, you know. 

Right now, my flight is delayed by an hour and 10 minutes. I have already been here for 2 hours and 15 minutes, because the drive into Philly is always full of standstill traffic. You never know if the drive will take an hour or 3, so best to be anal-retentive-early. So, here I sit.

Since I’ve already hit up the last-minute-oops-I-forgot-you-souvenir-shops. Since I’ve already had an overpriced lunch. Since I’ve already had a coffee, and a beer, and made 3 trips to the bathroom, I have time to recall and share my trip back from London. 

It was every traveler’s worst nightmare with a why-do-I-even-travel-cherry on top. 

The flights over to London, on my first-ever international flight went extremely well. It was full of excitement, anticipation, and wonder. The plane had screens in the back of every seat with music, movies, and a map showing our plane’s location. I took a picture of whatever was below us about halfway to London, and I got a picture of Greenland. It was cool as shit. We arrived at Heathrow stinky and tired, but elated to be starting our adventure. 

The flight home? A whole different animal. 

It started out fine. We breezed through check-in and security at Heathrow and boarded our plane on time. I was seated next to a nice, older English couple. My friend? The friend who had an entire row to himself until the last second, yet was an ass and wouldn’t let me sit next to him, got to sit next to a child who puked the whole way to Toronto. I still laugh at that quick, and concise delivery of karma. 

When we got to Toronto, I had to poop so bad. I decided I’d just come right out and be crass and say it. I figured our layover of an hour would be enough to use the restroom, but instead we almost didn’t make our flight because customs was a fucking nightmare. I was uttering horrible things under my breath. I wanted to scream the mean things, but asshole friend suggested that I shouldn’t threaten death upon custom agents. 

When we finally got on our plane, after last call, I got sandwiched between a man who smelled of feet and another man who had long, yellow fingernails, who hummed the.whole.fucking.plane.ride. I’m surprised I didn’t need my barf bag. It was horrible. 

About 30 minutes outside of Denver, we were told there was a massive thunderstorm over Denver, so we were being rerouted to a landing strip in BFE Colorado. It was literally just a landing strip, seriously in need of weeding. The entire 2 hours we sat there, I went from fearing I would have to poo in an airplane with no AC and worrying we were going to miss our connecting flight from Denver. It was an OCD sufferer’s nightmare.

Finally, we got to take off. When we landed in Denver, we found out we didn’t miss our flight, as all flights were pushed back. It was a freaking miracle. I found the nearest bathroom and thought another miracle would happen. Nope. 

I spent the entire last flight miserable. 

We finally arrived home at 2 AM. All I wanted was my bag and sleep, but, of course, my bag didn’t arrive with our plane. Of-fucking-course. 

I was still 4 hours from my home, so I got to wear my mom’s granny panties, until I got my bag back, and I didn’t even care. 

That was the worst travel experience up to this point. 

I’m currently sitting in the plane from my last connection in Chicago. We’ve been flying for maybe 15 minutes. I’m still sweating, breathing hard, coughing, and my nose is running down my greasy face. Why, you ask? My flight was boarding while I was still on the first plane. I ran, a la Home Alone from Gate 19 to Gate 5. I am sure I was a sight, in my gut flapping-asthmatic-face-wheezing glory. When I got to the gate, the door was closed and everyone was already boarded. I have never been late like that in my life. But I fucking made it. Hooray.

I have one more stop, but I don’t have to get off the plane. I can finally relax and order 8 alcoholic beverages. 

Its events like these that make me wonder why I even try to travel by air. I guess it’s because you can’t just get in the car and drive to Europe, or take 3 weeks off so you can drive cross-country. 

Le sigh. 

  

Nervous Poos

3 more sleeps and I will be heading to visit my sister from another mama. This will be the first time I’ve traveled further than one state over since my trip to London in 2010! To say I’m nervous about the flight is like saying, “I’m just a little in love with baked goods.” 

I adore travel. I want to see the world, yet flying is so, so fucking scary. I am a control freak to the nth degree. If I could sit in the cockpit, I would feel a little better. I would feel a little more at ease if I could be on the lookout for birds or other planes, or whatever else there is to watch out for in the sky. I would feel more in charge, and thus safer, if I could say, “A little to the left”, “Whoa, let’s ease up on that throttle”, and “Are you sure you checked the landing gear?” 

I would be that person they want to tie up and store in the cargo hold. 

This time around, I’ll be traveling with just me, myself, and Ivana (she’s my alter ego). I’ve never flown alone. I’ve always had someone to annoy with my constant questions and worries, “Are you really sure we aren’t going to die?”

I feel like a super, take the Bulls by the horn, independent woman. That is, until the morning of my flight. I’ll most likely be having to use the restroom every 10 minutes, and I’ll question whether or not to take my “huggy pillow” with me on the flight-to keep me safe, obviously. 

I’m not a real chatty person when it comes to talking to strangers. When some random person says something like, “The weather has been crazy lately”, my response is usually something along the lines of, “I don’t like hot dogs”. And then I want to kick myself for not saying something easy, like, “Hasn’t it?”

So, I’m dreading the inevitable flight talk. 

Basically, I’m dreading the flight, in its entirety. 

Someone reassure me *sucking thumb in fetal position*