If, at the airport, you see a harassed looking woman pushing a trolley filled with big suitcases and trying to navigate her way through masses of people, that woman will probably be me! The suitcases may fall off the trolley and I will try to pick them up and place them back on the trolley while desperately holding on to my handbag for fear that someone might snatch it away! Needless to say, the suitcases are large and heavy. I cannot gauge the amount I should take with me. I generally move around airports in a daze. You would think, looking at me, that this is my first trip abroad. I look awkward and confused.

A Novice Traveller

I have travelled fairly often but I am still the novice when it comes to travelling. I still have not got what it takes to be a good traveller. For one thing, I cannot pack properly and will take far too many clothes and other things with me. Often I forget to pack some essentials and once when travelling for work, I left my laptop at home! Fortunately, I had not arrived at the airport and I had time as well. So I asked the taxi driver to turnaround and take me home. On another occasion, I left my camera behind and had to buy a new one at the airport! Once, in Santiago, the spouse and I were in a taxi on the way to the airport when I remembered that we had left our passports in the hotel safe! Needless to say it was an expensive taxi trip!

When I reach the check-in counter at any airport, I am never sure about what papers I should give the staff. I dig deep into my bag, I fumble, take out a thousand and one things, wallets, tissue paper, lipstick, a sweet wrapper, etc and then the passport and tickets. When I receive the boarding pass I cannot decide where to place it. Once again I have a major battle with the bag to find an appropriate place to put it.


When I get to the gate, the same happens. I have tremendous problems finding my passport, and boarding pass and, at the same time, trying to get my hand luggage and myself cleared for security. On a couple of trips I made the mistake of wearing metal jewellery and shoes with a metal blade in them. These caused the metal detector to beeb and immediately, the security officers came forward to frisk me! I had to take my shoes off as well! Often I will be wearing a jacket and the security personnel will ask me to take it off. So picture me, going through my hand baggage to find my laptop so I can place it on the basket provided and then struggling with my jacket as well! I definitely look disorganised!

On the aircraft, I can never work out how to access the entertainment, where to plug in the ear phones and even, sometimes, how to get the seat belt fastened! Looking at me struggling with all this you will probably think that I have never been in a plane before. As I grapple with the entertainment system and achieve little success, I will swallow my pride and ask for help from the cabin crew.

At The Other End

Have you ever experienced what I seem to experience each time I arrive in another country? First, at the airport, I am always highly worried that my baggage is not lost. Picking the bags from the carousel or baggage belt can be quite nerve wrecking! Going through immigration is sometimes tedious even though you may have all the necessary documents with you.

Sometimes you may have been advised that you do not require a visa and then when you arrive at some city you are grilled by the immigration authorities as to why you do not have a visa. Once I was taken into a small room and after answering a number of questions, was finally granted a 72 hour visa. Meanwhile the spouse (His Highness) was pacing the floor of the airport in anxiety. It was four in the morning and after all, I could have been put on the next flight home!

Once you have cleared the immigration and customs you go out of the terminal building and either get a taxi or bus. Inevitably there will be a long queue. You have to buy a ticket and then you start to worry as to whether what you are doing is safe. It truly helps to be positive and to tell yourself that everything will be great!


His Highness and I will often find ourselves in an awkward situation when we check into a hotel because of an error in the booking dates made by our travel agent, us or the hotel itself. Once we were told that there was no room available other than a suite. We were so exhausted after our long flight and as it was the wee hours of the morning we had no choice but to take the suite. The hotel promised to give us our room the next day.

We have stayed in very small rooms and in hotels where the bathroom was at the end of a long cold corridor. On one trip we found ourselves in a hotel which had cockroaches crawling in the bathroom. Some interesting places have been old inns where our room was located in what must be the attic. We would have to pant our way up the stairs and look out of tiny windows.

To Travel Is To Live

I will write in future posts about some of the interesting places in which we have stayed. Travel broadens your perspective on life. It makes you appreciate what you have and it makes you more understanding of other cultures, traditions and people. When I think of my experiences and mistakes as a traveller, I laugh at myself. I have learned many lessons and I believe that I am the better for it. Travel is the great teacher. It brings change, interest and excitement.

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