It wasn't easy to leave friends and family behind after amazing week of send offs in New York, Seattle, and Las Vegas, but they only served to remind me how much I have to come home to- and gave me a great excuse for bringing enough luggage to cover five months in four different climates!
As I sat in the San Francisco Airport, it really started to sink in. I had just turned off my cell phone and internet service and immediately felt disconnected from my own personal universe. Would I really survive without texting?! I took a deep breath, shoulders fighting to rise against the weight of carry on luggage and a winter coat and walked toward the gate.
Luckily, fate decided to throw me a bone. On every flight I sit hoping that no one claims the seat beside me, and for this twelve hour leg of my trip my dream came true. The space nestled between my aisle seat and the girl next to the window was filled with nothing but breathing room. I was free from a sleeping head drooling on my shoulder, and free to curl my feet onto the seat. I bundled under the blanket, propped up pillows and turned to the in-flight entertainment system.
At this point, I have to take a moment to adore Air New Zealand. They were the only airline not to charge me for checking a second bag, the economy class seats were comfortable, they had a huge selection of movies and games to choose from, and they served local wines with dinner free of charge.
I willed myself to stay awake through 21
and Penelope (and was struck by the similarities between Jim Sturgess and James McAvoy) and played a few rounds of Tetris before drifting off to sleep- without the help of my well-stocked sleeping pills.
By the time I woke up, breakfast was being served and I had two hours left to dive into the local culture courtesy of Flight of the Concords:
And, although I'm fully aware that expecting every Kiwi to be this awesome is about as likely as my life being as glamorous as Sex and the City, I'm holding out hope.