What to do on a Fourteen-Hour Airplane Trip

We’re back from Australia, where we traveled to see the World Solar Challenge because our son, Chris (we call him “Tofer”) was on the MIT team. http://mitsolar.blogspot.com/ (More about THIS part in a future blog.)

Today I’ll focus on the journey. Although airplanes and airports are usually no one’s favorite part of the travel experience, there are ways to make the plane trip go by more quickly.

The first fourteen hours weren’t so bad, even with a baby who screamed a few rows away.
After the first twenty minutes of solid wailing . . . while we were still on the ground in San Francisco, the young man seated between my husband and me said with a smile and a nod to the child, “Did you buy chance bring a roll of duct tape?”

I looked at my husband. We exchanged glances. We knew immediately this man’s line of work.

“You’re an engineer, aren’t you?” I said to him.

“Yeah, how’d you know?”

I didn’t tell him when Tofer was a kid I left him a roll of duct tape in his Christmas stocking. (Yes, he’s now an engineer.)

A few tips for a long flight:

1. Bring some new pacifiers. Crying baby? Stick one in the baby’s mouth for comfort. You may need one for yourself too. . .

2. Great reading material. While others may dread a long flight such as this, I LOOK FORWARD TO uninterrupted (well, mostly) reading time.

3. Soft, squishy ear plugs. (you know why)

4. A book reading light so you can keep reading while others are snoozing or watching the movie.

5. Post-it notes to mark up the book for places you really like and would like to “model” your own writing.

6. Paper and pen of course! All that reading will spark ideas or help you get unblocked on a previous project.

7. Give yourself freedom to daydream about ideas and projects while you have that pen and paper handy.

8. All of that reading works fine until your eyes burn and begin to ache. Then sleep. However, you may want to give yourself a dream intention. “I will dream of a creative idea to help my writing.” (or change the word “writing” to be something more specific)

9. On the trip home, I actually watched the movie because the movie was good. (Julie and Julia) Movies are a great way to learn and help your own storytelling abilities.

10. What is YOUR secret for surviving a long airplane ride? Feel free to share it here and with others you know when they tell you they will embark on a long trip.

Once we landed in Sydney, we had a few hours to wait and another few hours on a plane to Darwin. Those are the “tired hours.” Daydreaming and sleep are usually the only thing exhausted brains can handle at that point. But with excitement looming, who needs more?

Just like with the writing journey, our projects have a multitude of steps and ways to help get through the process. What works for one, might help another.

Books I read on this journey and in Australia: BEL CANTO by Ann Patchett, DAUGHTER OF FORTUNE by Isabel Allende, THE SHIPPING NEWS by E. ANNIE PROULX, MURDER ON THE EIFFEL TOWER by Claude Izner and TRACKS by Robyn Davidson.

The book I could not put down: BEL CANTO
Book I most looked forward to reading each night: TRACKS

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No Responses to “What to do on a Fourteen-Hour Airplane Trip”

  1. Denise Okuda says:

    My husband and I hate to fly but at times, it’s nice to have a block of time to read or watch movies. I take my portable DVD player and watch TV shows that I’ve just not had time to view or write actual letters to my relatives who do not use computers (yes, there are still some folks who still hand write letters).

    Love the ‘duck tape’ comment made by the gentleman sitting closer to the crying baby. I always feel for the parents but also the rest of the humanity who must suffer as well!

  2. I don’t know if I could handle an airplane trip that long, even with those good tips! Must go check out some of the books you mentioned.

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