Turbulence Ahead? To Fly and Drink

Turbulence ahead? To fly and drink that is the question….. 

Most think of the glory days of airline travel having long gone. However, there are those of us that still try to adhere to the past and those “days gone by”. I’m one of them if you haven’t already figured that out.

I’ve been traveling pretty much since the day I was born. Mostly the eastern side of the North American continent, the UK, Denmark, and bits of Europe. Much of that with my parents and siblings on the family’s dime. When I started paying my own way to travel, I expanded those destinations to include most of Europe, Australia, Mexico, and parts of the Western United States. 

As a Canadian the only places in Canada I haven’t been to are the Territories, Nunavut, Newfoundland and Labrador. The rest I’ve been to, places I’ve travelled to by car, train, plane and boat.

Canada’s a big country!

map of Canada and flight routes

But let’s get back to airline travel.

So yes, at a rather young age I was strongly influenced with the love of airline travel. Watching my parents get geared up for the transatlantic flights with 4 kids, getting the travel outfits just right, gifts for faraway family and friends, packing, and the last minute beauty treatments to the hair salons and the aesthetician’s shop. We looked travel ready, and well put together, because as my mother always said, “you never know who you’re going to meet.”

She was right, because in those early days at the airports, weary travellers, weren’t so weary. As a child I observed a certain bounce in their steps as though folks were eager to get out and see the world and enjoy meeting fellow strangers. Conversation was to be had, and some serious people watching to be done, with and of the many characters from far off exotic lands. 

Activities they started at the pre-board lounge next to the gate, cocktails in hand. 

So civilized, so colourful, so fun!

The gleeful camaraderie and tête-à-tête

We kids sat with our own carry-on bags, full of snacks and magazines for the journey ahead. We sat intrigued by our parents of the gleeful camaraderie and tête-à-tête they had with these new short-lived best friends. Laughter and smiles, with people dressed to impress, just like the pictures in all those travel pamphlets the airlines were at odds to pump out.

I loved it, and along with it the glamour.

Onboard seemed to be no different. In-flight drinks being served by smartly dressed flight attendants, snacks, then meals, and more drinks. In those days you also had the choice of smoking or non-smoking sections. The badder habit that still amplified the enchantment.

Oh that charm and intrigue.

It wasn’t until later on in my life that I was to learn that my mother was innately terrified of airline travel. Something that never crossed my mind as a kid running up and down the aisle having a grand old time. A time when no one said we couldn’t do all that leg work. All those pre-board drinks my mom “shlorked” back, the nervous smile, the onboard libations, a few cigarettes, and a pill or two.

Damn, I thought my mom had it together! But….I guess she did in her own little way.

In-flight, glamour and service

That influence of the pre-flight, in-flight, glamour and service, had long been instilled in me from an early age. So to had my mother’s fear of flying! For as I grew to love travel, my fear of being airborne in a plane only amplified. Thanks mom! 

All those years, and she made it look so easy and fun.

Well if there was anything I was to learn from all those years, a few elements truly embedded with my travel routine;

  • Dress to impress (you never know who you’ll meet)
  • Look the part (no matter how much your innards are doing flip flops)
  • Enjoy those spirits (liquid courage always helps)
  • Maybe a pill or two (further takes the edge off)

Ok, so I’m not as bad as I was at one time. I’ve made some serious strides to calm my nerves when boarding for a trip near or far and not from booze and pills. Learning to calm myself mentally, and physically certainly helps. Mind over matter, breathing exercises, thought control…….

But….. if time permits, I will have myself a coquetel or two. 

Relax myself and get in the zone. Think of the years traveling with my parents and watching the façade as I learned it to have been. Think only of the glamour and intrigue, the colour, the fun, how civilized. Ponder my destination and what I’ll get up to, what I’ll wear, eat and how I’ll play. 

Reflect and to truly condition myself to remember how good it was, and how wonderful it is to fly and get out and enjoy the world. 

Enroute with a drink or two.

blue gin bottle in the foreground with a yellow tonic can behind and a blue plastic cup with bubbles and and clear liquid and a plastic straw  in the cup on a cocktail napkin in front of a window on a table