I'm not a good flyer. Why, I haven't quite worked out, because I've been on and off planes since I was six weeks old and left my birth place New Zealand.
The fact that I would have to actually get on a plane to get to Canberra to participate in the Human Brochure was something I kind of buried away in the back of my brain until Thursday. Then as I started working out what I was taking with me, throwing clothes onto the bed, the anxiety started leeching in. I tried ignoring it. Hah. Ever tried ignoring anxiety? It's like telling someone to not think of pink elephants.
The anxiety just continued to amp, as well as the excitement. And the self doubt. "Who do I think I am? Some refined travel blogger/ social media queen/ writer even?!" Then I reminded myself that I was chosen to go on this trip. Everything else is irrelevant. After trying to pack my bag, which succeeded in me running around from room to room forgetting what it was that I was actually trying to do, M said to me come and watch some TV. I had to pick Laura up from work at 9 anyway I told myself, I'd pack when I got home.
Instead I decided to go to bed, and dreamt of Eden and her trip to India. Who knows why. I've given up trying to figure out how my brain works. All I know is that I think she's a legend, even if she doesn't. And she inspires me to be better, speak louder, use my voice.
We set the alarm for 4.30. Kind of needed to, as otherwise the clothes that I had dumped on the lounge to take were not going to make it into the bag. I have a few lessons still to learn on being poised and organised from Nikki over at Styling You.
We managed to get out the door at 6.15, a good idea, because as soon as we hit the highway so were 1000s of other people. We arrived at the place we were leaving our car just before 7am, and took the free shuttle up the road to the airport. As I get closer to the airport, anxiety starts really letting itself known. Feeling my blood pumping, throat closing, skin tingling, we approached then Qantas check in.
This looks like the face of someone eagerly waiting to fly doesn't it?
Everything is becoming automated now. None of this walking up to a counter and speaking to a human. There are banks of check in machines - type your name in, select your flight, out spits your board pass and luggage stickers, which you have to stick on yourself, obviously. In amongst that process, as we were shown the seats we were allocated on the plane, there on the screen is one seat highlighted in one row, and another highlighted several rows back. I don't know what my face did, I just knew the rest of my body was about to launch into outer space! Thankfully M grabbed one of the humans milling around to assist and told them that I have panic attacks and are not a good flyer. He directed us to the customer service counter and they very kindly seated us together. Thank god, because I was shaking at this stage, and tears were very close to falling. Needless to say, I had another Valium.
Once we had ascended, and I was able to let go of my claw like grip on Ms thigh, I read. A few minutes out from descending into Canberra we hit some turbulence. My eyes slammed shut, and my claw returned to gripping Ms thigh. there was a little boy a few rows in front of us who squealed with delight, while I gripped Ms thigh harder. Stupid anxiety.
We arrived in Canberra at 11.30am. We had been told to look out for the humans carrying the The Human Brochure sign. It wasn't hard to miss. There were several different participants from different streams coming from Brisbane, so we had the opportunity to see which hotel each stream would be staying at. According to the twitter stream, all streams were happy with their accommodation. I was ecstatic with ours.
The Arts and Culture stream were staying at The Diamant, originally built in 1927, to house parliamentary staff. The building has been fully refurbished with some amazing artwork displayed throughout. The service was impeccable, and I would have to say probably one of the best hotels I have ever stayed at.
Chocolate Rocks came with the bill!
As we had a few hours to kill before the opening function at 6pm that night, I was able to catch up with family. They own a printing company Prinstant, and had very kindly made me my business cards. They gave us an impromptu tour of Canberra after we lunched at Rodney's in Pialligo, a lovely cafe set amongst the Nursery area.
Metaphorically wall hitting
Getting up at 4.30, and losing an hour resulted in M and I hitting the metaphorical wall at 3pm, and a much needed nap on our lovely king size bed was required. Otherwise I would be a babbling incoherent human at that nights function. (Who am I kidding, I was still a babbling incoherent human.)