I have been dreading it to be honest - cramped noisy planes and just so many hours to kill. I have never enjoyed flying especially long haul, so I have been only thinking the worst and wishing it to be over.
But then two mates said some magic words and I realised I was looking at it all wrong. In fact, with a bit of planning ahead, it could just be the time I need.
So here are my steps to surviving, and enjoying, a long haul flight.
Step One - Change Your Mindset Firstly you have to look it in a different way, I have been saying for the last few months I want a break - I have been really busy with lots of demands on my time and I have been longing for just a day of doing nothing. Then a couple of mates said, well you have to think of the flight like that - you are sat down with no email or phone, and no work or demands. So change how you see it, look at it as the time off and the alone time that you need. It is a block of time that you can use just as you want, with no interruptions that can be just what you make it.
Step Two - Get A Plan Think about this time as a time to catch up on stuff that you have wanted to do but have put off, or it has been interrupted. Maybe it's a plan for next year, some writing, some reading or just simply a break away form email and phone and distractions to read a book or watch a film. Plan ahead and identify some things you have been meaning to do but just "haven't had the time" - now you do and you can tick off some of those things that have been on your to do list for a while, now is your change to complete them. I know I have a few things that I will be happy to cross off my to do list.
Step Three - Plane Playlist I love music, I find it cam lift my mood and gives me a chance to switch off and really have a break. So I decided to make some playlists which will get me through the flights and transfers, that will be appropriate for various stages of the journey. So I suggest get an upbeat playlist that will be for the times where you want to stay awake or be alert, then make another which is more soft that will be great if trying to relax or fall asleep. Plus, if you get them to be a set length of time, when it's played through, then you know that two hours has past. This is especially useful if you don't have flight safe mode, and don't have a watch. When listening to great music tailored to your mood, you will be surprised at how quickly and easily times flies. Plus, like me you could download a new album, that you can listen to for the first time on the plane.
Step Four - Read The Time Away Ah the beauty of technology nowadays - no longer do you need to carry loads of books or magazine on the plane. I have a kindle and books on my iPad so I have downloaded a few books which I have been saving to read especially for the journey. Again, I have a comedy one and a more serious one so it can reflect my mood at the time. I find reading is a great way to just lose yourself and again the time, will just go in the blink of an eye. Plus the only interruptions you are likely to get is a flight attendant bringing you food and drinks. Sounds perfect.
Step Five - Watch Away
I have been saying I want a TV day for a while now - just to sit and do nothing but watch TV. On the flight you have an endless choice of TV, music and films that you can watch absolutely when you want. Again, it's great to chose some films that are quite long in length, so if you watch two films then that's about four hours ticked off. Plus if you have an iPad then you can download a series and save it to watch on the plane. I have downloaded Homeland and I cannot wait to get stuck into the series. In fact, the whole series is about 9 hours, which is the length of the first part of my first journey.
Step Six - Take Advantage I think it's quite important if you are a busy person with lots going on in your life to take the time outs when you can, and not feel bad about it. Use this time as some well deserved down time, there is no shame in just having a break and being selfish once in a while. So use the time to just relax, watch, drink, eat, play, sleep or whatever you want. That's the beauty of long haul, which I had never thought of before. Use the time wisely, this is your time to do with what you wish, you can plan it exactly how you want to. I intend to use my time to plan my goals for next year, to write, to read and watch TV and to absolutely take advantage of the call button asking for more wine.
This is the first time I have ever really looked forward to a long haul flight - I now see it as some well earned free time, that I can use just how I want.