luggage, ex-pat kids and airports

I love airports.  I think is it partly because I spent much of my childhood as an ex-pat child.  I was one of those children with a red and white striped label around their neck being escorted through security.  I grew to hate the being escorted everywhere bit, but I did rather like the Air Canada policy of putting single (ie not a whole group of forty or more kids as you used to get on the Hong Kong run)  in First Class so they could keep an eye on them.  First Class in those days was just a really big chair and as a minor there was no free wine, but it was still rather cool.  I became quite an expert on which airline looked after the UMs best.

Once you have checked in and you are airside you abdicate all responsibility.  There is nothing you can do except wait.  I like to do this with glass of wine or tea, depending on the time of day, a book and  my eyes.  Just watching people, wondering where they are going and why they are going there.

With  my newfound minimalist eye I have expanded my people watching to luggage watching.  We travelled with three children under three (we have twins).  We travelled with a toddler and me heavily pregnant.   We did all of that long distance to countries that you could not reach by a direct flight from the UK so we had the added fun of crossing Paris, usually in rush hour.  Believe me, even with all of that you really do not need to bring the entire nursery with you (and that was in the days before iPads).  My eldest daughter, then aged 2 occupied herself from Newcastle to London, London to Paris and Paris to Pointe a Pitre with a tiny doll about 2″ tall and an empty meal bowl which became dollie’s bed.  Her younger sister, a couple of years later,  suffering from a nasty gastric upset that materialised out of the blue and involved copious vomiting was kept occupied by a dolls house made by her sisters out of a cardboard shoebox in our hand luggage and furniture and people drawn on scrap paper.

I have watched people check in monumental cases and then take a pretty enormous wheeled carry on bag on the plane.  Yes it is possible that they are emigrating or taking vital supplies to cousins overseas …..  But ALL of them?  No I don’t think so.

It strikes me that if stuff gets in the way of living, which I have discovered it does, then surely stuff gets in the way of a holiday.  Surely a holiday is a time to relax, to let go, to try new experiences.  How on earth can you do that if you are lumbered with luggage you have to keep packing and unpacking and keeping track of and washing…..

5 thoughts on “luggage, ex-pat kids and airports

  1. Oh I remember well life as an UM!! LOL ;)

    Only half an hour ago, I returned home from a trip (I’m just enjoying a cup of tea and a pause!), passing through the airport on my way. A family of 4 Canadians disembarked from the train with no less than SIX huge suitcases, 3 (older father, two older teens) members each pulling along two and, to my horror, the wife/mother, pushing her own wheelchair loaded with another suitcase, coats and her walking stick…. It had been obvious from their conversation that they were visitors travelling around Europe, but so much luggage?!!! Never never never.

  2. I am just getting a chance to catch up on your posts now. Sounds like you had a wonderful trip to Oz! In the past, when we have flown somewhere for vacation, I have taken a full suitcase as well as a carry-on. I was always afraid I’d need something that I didn’t bring. Also, I was of the mindset that I was on vacation, and I wanted to be able to wear all of my fun clothes.

    I have changed my strategy since then. While we haven’t flown anywhere in almost three years, I still try to only pack one bag when going away, even though we are driving and I will have more room in the car. The real test may come next January if we take a trip abroad. Then I will have to stick to it and just bring my trust carry-on bag and make do. My biggest fear about traveling via plane was losing my luggage. Easiest way to avoid that is to keep it with me at all times, even if it means bringing much less. With my positive experience with Project 333, I believe I could actually do it.

  3. I sometimes just shake my head at the size and number of suitcases and bags people carry. If you had seen my daughter and grandkids yesterday, you might have wondered if they were moving with all their bags– well yes they were and they had fewer than many others just going on holiday.

    • I watched a couple about my age (50ish) pile four large suitcases onto a trolley. They also had a couple of boxes. I reckoned they were moving or at least not on a standard holiday. I then watched two couples whom I knew were on holiday ( I had stood behind them at passport control) who each had a suitcase the size of a Renault 5.

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