Where Have You Been?

Where Have You Been?

This year is almost at an end and as with most years it’s had it’s ups and downs. One of the big ‘ups’ is that I had my first ever overseas holiday. Together with my family I visited Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia.

I’ve been overseas a number of times in the past but it’s always been for work or for some other cause. This time it was all about enjoyment. That’s not to say that I haven’t enjoyed all my other trips but there’s something different about travelling purely for enjoyment and especially travelling with people you love.

Including my home country of Australia, I’ve actually been in 17 countries so far. I’ve been able to spend significant time in some countries with others only visited while in transit or for a very short time. The places I’ve been include Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, USA, Canada, India, Haiti, Dominican Republic, PNG, Bangladesh, Indonesia, South Africa, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Thailand, Myanmar and Hong Kong. You can see them all plotted out on the map below.

I wonder how many countries you’ve visited? Let me know your favourite (and maybe not so favourite) places in this wonderful world of ours.

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Just Give Me Some Space

Travel Annoyances

I’ve got to admit that I enjoy flying. It goes beyond just the knowledge that I’m about to travel to some interesting destination. I actually enjoy the process of getting there … most of the time.

There are moments on a plane that don’t thrill me. My main frustration is being seated next to someone with no sense of personal space. Yes, I know that the armrest isn’t very wide, but you still have to share it. And don’t get me started on people who think that the fact they have limited legroom means that their legs should stretch into my small area of the plane.

According to Expedia’s 2015 Airplane Etiquette Study, which was released this week, those participating in the U.S. study find seat kickers to be the worst thing to endure on a flight.

When asked to choose from a list of annoying behaviors, 61 percent of 1,019 study respondents cited butt-kickers as the worst of the worst.

“Inattentive Parents,” parents who exhibit little or no control over their children, ranked a close second with 59 percent; while the “Aromatic Passenger,” that passenger who exhibits poor hygiene or is in some other way giving off a strong scent, was the third least-liked fellow traveler, garnering 50 percent of the vote.

There were plenty of other annoyances mentioned by survey respondents. Here’s the full list according to the study.

1. Rear Seat Kicker (cited by 61% of study respondents)
2. Inattentive Parents (59%)
3. The Aromatic Passenger (50%)
4. The Audio Insensitive (talking or music) (50%)
5. The Boozer (45%)
6. Chatty Cathy (43%)
7. Carry-On Baggage Offenders (38%)
8. The Queue Jumper (rushes to deplane) (35%)
9. Seat-Back Guy (the seat recliner) (32%)
10. Overhead Bin Inconsiderate (32%)
11. Pungent Foodies (30%)
12. Back Seat Grabber (27%)
13. The Amorous (inappropriate affection levels) (26%)
14. Undresser (removes shoes, socks or more) (26%)
15. Mad Bladder (window seat passenger who makes repeat bathroom visits) (24%)
16. The Single and Ready to Mingle (13%)
17. The Seat Switcher (13%)

I don’t find too much to annoy me on a flight, as long as I have my own bit of space and I can drift off into my own world. What do you find annoying when you fly? Do you agree with the list from the survey? Have you found yourself exhibiting any of the behaviour on the list without realising that it could be annoying other passengers?

Here’s an infographic that displays the survey results. Click the image for a closer look.


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Carry On Flying


You often get a fair amount of time to think while flying and as I’ve had the opportunity to fly a little, both domestically and internationally over the past twelve or so months, here are a few of the things I’ve been pondering while thousands of metres above the earth.

The first person to develop noise cancelling headphones that block out the sound of babies and small children crying will become an instant multi-millionare … and quite possibly be awarded a Nobel prize.

No one is so evil that they deserve to drink airline coffee.

When the cabin crew invite you to ask for anything that would make your flight more comfortable are you allowed to ask them to remove the row in front of you so that you’ll have room to store your legs?

But one of the biggest mysteries when flying is how do people manage to bring the entire contents of their home onto the aircraft …. in their carry on baggage? I am honestly amazed at the volume of luggage people attempt to stow in the overhead cabins or stash under the seat. Sure, you need transport when you get to your destination, but that’s no reason to put a luggage strap around your family car and call it cabin baggage.

Now the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the trade association for the world’s airlines, is looking to do something about the problem with their Cabin OK initiative. IATA represents around 250 airlines or 84% of total air traffic.

IATA has been working on the standardization of cabin bag sizes, as the current variety of policies among airlines can lead to frustration for passengers.

I always do my best to only travel with cabin baggage, even on international trips, but I always check each airline’s policy and ensure that I’m complying with their requirements. Sometimes, when I see the amount of cabin luggage others take onto an aircraft I’m tempted to wonder why I went to all the trouble of ensuring I was within the limit.

This Cabin OK initiative aims to solve the on-board cabin space challenges that passengers, airline ground teams and cabin crew have been facing.

  • Airlines will experience faster turnarounds without having to take bags from the cabin to the hold. Gate staff and cabin crew will be able to easily identify bags which meet the common bag dimensions.

  • Passenger satisfaction will increase with the reduction of frustrations of carrying their bags on board and an increased clarity of acceptable bag sizes.

  • Luggage manufacturers will be able to offer new Cabin OK size-compliant bags to passengers.

Do you think the initiative is a good idea? Do you think it’ll make a difference?

I’m wondering if this will be the end of people lugging heavy items on board while trying to pretend they weigh next to nothing.

Are you one of those people that takes everything, including the kitchen sink, onto a flight as cabin baggage, or are you someone who stares in amazement at the balancing skills of those who load themselves up before heading through the departure gate?

What are the other things you wonder about when flying? I’d love to hear from you in the comments section of this post.

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Something in the Air


While I’ve got a lot more to say about my recent trip to Ethiopia and Rwanda, I thought I might write about something a little lighter today.

This morning I took the controls of a Cessna 152 flying out of Jandakot Airport with the Royal Aero Club. While I’m terrified of heights, I love flying, even in a small, ageing two seater like the plane I flew in today.

While Grant, the pilot, was constantly making adjustments during my thirty minute flight, he did let me take the controls a lot of the time. Of course I was under no illusions. Grant was doing a lot more than supervising. I was just the novice who was following instructions with more than a little correction coming from Grant’s dual controls.

We headed away from Jandakot down to Fremantle, up the coast to Cottesloe, then south again to Coogee before returning to Jandakot. The flight was a gift from my wife, Pauline. While I flew, she took pictures from the ground.

I was also able to take some photos while in the air. You can check out a few of them below. Just click on them for a closer look.

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Forced Stillness

Four hours in limbo. Four hours in the air. Four hours away from the distractions.

We’re just over half way to Brisbane. When we arrive we’re heading to the Gold Coast for a family holiday. I’m trying to remember the last time we had a family holiday which means it’s been far too long since we did.

I’ve travelled a fair bit over the last couple of years but it’s always for work or for a cause of some kind. It’s so very good to have my family sitting in the seats next to me rather than a stranger who’s travelling for some unknown reason.

The great thing about flying, whether it’s with family or for whatever other reason is that I’m forced to stop for a few hours. I have to stop tweeting, checking Facebook, reading emails and everything else that life is about these days.

I’ve just read several chapters of a book … and it was so very good. I’ll probably read a few more after I’ve typed this post.

The busyness of life often means that those things we love doing, like reading, get forced to the bottom of the ever rowing pile of ‘things to do’. Forcing me to spend five hours in a hollow metal tube, a dozen kilometres above the earth, short circuits the usual rush of things that shout for my time, yet are so often so very unimportant.

Over the next week or so I’ll be a different kind of busy. I’ll be ‘family stuff’ busy. We’ll be doing all kinds of stuff with a bunch of people that I love. I hope that there’ll also be time to relax, refocus and even read. (It’s so good to have a virtual library with me on my iPad.)

What does it take to stop you long enough to enjoy some time out? Are you a good time manager? Are you someone who has the ability to switch off and power down at regular intervals to lose yourself in the pages of a book or to just ‘be’ with those you love? I’d really appreciate your comments.

(This post was written while in the air and posted while relaxing on the Gold Coast.)

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