West Coast Smoker…

We’ve all read an article about travel or a blog or two from an inspiring young writer about their trip to some exotic island where they sipped mai tais and lounged in the sun on a picturesque beach where blue waters lap at the shore. All the while wearing a tiny bikini or budgie smugglers and ruining the view that’s popped into our head. Well if you haven’t, we’ve just painted a beautiful beach scene in your mind. You are most welcome!.

At a Mind of It’s Own we prefer to do the opposite, we prefer to tell you about all the not so nice places to travel, or the nightmarish trips that white-collar workers are forced to take in aid of their company making another couple of bucks so the high-flying CEO can receive there million dollar bonuses all off the back of the little guys hard work. Yes workplace equality is alive and well across Australia, employees are more engaged and opportunities for career progression are running rampant like a dog on heat humping everything in sight. No that is not true equality still has a long way to go on the shores of this stolen land.

So this journey starts with a hundred-dollar juicer and ends with a rather long day to get into the nation’s capital. Do we start with the juicer or head straight into what will go down as the best corporate travel blunder to hit Australia since the politicians started getting caught taking personal trips on the taxpayers dollar. If you are a long time fan or reader of our blog you may have come across a couple of earlier blogs about work related travel. We get to go to all the most exciting places and meet some of the most interestingly mind numbing people you will ever meet.

In the past we’ve discussed the weird shaped owl statue that looks more like Penis in Canberra than an actual Owl. We’ve recounted stories about flights but what we haven’t actually done is given you a real life version of the John Candy classic Trains, Planes and automobiles. We apologise in advance to the train aficionados as this blog contains no train related material including stories about trains, actual train rides or the benefits of getting a train. There’s not even a guy wearing a train drivers cap directing people around like he owns the place.

However like the movie there were several modes of transport utilised to ensure that we reached our final destination. We would say we arrived at a suitable hour but as this blog started being written in transit and the clock ticked over to a new day before we’d reached where we needed to be. Unlike the movie there was no fat guy spouting comedic one liners to ensure it was a pleasurably funny journey from the outset due to travel issues. There was still some very good comedy errors that will keep out readers in stitches.

When one travels for work often they become quite accustomed to flying and the ins and outs of their journey. If you do it often enough it becomes routine and somewhat mundane. You know where the emergency exits are located and could probably put on your life jacket blindfolded with one hand while the other ensures your oxygen mask is on before helping others. Your seat belt is fastened low and tight and your tray table is away with your seat in the upright position for takeoff. The point Is you begin to become used to the little things like delayed flights and rude passengers on your flight but we’ll get to that later. It all becomes water off a duck’s back and part of the routine.

Still asking yourself why the juicer is significant in this retelling of actual events? Well it’s not but it did set off a chain reaction of events that lead to this blog being written. We started the afternoon getting a juicer no big deal everyone loves juice right and should have one in their home? Ok maybe not but that’s not the point. The point is that getting the juicer on the way to the airport made sense, plus we were doing the right thing by the company and save them some money not having to pay for an uber or taxi.

That was our first mistake and would continue to be compounded, we left the house early to stop and get the juicer there by saving the company money they would normally pay on parking or a cab. The knock on effect was that we were really early for the flight. A further knock on effect the flight is now delayed thirty minutes. Again no big deal and nothing that can’t be cured by a nice amber ale at the bar. Ok maybe two or three when you’ve got time to kill.

So having finally boarded and discovered what it’s like to be a sardine all stuffed into a tin can unless you’re lucky enough to be in business class where you seem to have a heap of leg and arm room to flap those wings around as much as you like.For the rest of the paupers however having to sit as still as possible in case they disturb the person next to them trying to sleep is a constant battle for flights longer than 45 minutes. The third class passengers on the titanic had more room to move around than today’s average flyer.

The flight crew go through the usual rig moral and safety demonstrations. Before the pilot gives his or her little introduction and before you know it you’re are zipping through the sky at 15000 feet or more. After a mini nap which was well needed, the guy down in 8D is making a dick of himself abusing the attendants. Credit where credit is due and we salute you and take our hat off to the young attendant who not only managed the situation but also the client as he continued being rude to her.

It’s about this time that most if not all of the flight are praying that the federal police storm the plane upon arrival to the gate, taser the bloke and drag him from the plane to a standing ovation. Unfortunately it doesn’t happen and the said gentleman will continue to abuse flight attendants for flights to come. So we toddle off the plane onto the long walk from one gate to another looking for some food in between the second flight of the day. With only an hour to kill while we wait time should fly, no pun intended.

Fed and feeling refreshed we headed to the gate ready to board our forty minute flight to the nation’s capital. That ripple effect continued chasing us, this flight two was delayed. No biggy, nothing to get upset about it’s only twenty minutes. Time continues tick by as patrons start to become increasingly frustrated at what is now an hour delay on a forty-five minute flight at the most.Finally we are asked to come forward using the lanes provided and board. Of course it’s one of those twin prop little things and can only be boarded via rear stairs which causes a further delay to having everyone safely in their seats ready for take off.

Thankfully everyone was keen to get going and take their seats as fast as they could in order to get the plane in the air and on its way. Now safely seat with our belts fastened low and tight, we once again sat waiting. Waiting is ok if you are told why you are waiting. As we clocked watched for the third time that day the pilot comes over the cabin and tells the now frustrated sardines that there is a slight technical problem and they need to reset the environmental control system. There was nothing to be alarmed about and the cabin lights may dim. Well they didn’t just dim they went completely out for about 30 seconds.

Safe to say all the passengers aboard the plane were now starting to think that they were not going to make it their final destination tonight. There was still hope though that they’d left enough time to organise a replacement aircraft but as we now stood around the terminal waiting for an update an update the possibility of that happening became slimmer and slimmer by the minute. The staff was extremely helpful and made sure all patrons were hydrated as they handed out bottles of water while assuring everyone that it wouldn’t be much long now.

They say a watched pot never boils well that may just be the case but we couldn’t help but check out watches as we waited. With the time creeping closer and closer towards a new day they finally offered up some flights in the morning and accommodation. As we lined up to get our accomodation and flights sorted slowly marching towards the desk now manned by four airline staff busy trying to sort out customers. Getting to the front of the line we are greeted by a friendly smile and told we are the lucky last person they have run out of accomodation after us and the only flights available are via Melbourne.

Listening to the small newborn cry in the ladies arms behind us it was an easy decision as we asked what was happening to the remaining people only to be told they would be taking a bus to Canberra. A bus a three and half hour bus ride. There was no way we could let the young couple with their small child ride a bus all the way to Canberra. If anything was to come out of this day it was a good deed done. With the bus due to depart at 11pm the calculations were done and preparations made for the long journey. As has been the theme through the whole journey the bus didn’t arrive until just after 11:30pm and start the journey until quarter to twelve.

Have you ever tried to sleep on a bus? All that vibrating, clanking, bumping and pumping of the ice-cold air conditioning do not make for an easy sleep. Even the most elite of special forces soldiers who literally train themselves to catch sleep whenever they can would have trouble sleeping on the bus. Like a flightless bird the bus hugged the road straining to gain as much speed as if could while 40 odd people tried their hardest to get some much-needed shuteye.

Finally in our hotel room after having to pay for our own accommodation which should have been sorted out by work, we looked at the clock once more. It was 4am as we jumped into bed to close out what had been the longest journey to the nation’s capital. Having thought that travel couldn’t get any worse all week our return flights a day later were both delayed by an hour and to make matters worse we are turning around to do it all again this week.

As we said we don’t like to give you the everything is awesome song and dance all the time, there is a downside to travel that those pesky bloggers won’t tell and that is quite often your flights will be delayed, cancelled or your plane turns out to be a bus. So from all the team at A Mind of it’s own we wish you safe travels and make the most of a bad situation like we did, write about it.

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