I’m currently sitting at a bar in Christchurch airport drinking a glass of post mix L&P and smashing a bowl of Kumara chips as I wait for a connecting flight to Dunedin. I’m on my way to visit my sister and her beautiful family for the weekend and I’m flying solo.*

There is something truly delightful about flying somewhere by yourself. As much as I love travelling with my family, it’s liberating to be leaving the country on an adventure all of my own. If you travel a lot for work then you might not be as excited as I am right now but I think even if you do it often, it's still impressive to wake up in one country and go to sleep in another.

Whenever I’ve travelled with the family over the last few years I’ve often fantasize about being one of those cool, independent travellers you see casually sitting in a bar, reading a book maybe and sipping a drink of some sort. They look so peaceful and confident. They’re well travelled and pack light. They are probably on their way to be part of some meaningful project and I’ve just caught them taking a beat in between stops.

Obviously I’m completely happy with my life but it's fun to imagine what people are up to as we pass through the same ports. Not travelling with Matt and two kids has given me far more time to people-watch - one of the highlights of sitting in an airport bar.

I can’t remember what movie it was that framed airports as being both the happiest and saddest places on earth. Dogma maybe? I find them very emotional places. 

I already burst into tears when we flew into Christchurch. We were here at Christmas so it hasn’t been long between trips but everytime I cry. Right now I’m flying over my extended family including my 90 year old Nana.

I could cry right now at the thought of squeezing my sister in a few hours when I get to Dunedin. There will be tears then for sure. Happy tears. I’m lucky that most of my airport tears are good ones. There have only been a few sad tears.

I remember being a kid, maybe about 8 or 9 and I flew down to Christchurch from Wellington. I thought I was the ‘cat pyjamas’! (I never understood that saying…) I had my own Ansett Badge with my name on it and got an awesome activity pack to keep me entertained for the hour long flight. The week with Franny (Nana) was wonderful! I’m one of nine grandkids and having Nana and Grandad to myself was heaven! When they dropped me off to fly back home I cried because I’d had such a wonderful time. 

It’s school holidays in New Zealand right now and I just watched a grandfather drop off his grandson, after visiting for the holidays I assume. The boy looked so proud to be flying solo as he shook his grandpa's hand as not too sissy why saying thanks. I obviously cried on his behalf. 

I have 20 minutes now till my plane boards. I’ve eaten the entire bowl of Kumara chips (it was so large when it came out, I promised I’d only eat half - whoops), I’ve probably completely ruined my appetite for the meal my brother inlaw is preparing for my arrival! (Sorry Liam) but I’ve had my moment. I’ve sat in the airport bar as the mysterious independent traveller on their way to something important. 

All I have to do now is act natural and not be completely consumed by the fact that my carry-on luggage weighs 8kg, well over the 7kg limit. With ‘honesty’ being my number one strength I feel exposed and criminal walking through the gate. Please don’t weigh my bag.  

 * Forgive me CHCH family, I only have an hour otherwise I would’ve reached out for a cuppa!

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