Boarding the plane for Europe 2014

Finally we are boarding a plane… After a year of craziness, chaotic work environments, pressures and a stack of personal set backs, we wondered whether we would ever be getting on this bloody plane. Gee, it feels good to finally be doing so. Just six months later than originally planned but nonetheless we are gladly here..

Rewinding back a few days prior to our departure, as Etihad members we received an email inviting us to bid for an upgrade to Business Class ~ we lodged a small bid that we could fit into our budget and to our surprise we won. Giddy Up!

This was a ripper start to our trip and quite possibly the start of something pretty fabulous. We wonder whether this may have been Tom’s blessing and the first sign that he is coming on this trip with us.

We are departing Melbourne with so much excitement but also with heavy hearts as my little brother, Tom was meant to be boarding the plane with us. I recall so vividly during the planning for our initial departure date (November 2013), Tom coming over to our house, as he did each night and him raving cheerfully about this overseas trip. It was actually the week of his passing that Anton helped finalise his passport.

I also remember that week Mags and Gina (my oldest best friends who have been big sisters to Tom for as long as I have) calling me with happiness as they had seen Tom and he couldn’t wipe the smile off his face about the overseas trip he planned.

It was all just happening and Tom was so proud of how organised he was ~ and I was really proud of him too. As the mixed emotions take their place in our hearts, we know that Tom will be with us along the way.

As we arrived at the airport just on time and starving ~ no surprises on both counts there. Of course we were still packing our suitcases one hour prior to check in. No time for a lounge stop but in a dash to our terminal we were drawn into Bar Pulpo by MoVida, since when have these guys been at the Melbourne airport? Bravo! Why would we ever join the busy activity at MoVida and MoVida Next Door again! Heck, we can just go for dinner at the airport. Anyhow, I seriously enjoyed a gluten free sourdough with poached salmon, cucumber, dill, capers, radish and lime mayonnaise. The best seventeen bucks I’ll ever spend on a sandwich..

We get to our terminal ready for the long haul ahead; thanks to the perks of our upgrade we were able to avoid any queues. We ate and drank our way through the sky, the luxury of lying down made the flight so much more enjoyable.

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I watched more movies in a twenty-hour flight than I have watched in my whole life. Understand this – I can’t stay awake longer than five minutes into a movie (but I am a sucker for a good doco) so to watch three movies consecutively is a real achievement ~ quite a milestone actually! Mandela and Amercian Hustle were both brilliant, Gravity not so great.

I also watched a couple of Aussie dramas and an exceptional doco on an All Blacks rugby player, a biography of his life and his heroic effort rising from slums to fame. Shame I have forgotten the title (my memory is terrible by the way). Lone Ranger is an outstanding movie according to Anton and now we think we are movie critics.

With three remarkable twenty five minute meditation tracks also available, I was very happy to get my fix of mindfulness. Still in a state of bliss over the deep sea meditation.

We arrive at Abu Dhabi, wow what an incredible lounge they have. Not only the lay out and comfort but for the extensive Middle Eastern foods. This is one of my favourite cuisines, if not my favourite, there is copious amounts of hommus, falafel, Baba Ghannouj, pita and tahini ~ Hmmm the flavours and armours just fill the room.

Bit scared as I’ve already gained about ten kilos and we haven’t been graced with the Heathrow injection yet. The Etihad customer service is impeccable and we graciously relax knowing that our next flight is in the hands of someone else.

As we board the plane from Abu Dhabi to London, Anton won the prize for the first celebrity spot ~ Lara Bingle or as us instagram followers know her as LBx. There isn’t any paparazzi flocking her or as she would say “video cameraing me” – unfortunate for LBx.

Can you imagine my ears flapping when she was standing behind us talking on her phone?! As we exit through Heathrow airport LBx thought it would be important to disguise herself, the hooded trench and sunglasses went on – for the record there is no sun inside the airport. I felt a little bit embarrassed for her. Regardless, she is still an absolute beauty.

As we gather our bags I win the overall prize for the best celebrity spot, it’s Scottie Pippen and his kids, I knew it was him because I follow (or maybe even stalk) his wife Larsa Pippen on instagram. No sign of her though, Shame! Oh Lord, I hear you say, she’s admitting to stalking people on instagram. You know you are all just as guilty.

I recalled Heathrow Airport to be so big and impossible to navigate, albeit sometime ago but the walk to get out of the airport felt like days. Not this time though, we were out quick smart.

We avoided getting stung by customs for a random search of our cases. Crikey I thought, we are going to be here for another two hours if this takes place – conscious we had an airport transfer waiting for us I began to panic. There was no other option than to talk customs out of us being their customers of concern, sure enough within no time we were off.

Excited to be in London. Our transfer driver is a little, older Portuguese guy who is obsessed with the speed cameras along the motorway. Hilariously obsessed with them. The one thing he has taught us, is to be careful of the speed cameras. He pointed out every single one from Heathrow to Chelsea. Thanks driver but that info would be handy if we actually had a car and in that case we probably wouldn’t be getting a lift with you. Nonetheless he is a cutie and a Porto supporter, which Anton was excited about..

Anna Owens is the founder of ownsit! A mama working in Community Development and Partnerships Education. Anna is a colour crazy, creativity enthusiast who loves to design, collect shoes, eat & travel.. x

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