the flights: going so far from home we almost came back
our flight from LA was exactly what you’d expect a 14 hour flight to be. we boarded in LA at 10:35 and were scheduled to land in Sydney at 6 in the morning (we lost a whole day in there, that’s why it was a 14 hour flight, i’m not even sure how to explain it) we watched bad movies (i watched one good one CHEF and i found it delightful, could have been the lack of sleep) i had vanilla waffles at 5:00am and carson had the eggs. you couldn’t really read, you couldn’t really sleep. the woman behind me must have watched every movie you could and would laugh abruptly, scaring me. however, i did the same as i bawled through “chef”) we later shared a moment watching the sunrise together:
"look at the sunrise." "what?" "the sunrise." turns head to look: "sure.”
however, the flight was smooth and the sunrise was fantastic as we touched down in Sydney.
the Sydney airport was terrifying. not because of anything they did; it was probably due to the jet lag and Carson feeling his nicotine withdrawals - we were not at the top of our game. going through customs had me shaking and nervous because it always does (my camera is going to be ruined. i lost my shoes. what if i am carrying a bomb?) it was fast paced and a million people speaking a million different languages all trying to do the same thing. it felt like the farmers market at 10:00am. we found our way through and into what appeared to be a giant, expensive mall. we couldn’t use American money nor our credit cards so we had to exchange some money for Australian bucks (which is beautiful). we went to McDonalds (i know, lame, but wait for it…) they had macaroons. that’s right my friends. 6:50am on a tuesday and we’re sipping on cokes and knocking down macaroons.
we found our gate and boarded the smallest Virgin Airline plane in the early afternoon. the flight was a little bumpy, but the sight of the clouds and nothing but ocean made up for it. we had a little coffee and tried to read, but both of us were exhausted and anxious to touchdown in Auckland.
damn did New Zealand look pretty from the air. night was upon us, but you could see mountains and homes and coastlines. the airport was very modern and clean. we arrived to wait in a line to get through to customs. i had all the normal thoughts in my head that my visa was a joke (since applying for it was easier then becoming ordained online, which I am if you need me for anything) and that my passport somehow expired. but the handsome gent at the counter just said, “ah wwoofers!?” looking over documents…”ah Wisconsin! cheese, yah!?” we sighed and laughed and were on our way.
the next stage of the Auckland airport was to find our bags. we were really nervous about it. we had two guitars and a huge bag with all of our clothes, shoes and some other fancy things like a recording mic. we found the large bag (I’m talking 4 dead or alive bodies could fit in it) instantly but couldn’t spot the guitars. they ended up being a few terminals down waiting for us. we couldn’t believe it. it’s happening.
lastly, we had to get through the bio-hazard line. signs all around you say LAST CHANCE TO CLAIM OR DISPOSE OF MATERIALS. it felt like any movie you’ve ever seen with a deadly decease or zombie theme but it was very calm and went quickly. one thing they have you do on international flights is fill out a card about the crap you’re carrying with you or what kinds of viruses you could be carrying in that hot bod of yours. have you been on a farm in the last 30 days? did you steal a sloth? those kinds of things. a man took our cards and gave us the look down and with a nod sent us on our way. cheese man from before warned us we could potentially be quarantined due to the nature of our visit. (yikes) lastly, you stick all of your belongs through another x-ray and people ask to see the bottom of your shoes.
we got through the x-ray and we were almost home free. a little beagle was sniffing bags and i had a thought that all our years of… having friends around who smoked things… could come back to haunt us. what if someone gave us a “gift” and stuck it in our bag? we have thoughtful friends who don’t always think things through… the beagle couldn’t come up with a reason to keep us so we were safe. out some sliding doors and mobs of people and we swallowed up our first breath of New Zealand air.
it was raining and dark, it is winter you know. but we easily found a bus shuttle that seemed to know right where our backpacker was located. about 10 minutes later we found ourselves in the midst of a quirky part of town called Ponsonby on the doorsteps of the Brown Kiwi. we lugged our american sized luggage up the front steps, rang the door bell and were greater by a tall drink of water named Hanes. he talked fast and we were exhausted but he showed us around the little home, twenty somethings of every country were sprawled about the kitchen, living room and back patio. a multinational choir chirped out “hello!” instead of sleeping on bunk beds with 15 other people we found we had our own room (with our own double bunk bed) through the back court yard on the second floor. (photos to come)
we had made it.
the rest of the details are fuzzy now. we were hungry so we walked back to the main drag and pass hundreds of cafes, bars and restaurants. we found splice in a joint called Burger Wisconsin, which didn’t have burgers like Wisconsin but they were delicious and fresh and dare say healthy? an old man from out back said Seymour, Wisconsin was the inspiration, but that’s all he said. we didn’t mind.
full, we walked back eager to sleep. we brushed our teeth together in our little outdoor bathroom. grinning at one another in silence.
we had fucking made it.
some things never change while everything is changing. i love you, dad. thanks for driving me the first leg of our trip.
anda // the island of happy days // july, 2014
— Anaïs Nin, from The Novel of the Future. (via meganmcisaac)
i’m so spoiled living on an isthmus.
vishala getting ready to walk down the aisle.
it’s feeling real this time.
chicago // museum of contemporary art // 2012
"the universe is unfolding as it should." — desiderata
chicago // april, 2014
it’s been a long time since carson and i got to travel alone together. the last year we’ve been racking up the miles solo or with our families and friends, which has all been fantastic. it was just time to hit the road, the two of us.
we travel well together, really well. we get tired and hungry at the same time. we don’t need a plan, we are both happy walking; stopping to take photos, sip bloody marys, explore shops and warm up with coffee. we remind each other of the little things that make a trip so great; peeling graffiti on buildings, the way the light hits the water, an old, forgotten song piping through a bar’s speakers.
a true gift for me to find a partner in crime who gets my wanderlust soul.