After months of planning, it was time to embark on my newest adventure! While I usually travel solo, this trip is different. I actually have various travel buddies with me throughout my whole trip, which includes California, Singapore and Thailand. I’ve become accustomed to traveling solo; I like having my own itinerary and following it the way I want to follow it, changing it whenever and however I deem necessary. I like napping in the middle of the day if I want to. I like going to bed early if I want to. I like the peace and quiet in my room, and the freedom to go outdoors for some noise if I want to. This trip was going to be different – but I am thrilled about it.
The night before I left Kansas City, Erin, one of my best friends from high school drove up to join me. We completed the obligatory pre-vacation mani/pedi, and had a delicious dinner with another of my best friends. It was an early night to bed, and a really early morning. As usual, leaving my sweet little pupsters was so hard. I find with each trip it gets a little tougher to leave.
They’re getting older, and 2 of Mina’s brothers have passed. I don’t want to be gone if something happens, but I have peace in knowing I have the best dog sitter! I also don’t believe in living in fear, which is why I travel solo, and is why I leave my doggies for 2-3 weeks at a time.
We arrived in California to spend 4 days with high school friends. When we landed in Los Angeles, we promptly grabbed the shuttle to Budget Rental. One of the best things I ever did was become a FastBreak member. That means I show up, I get in a car and I go. We arrived to our assigned lane, complete with a line of acceptable to very satisfactory car rental options. When I booked the car, I chose the class: “Ford Fusion or similar.” I was thrilled when I saw there was actually a Ford Fusion available. Then I noticed the brand new Chevy Malibu that I find particularly appealing. I couldn’t decide which one, and then Erin pointed out the bright red Mustang. Granny here had to be persuaded to get the Mustang. Erin won me over when she said: “I have 3 kids. Can we please get the Mustang?”
We spent the next few days soaking in the presence of each other. There is a peace you receive when you’re with people who truly know you, and have loved you longer than most of the other people in your life. We biked around Huntington beach. We reminisced about old times. We got makeovers. We shopped, and went to the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach… and we ate. We ate a lot.
I celebrated my birthday there, which was a blast. I awoke to a chocolate cake, chocolate covered strawberries and mimosas for breakfast.
That evening I picked up my travel buddy for the next leg, Makayla, and we enjoyed a birthday dinner at Perch in Los Angeles. Incidentally, Makayla’s birthday is the day before mine.
The next morning it was time to bid farewell to Erin, and carry onward with Makayla. We arrived at the Tom Bradley International Terminal and apprehensively approached the Singapore Airlines ticket counter. If you followed me on my 2015 trip to Europe, you may remember I took only a backpack. On my 2016 trip to Europe, I made the mistake of bringing a roller, albeit a small one. While checking baggage does have it’s benefits, I decided then and there I would never bring more than a backpack again. The disadvantage with backpacking it, is that there is often a carryon weight limit. For this trip, the weight limit is 7kg, or 15.4 lbs. When I was practice packing, (yes, that’s a thing), I found I was over the limit with my clothing alone. So I went back and eliminated some things, and after all was said and done, I was at 8.5kg. Still over the limit, but that was as good as it was going to get.
Immediately upon approaching the counter, the man behind the desk instructed me to place my backpack on the scale. As I expected, it was totally over the limit. However, to my surprise, he smiled with kind eyes and said “that’s all right.” Woohoo! Now if I can only be so lucky on the 5 remaining flights of this trip!
We boogied straight through security at mach speed, and then had some time to relax at our gate and eat breakfast.
Soon it was time to board. We took our seats and for the next 20 or so hours of travel, I was pleased to find Singapore Airlines did not disappoint. The flight crew was kind and helpful. The food was adequate (for airplane food). They offered snacks at any time with the push of your button. The pitch of the seats was much better than my last international flight as well. The entertainment selections were great. I watched 2 movies that have long been on my list, and several episodes of The Big Bang Theory. Does it get any better than that? Yes! Yes, it does! I also played Tetris! (As it turns out, my skill has declined since those days back in 5th grade when I used to play with my dad). We were provided with compression stockings in a cute little Singapore Airlines bag, too! I actually brought my own, but I did not wear either pair. My legs were sausages when we landed in Singapore and I had a very defined pair of cankles and a complete inability to put my shoes back on. Lesson learned.
The first leg of our flight was 11 hours – one hour longer than my flight to Athens last fall. Our route took us up near Alaska and Russia, and landed us for 1.5 hours in Tokyo. I would have loved to venture out into the city for a few hours, but our layover wasn’t long enough for that. Instead, we hopped back on for another 6 hours to Singapore. Needless to say, by the time we deplaned that evening, I wasn’t quite as sprightly as in the photo above. We arrived at 9:40pm – 14 hours ahead of Kansas City. We grabbed a taxi and checked in to our hotel and went immediately to sleep!