Existing Member?

Princess Adventures A little something-something to run around the world with....

Ponderings from a plane at midnight

INDIA | Sunday, 27 March 2011 | Views [656]

Somewhere between Dubai and Mumbai...

I’ve never been on a flight before where I am just one of a group of twenty. Heck, I’ve never flown with any more than three other people at a time, and each of those times playing the dutiful role of daughter or partner in a travelling team. Now, I’m in charge of seventeen young adults with the support of two colleagues, hurtling towards Mumbai at breakneck speed in a Kingfisher jet. I am no stranger to developing world travel; nor am I new to dealing with unfamiliar places. But this situation, this responsibility in loco parentis, is a totally new kind of scary.

Already today, I’ve received a desperate 4am phone call from our tour operator in India, asking why we weren’t on the 4am arrival. Some genius decided not to forward our updated flights to the company, who were expecting us 24-horus before our scheduled arrival. Brilliant eh? It gets better yet. On calling the tour company at an hour where my brain is actually functioning, all I can establish is that there will be someone to pick us up when we arrive in Mumbai. God only know what will happen to the rest of our itinerary. No one wanted to update me; the chick in charge.

Midday crept forward and my last minute holiday catch-ups were clearing themselves from my to do list. Then, the school called. Another genius hadn’t specified that the airport transfer would be departing at 6.15 PM, so calls were running rampant from 6.00 AM when the bus DID show up. Somehow, the school had lost my number too, so it took them six hours to get a hold of me. Needless to say, my initial worries concerning managing the well-being of seventeen students were rapidly increasing.

Stress, concern, a testy snap at a loved one, a lost iPod and a solid 10km run later, I was beginning to feel at peace with the world again, but not overall joyous at the idea of leaving Andrew. This always happens. I never want to leave, and then I never want to come home. Like a toddler in pre-school, I never seem to have shaken those separation issues. We shared a sombre farewell and I began to arrange my paperwork and deal with last minute parent queries, from parents who initially confused me for a student – great start guys. All the while I had to keep myself going with a constant “you can do this” mantra, much like that classic “breathe in, breathe out” blonde joke we all know. Then came the part where I could stop – I looked down my little bus at seventeen eager faces, half with earbuds already tapped into their brains, and knew it was all ok from here. We left on time, in great spirits, with the clear understanding that they would enjoy great flexibility should they maintain the trust, organisation and attention to deadlines they’d managed thus far. Such a teacher.

The beauty of the kids really hit me as we were standing around the check-in counter. I was not travelling with your average students. These kids are Dubai. They stand around and wait adeptly with their passport and ticket in one hand, and their Polo Ralph Lauren suitcase casually lolling in the other. The backpacks they're carrying for the hike are foreign, uncomfortable and awkward to them. These kids are not new to travel in any way, shape or form and they travel A LOT. The reality was that the most difficult part for these students would be adapting to the idea of ‘roughing it’. Hotels in India don’t go up to seven stars, kids. That said, I came to the conclusion that this really was going to be a great trip, and that they would take up the challenge and master it. So far, we’ve had one forgotten passport, a missing sleeping bag, and a complete lack of antimalarials. I’m proud to say, I had it all sorted, along with an extra stack of Imodium, mosquito repellant, and time for dinner and coffee all before the boarding call. Not bad eh?

Tags: india, school, trekking

Add your comments

(If you have a travel question, get your Answers here)

In order to avoid spam on these blogs, please enter the code you see in the image. Comments identified as spam will be deleted.



Travel Answers about India

Do you have a travel question? Ask other World Nomads.