Leaving On A Jet Plane

2:15pm 7/14/12 STL:

Though I won’t actually be able to post this until later I am writing this on Saturday July 14th, the day I left the states.  I’m sitting in the STL airport in a fancy rocker thing by my gate.  Checking in went pretty well.  We had some difficulty finding the ticket counter, but it was fine.  After switching a few things into my checked bag it weighed 50.5 lbs at the counter.  Not sure how I managed to do that, but I did.  Definitely not as light as I hoped, but oh well.

Rachel standing in line to check my bag with me.

My beautiful best friend Rachel came to the airport to see me off.  She was so incredibly helpful in packing and all the preparation.  Her family actually is letting me borrow both of my suitcases, both my giant 50 pounder and my carry-on rick steves bag.  I actually really like the rick steves one and might end up buying on.

These are my lovely parents who drove me to the airport. Thanks for all of your support during this trip!

Getting through security was fine as well.  Got marked for a random shoe checked so they rubbed my chaco straps down for explosives.  I passed. 🙂  I know you are surprised.  But I was nice and prepared for my security pass through.  Had my liquids under 3 oz in the quart bag.  Also had a separate bag for my prescription cough medicine with codeine (that I fully intend to use to sleep), polysporin, and contacts.  I hadn’t known before this trip you could do that, but you sure can.  Well I posted a few tips below, but now I think I will watch the new True Blood from last Sunday since I still have about an hour and a half before my flight leaves.

7:22pm STL time en route to L.A.

This is where I camped out during my layover in STL.

While we were waiting in line to check in we saw this couple in front of us with 4 kids that appeared to be under 5 years old. We talked about how awful it would be to have to travel with them.  Rachel said that I would have to sit next to one of them… jokingly, but guess what? I sure did, or was supposed to.  But on the first leg of my journey there were many open seats and a freshman from Northwestern who happened to be going to France to study abroad offered me her seat.  Much better.

12:02 STL time in LAX waiting for the flight to Nadi

Lots and lots of emotions today.  This morning I was incredibly nervous about leaving for 5 months.  Got a bit more calm during the flights.  Even got excited as we were descending into L.A.. Unfortunately that excitement quickly got displaced by nerves and anxiety as I realized I had to switch terminals and also realized I had no idea what a baggage tag was (it’s the little bar code that they put on the thing they put your tickets inside).  Everyone kept talking about it and how I needed this code to get my baggage, but they never described it so I didn’t think I had it.  Very distressing.  I did have it on my ticket holder so it was fine

The makings of fudge babies as my snack.

The final fudge babies in a bag! A healthy yummy snack (dates, pecans, shredded coconut, cocoa powder, salt). http://chocolatecoveredkatie.com/2009/10/13/make-these-now/

Now I’m sitting in the terminal.  I was hoping that it would be a smaller group of people, that I would be able to find people that would also be in my ISEP program with me.  But instead there are tons of people here and I have no idea who may be in my program and not.  I really hope I have an empty seat next to me, or at least get an aisle seat, or even the window.  Just not the middle.  I guess we’ll see.  I’ve also noticed they do not make near enough outlets in airports for the number of people that have electronics these days.  This little laptop is pretty impressive though. Says I have 7 hours and 22 minutes left of battery life.

1:50am STL time = 8:51pm Fiji time

The HUGE plane we were on from LAX to Nadi. Two levels, 3 seats on either side and then 4 in the middle.

The 10 hour flight from LAX to Nadi was not bad.  Took some cough syrup with codeine twice, which helped me sleep fairly well.  We arrived in the smallest airport I had seen.  I purchased some mango vodka for a friend here as well as some local whiskey for myself duty and tax free.  First time I could purchase alcohol in my life which was pretty exciting.  Went through customs, got my flight switched to earlier (and only had to pay about 15 US dollars for an overweight bag) and then flew on my final plane, quite a tiny one, to Suva.

This lovely musical group greeted our flight in the airport at 5 in the morning! What a lovely welcome to Fiji.

The tiny plane from Nadi to Suva.

My itinerary:

STL to LAX through Chicago 3:55pm to 8:30

LAX to Nadi 11:30pm to 5:10am

Nadi to Suva 11:40am to 12:10pm 8:00am to 8:30am

My travel outfit:

  • Yoga pants
  • Stretchy orange shirt
  • Chacos
  • Glasses instead of contacts so my eyes are happy
  • Minimal make-up and definitely no mascara

My strategies for traveling:

  • Get plenty of sleep the night before and if you can’t sleep take something so you can
  • Wake up earlier than you think you should
  • Put your packed bags by the door at least 1 hour before you leave your house
  • Try to relax a bit before you go
  • Be ready for security
  • Bring snacks! (I made some “fudge babies a la chocolate covered Katie”

About Meg LaFollette

I studied abroad in Fiji for 5 months in 2012 and absolutely fell in love with traveling! I went to New Zealand right after and then Peru this summer. When not traveling (and sometimes during) I love healthy, environmentally conscious living. Animals, biology, horses, and behavior are other passions of mine.
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6 Responses to Leaving On A Jet Plane

  1. Rachel says:

    Oh my God, you’re there! I’m so excited for you! It sounds like your traveling went pretty well, and you got that earlier flight to Suva like you wanted 🙂 And I can’t believe you were supposed to sit next to those kids! Now that would have been a long trip lol

    Have so much fun over there, ‘kay? Like, so so much fun. And take pictures, lots of pictures. Because we’re all definitely going to miss you over here.

  2. Jenny says:

    So glad to hear that you arrived safely in Suva. Can’t wait to hear about your experiences there because Ed and I are living vicariously through you from our tiny shire-like house. Love you & miss you already!

  3. embracethepositive says:

    Glad you made it there safely! Good job switching to an earlier flight. Go easy on the whiskey 😉

  4. Jean LaFollette says:

    Worked a 12 hour shift at the hospital yesterday and was very happy to hear that you had posted and were safely there. One of my coworkers asked about your trip yesterday, so I am going to share this on facebook!

    • Eva says:

      So Megan, you don’t know me, but I worked with your mom many years ago. I’m so excited for you and your family. I’ll continue to pray that your journey is everything you want it to be and more! Jean, thanks for putting this on FB! Hope all is going well!

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