Clive and I are in trip mode once again, heading off next week to visit family in England and the U.S. and to spend some ‘just us’ time in Paris.
On our upcoming trip, for the first time ever, we’ll be spending a majority of our time – 56.76%, to be exact, or 42 of 74 nights — in Paris.
To put it mildly, I’m excited about this.
We’ll have eight days in Paris at each end of the trip, and a full 26 nights there in the middle. This will be the longest continuous time I’ll ever have spent in Paris. We’ve also planned about two weeks each in England and the U.S.
How did life get to be so complicated? I know the issues of Family Globalisation and the conflicting emotions of being an ex-pat are experienced by thousands the world over, including many readers of this blog.
I feel so lucky to have both Sydney and Paris in my life. There are so many things I love about each city. This winter in Sydney was beautiful – sunny and sparkling – although we were stressed for much of it because both of our mothers were in and out of hospital with serious health issues.
We have realised that in the current phase of our lives, our first priority is to travel for family. Then, within parameters such as birthdays, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, we plan as much ‘just us’ time as we feel comfortable doing. It’s always tricky, balancing the expectations of family spread across three continents; our genuine desire to see each of them as often as possible; and our wish to spend some couple time whilst away.
No choice is guilt-free or stress-free. On this trip, we’ll be with Clive’s father for his 90th birthday in England and my mother and son for Thanksgiving in the U.S. Juggling is always required and this time we built our itinerary around these two events.
Airline Surveys and Preferences
Thanks to the global economic downturn and airline competition, we found excellent fares between Sydney and Paris on Singapore Airlines. Singapore is one of our absolute favourites (for more detail, see ‘A Passion for Travel, Part 8: Top Ten In-Flight Insights’).
We’re flying American Airlines, a Qantas One World partner, between Paris and New York, to visit my family in the U.S. It’s not a favourite airline but it’s reputable, the price was amazingly low since we booked well in advance, and we get Qantas frequent flyer points.
As reported in an ‘Economist’ article on April 6, 2009, airlines from Asia and the Pacific region were rated highest in an annual survey of global airlines in which 16 million travellers from over 95 countries participated. Number one was Cathay Pacific, followed by Singapore Airlines, Asiana Airlines, Qatar Airways, Emirates, Qantas, Etihad Airways, Air New Zealand, Malaysia Airlines, and Thai Airways.
Seatguru.com, a U.S.-based site we use for checking seat assignments (thanks to my son and Kim B. who both recommended this!) also conducted a survey of 1,600 flyers, published June 11, 2009. Seatguru’s survey respondents said major U.S. carriers serve the worst food and cited United, American, and US Airways as having the least comfortable economy-class seats and the rudest flight attendants. They also rated legroom very important, as it is to me and Clive.
For this trip, we’re trusting that since we’re flying Singapore Airlines all the way, we won’t have a repeat of ‘Asia 101: How Not to Get to Paris,’ which happened last September when we tried a Qantas / Air France combination and ended up taking 42 hours to get to Paris via Beijing. As much as I love visiting Beijing, I do not recommend it as a transit stop between Sydney and Paris.
What I Really Want to Do
I’m hoping that, in addition to our upcoming time in Paris being a holiday and the longest time we’ve ever spent away without family obligations, it will also be a time in which I can work on a writing project that’s close to my heart.
I know some of this blog’s readers are also keen writers, and I have shared some of my thoughts about writing in ‘Writing? You Need a Job’. I’ve begun working on a personal project related to times I’ve spent in Paris, and am looking forward to continuing this work in the weeks we spend there.
Speaking of writing, sometime while we’re away, I’m going to try to persuade Clive to write a guest post on a word that is avoided by many Americans but is in common usage around the rest of the world. Stay tuned.
I also hope to see some of my Paris blogger friends in person while we’re there. I’ll be posting more from Paris soon.
Cheers and happy travels to everyone who may be taking a trip in the near future.
Filed under: Trips and Tips |