I'm going to Borneo! How cool is that!

But I mustn't show any emotion, and I'll simply act like it's totally normal. Yeah, off to Borneo, really far away, long-haul flight, red-haired apes. In front of anyone else, I'm completely chill. "Oh yes", I say calmly, "I will also be going to Borneo, not long after I've been to Tokyo." That's right, I'm also being sent to Tokyo! Being sent! To Tokyo! Just before going to Borneo! "And maybe I'll go to Seoul too for a bit, but I've not made up my mind yet." Once the conversation's over, my face is just in total relaxed normal mode.

I'm chill personified, no emotion on show at all, and the more intensely the other person looks at me, the more chill I get. "So how was your day?", I'll ask, with a smirk.

Acting cool is a particular trait of experienced travellers. We progress effortlessly towards the security gates, and we regularly help friendly but slightly less experienced travellers to put their bar code under the scanner in the right way. With a polite smile, of course. After that, we smile even more politely when we see the same rookies struggling with the fast-track lane and stepping aside to let us scan through at double-quick speed while explaining - with the same experience and speed - that they should be queuing a little further along. "What, in that long queue?", they ask. "Yes, in that long queue," we confirm with more of an apologetic smile.

Then, we progress even more quickly towards the business lounges, precious loyalty card in hand, where we immediately claim a newspaper to ourselves and know which lounge serves the best Sauvignon Blanc, like a home from home.

At the boarding gate, while we're on our phone informing our most important contacts that we're "just boarding now", we'll either get right to the front of the queue to make sure we can stow away our hand luggage on the full-to-capacity plane, or relax and wait until the very last moment if the plane is departing half-empty. Because that's chill. Totally cool.

But here's the truth: half the time, I'm incapable of scanning my own boarding pass, and I find myself rescued by a nice old lady who's flying for the first time ever to visit her grandson, or I'm in the middle of the longest queue ever when I realise my boarding pass has 'FTL' printed on it. I regularly get refused entry to lounges, and my priority pass isn't always accepted that easily. And my hand luggage - well, I usually struggle to fit it in to the locker. I always find myself under the smallest lockers, and I'm sure I can hear my laptop cry a little every time it gets wedged in too hard.

But hey, I'm going to Borneo! How cool is that!

Until next month, Jan

© Travel Magazine


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