On planes, not reading and Austenland

I’m a nervous traveller

Back in 1986, I had a disconcerting flight. It reached its destination however, not before one of its air stewards fell to their knees and cried and cried wailing “we are all going to die”. When it is a passenger you can ignore this panic but when it is the air steward – let’s just say I got nervous and have stayed that way ever since.

Despite my absolute terror of flying, I try to not let it rule my life. Though I have yet to travel alone, I have travelled to Mexico and throughout Europe. My stomach stays clenched for the 25 hours plus that it takes to travel from the arse end of the world (Hey, Sydney is Adelaide’s bum crack) but I have managed to conquer fear in 1993, 1994, 1996, 2000, 2010 and once again, this year. I am travelling with my 15 year old son who is proving mature beyond his years, guiding me through mantras and checking I am OK. He also teases me mercilessly.

What do I do on planes? I’m afraid that reading is completely out of the question. It is too sedate an activity and I am a fidget bottom. Books only act as lumbar support when I’m on a plane. I usually need to satiate my nervous twitching. So here I am 4 hours into a 27 hour transit, having conquered Bookworm and Tetris, I am now watching Austenland. It is scmaltzy, I can’t think of Brett from Flight of the Conchords as anything but Brett from Flight of the Conchords and though he is yummy in an understated way, I am underwhelmed by him and the movie. Not enough to turn off the movie and choose something else (Sharknado is up on offer but meh). The guy from Northanger Abbey so far is OK but I am truly creeped out by the premise of this film. Women so obsessed with Jane Austen that they pay to role play a holiday away. Errrrrm. No thanks. And they chose to play one of my least favourite songs of the 80s, Chris de Burgh’s Lady in Red (though there were no women dressed in red in that scene). Seriously, earworm. Only Renee and Renata’s Solid as a Rock was worse. I do find the concept of what is real romance and what is roleplay through the film interesting. How do we know when people are role playing. How many people, in reality, role play around the fantasy of one true love, mistakenly falling for the traps of flowers, dinners and dances and not looking through to the reality of souls that are meant for each other. (Perhaps the movie is getting to me more than I thought). I truly hope this is a movie concept and such holiday destinations don’t actually exist.

We have just had an announcment from the captain that we are going to go through some turbulence. My stomach is roiling. I am far from happy but at this stage, to quote my mum “What are you worried about? You have given up control. If the pilot goes down, you all go down”.

Yep. Thanks Mum.

*** Written while in Bangkok. Posted from Dubai. Athens – I’m on my way.

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6 thoughts on “On planes, not reading and Austenland

  1. Thinking of your comments on Austenland – I watched the TV series Regency House Party and have the book which is about modern people dressing and living as if it was 1810ish. The participants had assigned roles, the audience gets edumacated in info snippets and there are pretty dresses.
    My couple of takeaways from the show:
    1. Modern young women just couldn’t get all the way into their Regency situation as unmarried young women because they couldn’t shake off their internalised sense of agency. Seeing that really reinforced how limited a woman’s capacity to act on her own behalf was and made sense of how women might blossom as married women with some charge over their own lives.
    2. There was one ‘couple’ who if this really was the Regency would I think have made a match of it because they liked one another, shared values, interests, etc and he (in his role) was a retired RN Captain with money. Yet IRL terms they were not ‘in love’ so of course did not end up together. So I was left thinking of the difference between ‘love’ and ‘being in love’ and whether ‘being in love’ is really about connecting with the other or more about ourselves.

    Happy travels 🙂

    • “So I was left thinking of the difference between ‘love’ and ‘being in love’ and whether ‘being in love’ is really about connecting with the other or more about ourselves.”

      I think you are right. Connecting with another person is the key to a good romance (whether real or fictional). When it is more about the individual needing to “be in love” and searching for someone that can get them to that “space”, I think the relationship is doomed or at least less convincing.

      (I hope this makes sense. I am still fuzzy brained).

    • I realise my post was a stream of consciousness written during a bouncy part of the flight but I had to reread it because I didn’t recall saying I was sober. Though I only had two brandies and two wines. I was not sober the whole time 😀

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