It’s kind of funny to totally lose a day in the air. I left Toronto on Wednesday, and got to Kolkata on Friday. It was a great trip – albeit a long one. Maybe I was just really out of it yesterday with jet lag (and maybe I’m still out of it today), but it seemed to go by surprisingly quickly.
Travel calms me immensely. Before leaving Toronto, my body was just not cooperating with me. Between the stress of wrapping up life and work, I had a migraine that refused to leave, my stomach was in knots, and my sleeping patterns were really erratic. I desperately wanted to fast forward to being at the airport. I knew as soon as I was there everything would be better! Spoiler alert: I was right.
I had a few routing options for how to get to Kolkata, and I ended up going with Toronto-London-Mumbai-Kolkata for a couple of reasons:
- Having three flight legs gave me the opportunity to get up and walk around during stop-overs (which were all reasonable – less than three hours), and also gave me some small wins where I felt like I’d made some progress (woo, London, I’ve crossed an ocean)!
- The other options weren’t ideal. Travelling west through Hong Kong meant a 15-hour leg and getting to Kolkata at midnight. Connecting through New York or Chicago (including a long layover) instead of London made me feel like I wasn’t making any progress. If I’m going to spend seven hours travelling, I’d prefer to have landed at LHR instead of taxiing for takeoff at JFK.
- Arriving in Kolkata at 5:25am meant there was barely any traffic in the airport or on the roads, and I felt safer arriving in the morning than late at night.
Now, you probably know that I’m not a big fan of when people closed-caption their lives. Actually, I usually openly mock my friends when they do this. So I’m going to try to be brief in telling you the story of how I got here. Let’s start with a collage.
Top left (YYZ-LHR): Sat beside adorable and hilarious grandparents from Bruce County on their way to Vienna. We chatted nearly the whole flight about all sorts of things. Haika worked at IBM over 20 years ago and we laughed about how much the world has changed in such a short time. She also thought selfies were ridiculous. To be fair, so do I. We laughed at me and my silly selfie together.
Top right (LHR-BOM): This flight was EMPTY and it was GLORIOUS. The Jet Airways crew was amazing and let me move so I had an empty four-seat row to myself for the whole flight. The only time I spent awake was when they woke me up to feed me. It was nine wonderful hours of sleeping and eating.
Bottom left (BOM): The new Mumbai airport is BEAUTIFUL, but I have never had my luggage scanned so frequently. Got off the plane? Scan. Got to the other airport? Scan again. Ohh, you’ve travelled 10 meters to get to the gates? Let’s scan again. I might have had some mishaps at this airport (because I was out of it and walked out of the terminal instead of going to in-transit). No stress, Jet Airways crew to the rescue again – they got me to the other airport!
Bottom right (BOM-CCU): I made friends with this fantastic couple who were on my last flight, who were on their way to Kolkata to adopt a little girl and then move to Mumbai. I love them. We waited in the airport together with Jakob from Germany. After some more napping (don’t judge, take-off puts me to sleep – plus it was 3:00am), we got to Kolkata ahead of schedule at about 5:15am, and it was also empty. I think I’m going to travel overnight all the time. Who doesn’t love no lines and no traffic?
My first impressions of Kolkata were that it is loud (constant honking), congested (not surprising for a city with a population over 4.5 million), and full of really nice people.
The whole IBM team flew in from around the world on Friday, so five of us had lunch together, ten of us had dinner together, and then six of us decided to check out the hotel’s disco. It was a great day of eating, napping, and team bonding.
In the next post, I’ll introduce our awesome team!