Moving day finally arrived, after several attempts and delayed visas. Donnie and I chose to fly from our home, Nashville, to Dallas, and then to take a direct flight from Dallas to Sydney. We would enjoy a two-hour flight to Dallas, have a three-hour layover, and then climb aboard the two story Qantas A380 for the world’s longest flight, scheduled at 16 hours and 55 minutes to travel an astounding 13,804 kilometers (8,577 miles.) Woah.
We obviously couldn’t leave America without a curbside airport selfie.
We chose not to ship any of our belongings, as it takes up to several months to receive a shipment, and we figured we would need any “necessities” before our shipment arrived. Instead, we opted to pack all of our clothes and accoutrements in two full-size suitcases each, with a wheeled carryon each as well. Not an easy load to maneuver.
Once we checked in and paid approximately $360 in overweight and extra baggage charges (ouch) we were officially on our way across the world. Fortunately my mom kept it light and cheery, so we didn’t leave in tears. (Those would come later.)
We made it to Dallas after an easy flight and had plenty of time to enjoy an airport meal. We lucked out and found a place in DFW’s international terminal (so much quieter than the domestic American terminal) that served up delectable crab cakes and solid burgers. After dinner, Donnie bought me some Bose noise-cancelling headphones because he is the best. I really thought it was stupid to spend so much money on headphones when he got his, but the difference it makes in a flight (especially a really long flight) is worth every penny.
We checked in at our gate and asked if there were any upgrades available– a girl can dream, right? While I didn’t get business class lay-down seat, they did let us purchase an entire row of 4 seats for just the two of us for only $250. (I should also note that Donnie’s company gave us substantial relocation funds to cover our moving costs.) I really can’t explain how excited I was to have extra room. I was not looking forward to being scrunched up next to a random stranger for seventeen hours.
The extra fee was absolutely worth it– we had so. much. space. The A380 is an enormous plane, so we never felt cramped. The Qantas flight attendants were incredibly attentive and kind– offering up a “welcome drink” of light berry juices and consistently passing through the cabin with water so everyone stayed hydrated. They also have “snack stations” through the cabin, so you could get up to take a walk and grab an apple, a Kit-Kat, or a bottle of water at your leisure. The food was even on a different level: quinoa, golden raisin, and chicken salad for dinner and a lovely selection of fruit and yogurt for breakfast.
I was really nervous about jumping on such a long flight, but it honestly did not feel any longer than the 8-hour flight to London that I’ve taken several times, despite actually being twice as long. Just call it Qantas magic!
When we arrived in Sydney, it was 6:30 am, two days later, and very warm. We left 30 degree winter and landed in 90 degree summer. Flying is so weird sometimes.
We took a cab to our Airbnb, which held a few surprises for us.
After scaling a million steps (or 45) we were halfway up the hill to our “granny flat” and it was at this point that our super fit Aussie host handed Donnie a huge stick and casually said, “I usually bring this down with me in the morning to clear out the spiders.” Umm.
We continued up 20 more “stairs” (more like rocks staggered in the super steep hillside) and reached our granny flat. Thank goodness our host was willing to help lug our 6 giant suitcases up the incline. He didn’t break a sweat. Perhaps Donnie and I did. Our flat did have really incredible views of the lagoon.
Things it did not have: air conditioning.
Honestly, the flat was clean and spacious, in a great location, and very reasonably priced. All of that was hard to remember when the sun was blazing and the highs sat in the mid-90’s. Donnie bought a fan on day 3 which significantly helped. However, it was hard to feel anything but incredibly lucky when we sat outside to enjoy the sunset.
In the end, we survived our week in the “hot spider house” as it has affectionately come to be known. Stay tuned to see where we moved next!