The date -December 17th 1903. The Wright brothers successfully launched the World’s first airplane. The seed from which the world of aviation was conceived, and revolutionized the way of life for multitudes. Airships took the spotlight for luxury travel and befittingly so, with the convenience of indulgence in gourmet meals and fine wines at 20000 feet.

 

The date -December 31st 2009. Emirates Airlines conferred upon me the fascinating opportunity to be part of the boys and girls of the skies. I felt like the red carpet had been rolled out for me. As I signed up for a glamorous lifestyle that would span a period of eight years, I was atingle.

 

One never forgets their first time! Manchester, United Kingdom was my inaugural. It set the center stage for tarriance in fascinating destinations.

New York, Sydney, Capetown and other metropolises began to feel like home. I rolled out a plan to get a glimpse of the best attractions in every city I set foot.

I became accustomed to nesting in luxurious hotels, soaking in their magnificent ambience. I made good use of the health clubs and spa treatments, most of which came at knock off rates. I even learnt of the existence of something called a Pillow Menu! A meticulous commentary of five to six pillows that would snuggle up against each other whenever I walked into a room.

To date, the Marriot bed carries the day.

 

It is the aspiration of many to live in a city vibrant enough to earn a spot as a holiday destination. I was fortunate to hang my hat in a city whose growth rate is one of the most expeditious in the world.

Dubai came wrapped up in the summery sun, white sandy beaches, majestic skyscrapers, excellent infrastructure and a dynamic public transportation system.

The perks of the job offered rebate tickets granting me groovy opportunities for expeditions and home trips to see family. In addition to the rebate tickets, came free accommodation, transport to work, a healthy pay cheque and travel allowances.

 

It is no wonder then that this attractive package lured people from diverse nationalities like a magnet.

It was thrilling to have an open window to spice up my international flair. I intermingled with people from all walks of life, forged friendships with some whose countries of origin bore names I was unacquainted with. In the same breath, I became conversant with diverse cultures, cuisines, mores and demeanors.

Which destinations would I treat myself to invigorating massages? where would I go if my wardrobe was in need of a facelift without having to break a bank? What was the best place to hibernate for a couple of days when the heat of the desert became unbearable?

I had answers to all these.

I still do 🙂

 

Why did I give up ship?  You ask.

Why bow out from such a glitzy lifestyle?

Two years ago, I realized there was no fire in my belly to keep up with the lifestyle.

Night flights especially became painstakingly difficult. Reporting for flights two hours before departure meant setting the alarm four hours before.

Picture having a makeup session at midnight, dressing up and dragging suitcases in the dead of the night. I was required to keep up the smile and posture for the duration of the flight.

Over time, accumulated fatigue crept in, I spent most of my layovers sacking out. The body clock was completely muddled up and sleep pattern almost non existent. My body could not cope with the constant jet lag and swollen feet.

 

Following meticulous consideration, spanning a period of two years, I said goodbye to that chapter of my life and stepped into an unfamiliar one.

The apprehension I felt as I tendered my resignation was negligible in comparison to the excitement of a new life.

In the weeks that followed, I worked hard to facilitate a smooth exit. Bank account needed closure, company documents and items needed to be returned. I undertook medical checkups and applied for a certificate of good conduct from the Dubai police.

 

Crew life can be a lonely affair. The farewells were tough, though there was a glimmer of hope since most of my friends were still flying. We chose to leave it at ‘see you soon’ as opposed to ‘goodbye’.

Presents were exchanged, but what was engraved in my heart was the preciousness of some bonds.

Those that strike our hearts.

 

As I write this, it has been three weeks since I left the desert. The first two weeks saw me grapple with sleep pattern adjustment. My current endeavor is body and mind nourishment by means of a healthy diet, adequate sleep and consistent regime.

 

All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players; they have their exits and their entrances- William Shakespeare.

My entrance and exit on the EK platform bestowed a wealth of wisdom:

Take pride in what you do.

Do not lose yourself in today; Tomorrow awaits.

All of us are woven from the same fabric.