Mooooooooo — or the joys of traveling.

It’s a wonder I don’t respond to questions with “mooooo” these days.

I spend a better portion of my month on the road because of requirements of work. I teach courses about my company’s software products and I have a specialty for one product. In fact, I’m one of 3 instructors that teach it. As a result, it’s not unusual for me to spend a fair amount of time on the road. And, even more time, it seems, in the air. So I’ve begun to learn how to benefit from that travel but there is still some things I have no control over it — specifically, the life of being cattle in the economy class. For example, if the planes packed, get an aisle seat or, if you want window stick with ones where there are only two seats in the row. Three across can be annoying, more so when you’re in the middle seat.

I mean, who gets the arm rest if you’re in the middle?? But to make it even more fun is the challenge of the size of seats. The average seat for most airlines, for their economy class, is about 17-17.2 inches (as per Seat Guru). The average “seat” for most adults these days is about 35-39 inches. That means one needs a seat of 17-20 inches. So either you just fit or you “overflow”. And a lot of us, myself included, kinda “overflow”.  It’s neat trying to fight with the arm rest while it pinches the nerves in your upper hip.

Then there is the challenge of leg room, or rather, the lack thereof. The only way you can stretch your legs effectively and keep them from completely falling asleep is to walk in the aisle. But with the “pleasant weather” of late, pilots are keeping seat belt signs on more often (for obvious safety reasons). The downside of this, especially on a 5+ hour flight is that it really can hurt the back. Worse when it’s a “moo plane”. I always try to prepare for this before getting on the plane by taking advantage of walking around the airport.

I actually enjoy it — except for the 50lb laptop bag. That’s never fun but at least I can use it to strengthen my shoulders, neck and arms (biceps and triceps). I usually have to anyways because of a lack of vegan food on the plane (chips really aren’t it). Looking for a salad, soup or other simple foods is really hard sometimes. Apparently everything must include dead flesh in it, even something as simple as a salad. Ya know, veggies and fruits aren’t that bad — especially raw? So I usually find some nuts, sunflower seeds or something like that with some water to enjoy on the plane and wait until after checking in at the hotel to find something more substantial, like pasta and tomato sauce.

So the recent trip to Vegas, at times, felt like this. Although I did get in more walking than I had anticiapted since I was able to enjoy it with friends but it was all good. In fact, it was kinda needed. We ate at some pretty nice restaurants and ate well. One of the best was Delmonico, an Emile Lagasse restaurant. The staff went out of their way to ensure that all the food I ate was vegan. They warned me about the bread having butter in it and that the roasted potatoes were done in duck fat. They had encouraged my carniverous friends to have side dishes (that were shared by all) were vegan (steamed asparagus and oil-sauteed mushrooms). I ended having a pasta dish with smoked tomato sauce and grilled veggies. Very good indeed. And worth every penny.

Afterwords, we enjoyed some fine cigars at Case Fuentes, one of the premiere cigar manufacturers. I finally got to experience an Opus X Fuentes Fuentes. I enjoyed it with a nice mojito and great conversation. It allowed me to stop mooing for a bit and enjoy the trip some.
And that truly is the trick: get outside the plane, the hotel and walkabout. That will stave off those feelings of mooing. Oh, and if that fails, remember this: you’re not alone in it and might as well enjoy the ride — such as it is.


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