I confessed my thoughts at the end of our Ibiza yoga retreat, but what about the beginning? I wrote this months ago, just after our first Ibiza yoga retreat, and realized I never published it. With another Ibiza yoga retreat scheduled in October, I thought it might be nice to share it now.
A confession: I'm sort of loathe red eye travel.
I awake at 3:00am on the dot, exactly thirty minutes before my alarm is set to go off. This is typical for me. Whenever I know I have to get up at some ungodly hour my mind just knows, and I never oversleep. (Though now that I write that sentence, I am for sure doomed for future red eye flights.)
I step into the shower, surprised by how awake I feel and remember that this is my second to last shower before I leave Germany, as after this trip I'll have one night here before going back to the US. Do you ever do that? Make a final countdown in your head of things you're doing before you leave a certain place?
My hair wrapped in a towel, I make scrambled eggs with cheese at 3:20am, which causes my husky to waddle into the kitchen in a daze. I look at him, my heart melting, his eyes half asleep. He's a solid sleeper- he'd sleep til 11am if we let him, and normally would not be inclined to come into the kitchen if he hadn't heard me unwrapping cheese, his favorite food. He brushes up against my leg, tilting his head hoping I'll drop some cheese, which I do, obviously.
At 3:45am, I make a final buzz through the house to collect some last minute things - my toothbrush and toothpaste, my razor, my phone charger, and I'm off to the airport en route to my yoga retreat in Ibiza.
Going through security in Germany is a breeze compared to the US, where we've got to remove belts and shoes and submit to full body scans. My jewelry sets off the alarm this morning, but no one really cares and I'm sent through to the terminal, where I settle into an uncomfortable leather chair and then I feel it.
It creeps up slowly, but it's there for sure, that pit in my stomach, a sort of hangover feeling. An intoxicating mix of lack of sleep and mild anxiety from knowing I'll be on a plane soon. Thoughts swirl through my head - will I have a peaceful flight or is someone going to throw up on me? Did I remember my fish oil? Who was it that decided a diagonal line connected to a short horizontal line should represent the number seven? Why does the shape of the number 3 have two bumps instead of three? Am I a little bit crazy?
My heart pounding, and a headache building from the nape of my neck, I board the plane and am relieved to find I have the entire row of seats to myself. I stretch out across all three chairs and instantly realize I forgot my earplugs. The number one thing on my travel list must-haves besides a sleep mask. The flight attendants sound like elephants as they march up and down the aisle and I am all sorts of irritated as I desperately try to ignore them and squeeze in an hour of sleep.
It doesn't happen, and the captain announces our descent basically as soon as we reach 30,000 feet and I'm asked to sit up and put my seatbelt on, as if that's going to help anything, should the plane suddenly fall from the sky.
My stomach in knots, in that weird space where I can't decide if I'm hungry or feeling sick or both, I board the next flight. I've paid extra to sit in the front. And it turns out to be directly in front of a woman with a toddler who is using my chair as a leg press and punching bag.
I am generally very kind and compassionate toward travelers with small children but on three hours sleep I am not quite human, and I don't understand why the mother isn't doing anything about the kid kicking my seat. After 20 minutes of my seat being punched and kicked, I furiously turn and give The Look, you know the one, because I don't know how to ask the kid to stop in a language we'll both understand. Luckily, The Look is a universally understood and the kid stops.
I sleep fitfully for an hour and then watch the white sandy beaches and crystal turquoise water appear below as we touch down in beautiful Ibiza. Grabbing my carry on, I find the baggage claim and settle in to wait for my business partner Sophie, who is the logistics person for our week-long retreat in Ibiza. She'll be arriving within the next few hours.
People watching in airports never disappoints, especially when the locale is a vacation hot spot. People are bubbling excitedly, ready for their R&R. I am fascinated by the cultural differences between the different flights. The French arrive in the baggage claim area. What is it about the French that they look so glamorous in worn out sweatpants and a big linen scarf? Their language is a song and I'm surprised to realize I understand most of what's being said. The next plane comes in from Madrid, and their lispy Spanish reminds me of my college study abroad experience in Granada. I read, I write, I wonder about the shape of the number 8 and how if you elongate it and turn it horizontally it becomes the infinity sign. And I wonder why I have such a strange obsession with the shapes of numbers today.
Sophie and I connect and head out of the airport, the blue skies and warm sun offer the promise of a beautiful week ahead. The pit in my stomach has melted away, and left its absence an overall sense of excitement and gratitude for the week ahead, where we will welcome fifteen yoga students from France, Germany and Australia to a beautiful Spanish finca in the hills of Ibiza.