On Saturday 3rd May, I left a damp and misty Melbourne evening behind and boarded flight QF9 for London via Dubai, en route to Ireland.
Interesting how when you board a plane, your whole world shrinks in an instant to fit the 60 square cms or so of allocated seating space. Pushing against the boundaries of that space are the lives of total strangers with whom you must share the next 20-something hours.
You can try and maintain the pretence of some personal space as you see how many different ways you can fold your body to achieve some semblance of comfort within that confinement. But it's difficult when you can feel the faint puff of slightly unpleasant breath from the otherwise pleasant stranger snoring quietly beside you. Or the passenger on the other side who insists on encroaching over the armrest with her elbow.
Then there is that feeling of suspended animation, reminiscent of night-time car journeys as a child, where, enclosed in the darkness, you feel you are travelling into infinity, a journey with no beginning and no end. Impossible, also, not to spare a thought for the passengers of MH370, as you watch the flight path across the Indian Ocean on the seat screen in front of you. What was going through the minds of those unfortunate travellers on that fateful journey? And did they know anything was amiss?
Time does pass, filled with snatches of broken sleep, airline meals and a selection of in-flight movies, and then here you are on the other side of the world in a different season, different time zone and ready to experience whatever unfolds over the coming month.