7 Things to Never Do On Your Flight

Going to India with my Lunch

Going to India with my Lunch


1. Never forget your lunch. You will not find fresh fruit or fresh anything on board so plan ahead. Your pastrami sandwich (I only did this once) may annoy others with its fragrant aroma but you won’t have to wonder if you’ll get sick from the scary Styrofoam contents of an in-flight meal. Singapore Airlines and Japan airlines are the exceptions. I have never eaten better food on an airplane in my life.

Food items that travel well: nuts, cheese, apples, and dark chocolate

I always get hungry when I arrive at the airport as I’m finally relaxed after frantically packing. I usually eat my lunch in the waiting area before boarding.

2. Be warm enough – dress in layers. Wear your heavy clothes, and strip down if it’s too hot. It’s always too cold for me.

3. Do not get irate when they try to take your hand luggage away, ask to talk to he manager as you have sensitive video/photo equipment and don’t want anything damaged. He may ask to inspect your bag and then you smile engagingly, and produce your professional photography card. If you don’t have one invent one. This is a secret and I shouldn’t even be telling you this.

4. Earplugs. I don’t mind squalling babies at all. I mind hearing someone else’s idea of good music, plane sounds, loud talkers engaging in annoying conversations when you are trying to sleep in the middle of the night on a 20-hour flight across the Pacific Ocean. Loudmouths in any nationality take heed. Just close your lips and let us sleep.

5. Never feel you are bothering the person sitting on the aisle when you ask if you can get up every hour. Too bad. Sitting in coach is ultimate confinement. Get up, chat, move around and have some fun. I always end up meeting some kind people at the toilets in the back of the plane.

6. Never forget your reading material. Your computer, Kindle, and iphone will run out of juice and you’ll need a real magazine to get thru the hours. Pony up the cash and just do it. Its fun to see real photographs printed on paper that you can touch.

7. Never look at the clock. It’s just like being in labor to have a baby. My midwife covered up all the clocks in my house with infant size pampers when I was in labor and it helped enormously. If you don’t know what time it is you can’t complain how long it’s taking.

There are many things you can do on a 19-hour flight. Eat, read, chat, rest, meditate, watch films, walk around, write, or make a new friend.

What ways have you endured, I mean managed long flights?

Who Inspired You in Your Life?

mary in caye caulker at bellas

Who Inspired You in Your Life?

I never knew Nathaniel Hawthorne could be so enlightening.

Mr. Galuska was my teacher in advanced placement tenth grade English class. Our first book to read was The Scarlet Letter. I had all ready read it on my own before the class and was curious to see how he might give me a new perspective on it.

In his excitement and passion, he made the book come alive for me.

We had spirited discussions about the content and I felt a new awareness about the book.

He made me realize that one reading was not always enough. I now read a book I like twice. He taught me that a fresh reading of a book would bring new thoughts and ideas, things you hadn’t noticed before in the text.

He would ask compelling questions about the books we read that provoked a deeper and more thoughtful response from me. I loved discussing the opinions and perceptions of my fellow classmates and offering my own insight about the books we read as a group.

Readers have many different responses to writing!

I was also excited that Mr. Galuska was giving me A’s for my essays and class participation because what I was doing in his class didn’t seem like work.

Maybe one day I could be an author I dared to think. I didn’t know how this would happen but I felt a spark in my soul that ignited my purpose in life and I knew that one day I would have to fulfill it no matter how afraid I was to share my own writing with people.

Thirty years later I had my first book published, Everyday Naked and I want to credit Mr. Galuska, who was the teacher who encouraged me the most in my writing.

He encouraged me to look at a book I was reading and discover parts of myself in it. To see the book in new ways that reflected my own realizations, yearnings, and questions.

And he did it with such eloquence that deep inside I began to feel how important literature was to the world. How diverse and poetic its voices. He made me realize that brewing inside me was a powerful feeling and motivation to write.

It was not something I chose – writing chose me.

The next year Mr. Galuska was in a near fatal motorcycle accident. He was the only person I knew who rode a motorcycle in Syracuse, New York. He was paralyzed by the accident and could no longer move his arms and legs.

I prayed for his young children and wife who would never have him the way he was before. Standing at the head of the class almost dancing on his toes in excitement, professing his thoughts and feelings about what we had read and how we could look at it with fresh eyes and ask ourselves insightful questions to prod out our own wisdom.

Thank you Mr. Galuska, from the bottom of my heart, for igniting my spirit so deeply.

You changed my life for the better.

*Photograph by Eva Adalba, from Spain, In Caye Caulker, Belize