Feeling Nervous at Heathrow


I’m writing this in the BA lounge at Heathrow airport – sitting as near to the washrooms as possible because I am somewhat nervous. I’m travelling on my own — which is so not my favourite thing — because I’m meeting my sister for a week in New York (which will, if I arrive in one piece, be wonderful). The thing is, I am a nervous traveller at the best of times, but to travel alone is a whole new area of potential disaster.

My main fears are getting lost (I am the person who always parks in the same spot at Morrisons otherwise I never find my car again) and losing track of time. The time thing is very real – since my surgery I have no sense of how much time has passed, and doing something for 5 minutes often surprises me when I see the clock has moved an hour. At home, I live by alarms; when out, I follow Husband – so being here, on my own, is fraught with worry.

However, so far, I have met a very nice lady at the check-in desk, who told me exactly where to go (had to go on the scary monorail and get off in the correct place). She even drew me a map to the lounge (am travelling on air-miles, so all rather special). And my name has only been called over the tannoy once (left my coat in the washroom, but I might not mention that to my family). I managed the whole ‘no liquids, computers out, watch your bag disappear into the distance with strangers while we check why you set off our alarm’ security just fine – though I guess I might have left things there but not yet realised. Am hoping as I scatter my possessions merrily around the airport I don’t cause the whole thing to grind to a halt. But it should be fine, it’s not as if I can get on the wrong plane—or get off at the wrong stop. Can I?

Talking of possessions, I also have a niggling worry about my checked-in luggage. I’m sure that they usually attach a sticker to the back of the passport, which acts as a receipt if your bag is sent to the wrong place. But I don’t have one. I have checked — no sticky label. Does that mean my suitcase was sent off without a label? I was too nervous to notice, and I don’t remember. If so, will label-less luggage reach New York? Seems doubtful. But I don’t have time now to go to a desk and try to sort it out; I think I’ll solve the problem when I get to NY.

When I arrive in New York, I have to find the official taxi rank, and give them the hotel address, which is safely stored on my phone ready for when they bring the tiny immigration form for me to complete. I know I have to remind the driver that there is a set price for a taxi to Manhattan (just in case he forgets, and puts on the meter). And Husband has prepaid for the hotel, and I have a dollar to tip the man who carries my bag, and then my sister will arrive, and all will be fine. At least, I hope all will be fine.

Shutting down now, so I can go to check the board. Then I need to buy a bottle of water for when I arrive…and some chocolate. I will let you know how I get on.

Have a safe week (and try not to leave your coat anywhere by mistake).

Love, Anne x

Thank you for reading.
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I have always written a diary on holiday, so last Christmas, I decided to find all my old diaries and blogs, and make a book for my children. However, several other people also asked for a copy, so I have written a public version – it’s available on Amazon and has been described as “The Durrells meet Bill Bryson”!

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