Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370

By now, it would almost be impossible not to be aware of the tragedy and the mystery surrounding Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 that disappeared on the 8th of March 2014.

Like everyone else, I couldn't believe that this plane seemed to simply vanish.

Malaysia Airlines is well respected. The aircraft, a Boeing 777, has an excellent safety record.

We know that the vast majority of accidents occur on take-off or landing. Planes generally don't just 'drop out of the sky'. 

For me, as a flight attendant, this was especially hard to comprehend. This is my world. My people. My livelihood. Of course, in a job like this, we accept that there is always the possibility of what we refer to as 'an incident' occurring but we try not to think about it too much. If you did, you'd never be able to step on that plane.

Theories began circulating almost immediately. Pilot Incapacitation. An Explosive Decompression. A Bomb on Board. A Terrorist Attack. Pilot Suicide.

As we are now well into the third week of this mystery, perhaps we'll never know.

Two days ago, Malaysia Airlines issued a press release to declare the aircraft as officially lost. This is part of that statement:

Tuesday, March 25, 12:30 PM MYT +0800 Malaysia Airlines MH370 Flight Incident - Media Statement 25
'As you will be aware, last night the Prime Minister of Malaysia, Dato' Seri Najib Tun Razak, announced new evidence regarding the disappearance of MH370 on 8th March.

Based on this evidence, the Prime Minister’s message was that we must accept the painful reality that the aircraft is now lost and that none of the passengers or crew on board survived.'

You can view the full statement here

I saw this on the evening news and was overwhelmed with emotion. It was heartbreaking to watch footage of the loved ones of those missing. Loved ones who had been fearing the worst but hoping for the best. Many were so overcome with grief that they were taken from their hotels on stretchers to receive medical treatment.

There were reports that the families of the missing passengers were sent this announcement via text message. If this is true, surely this is an unacceptable method of communication, especially given the delicate nature of the news.

I am also overwhelmed with emotion when I think of the crew. As part of the international crew community it is hard not to think, 'that could have been me'. Whatever happened I know they were amongst friends. We are like family. We spend most of our lives overseas, on planes and in hotels. We often spend more time with this flying family of ours than the real family we leave behind.

I remember a similar feeling some years ago when I visited Port Arthur in Tasmania. At the time I was a tour guide at BridgeClimb and the Sydney Opera House. In 1996, 35 people were killed in the 'Port Arthur Massacre'. Many of those killed were tour guides. I was quite struck by the fact that these were people, just like me, who went to work that day and never came home. 

A few days after the aircraft went missing, there was a post circulating on Facebook that was written by another Flight Attendant, Susan Davison. I have included a link underneath to the full article but here is some of what she said: 

"The tightness of the flight attendant community transcends language barriers. It breaks through lifestyle choices, religions, age, and cultures. It bonds us together.

So what goes through our minds when we hear there is a commercial plane missing? Dread. Cold chilling dread. And sorrow. Deep sorrow. Tears for our fallen. We don’t think about ourselves, we think about our comrades. The women and men who have the same mindset we do. Who do the same job we do.

We picture them in the aisle and galleys, doing their jobs. We feel their emotions as they realize something is wrong. We feel their terror, when they realize they and everyone on the aircraft are going to die, and all their training cannot stop it. We know they tried, in the end, to comfort the passengers and then each other."
Malaysia Air Flight 370 - One Flight Attendant's Thoughts

Let's hope that the aircraft is found and some peace and closure can be given to those who need it the most. 
Me, heading off to work. 
Always hoping for an uneventful flight.

Off the Back of a Truck

Despite growing up in an area where drugs and crime were commonplace, looking back, I’m always surprised by how naïve I was about some of the activities going on around me.

A friend of mine once asked me if I was interested in buying some things from one of her husband’s friends. I can’t recall what they were selling – perhaps clothing, electronic goods or the like.

Whatever it was, it sounded like I should at least take a look so I said, ‘Sure’.

My friend then told me, ‘They’re off the back of a truck. You don’t mind, do you?’

Off the back of a truck? I wasn’t entirely sure what that meant. Did we have to go to the back of the truck to buy the stuff? I guess that would be okay. Besides, for the prices she had mentioned I could hardly be picky about where they were selling them from.

‘Off the back of a truck?’ I innocently enquired. ‘Yeah, they fell off a truck,’ she said, laughing.

Wow. Everything fell off?

We went to some non-descript house in the suburbs to take a look. Some of the things were brand new, some used, but all at prices that could hardly be believed.

This was a veritable goldmine! I’m sure I bought tons of stuff and when I was told they had another ‘truckload’ coming in next week I made plans to return, which I indeed did on a number of other occasions.

I don’t know when the penny dropped that ‘off the back of truck’ actually meant stolen. And when it did, did I cease my law-breaking ways or continue unperturbed?

Thinking about it now, I wonder how I could not have known. I was naïve yes, but I had also been a rather prolific shoplifter myself some years before.

One of my school friends told me once that it was really easy to steal make-up from the local supermarket. I wasn’t allowed to own, much less wear make-up at the time, so the only way I was going to get my hands on some was to steal it.

Which I did.

In large quantities and on a regular basis.

My crime spree continued and I began to take more risks. I started to take higher priced items like expensive clothing and jewellery. I remember going into a department store wearing a long dress and coming out wearing an entire change of clothing underneath, including a pair of designer jeans. Most of the things I stole I couldn’t wear anyway as I had no way of explaining to my Mum where everything came from.

It was more about the thrill of getting away with it.

Eventually I almost got caught. A security guard asked me to empty my pockets as I was leaving a store. I did have a stolen lip-gloss in one of the pockets but was able to manoeuvre it so he didn’t see. I went bright red in the face, as most guilty teenagers are prone to do. He let me leave and I never stole another thing again.

Well at least not until I discovered ‘the back of the truck’ which I guess was stealing by default.

I promise you I have spent my adult life as a law-abiding citizen. I was raised in a conservative home with parents that would have been completely shocked that I was doing such things.

It just goes to show that our external environment can greatly influence our actions and behaviours.

I am just so grateful now that I was ‘almost caught’ all those years ago.

Just Give It A Go - And I Have

I started this personal blog on February 11th, 2014 and in my very first post Just Give It A Go I said I had a 'plan'. I had already ticked off the first few items in a rather extensive list that I had put together to enable me to kick start my career in travel writing. I also indicated that I would post details on this blog from time to time to show how the rest of that plan was progressing.

I cannot quite believe how much I have achieved in a little more than one month.

I now have my ABN to allow me to start getting paid writing work. I just need to start pitching some of my story ideas to magazine editors.

I have had this personal blog professionally designed by Designer Blogs and introduced the tagline Writing about Life, Love, Adventure and Travel.

I have created a separate blog, Seven Marathons on Seven Continents which Steve and I will use to document our journey towards becoming members of the exclusive Seven Continents Club. This involves running a marathon on every continent across the globe.

I have created a separate blog, still in the design stages, Camino de Santiago which Steve and I will use to document our 800km walk across the top of Spain in 2015.

I have finally discovered Twitter and Instagram and have links on all of my blogs to both of these.

I have created a Facebook page dedicated to all things writing. This will also be the one place that will link all three blogs. At the moment I have just over 200 'likes' on this page. I am aiming for more than 1000.

I have enrolled in a Travel Photography Course and have decided to purchase my first DLSR camera. I plan to take lots of photos during our upcoming trips and I have had an Instagram box installed on both the Seven Marathons and the Camino de Santiago blog. The photos I take on the road can instantly be uploaded to these Instagram boxes.

I have purchased a voice recorder to use for the interviews I plan to do on my travels.

I attended the Blog to Book Course at the Australian Writers' Centre. It was interesting to learn that publishers now ask about a writer's social media presence and particularly want to know the numbers i.e how many Twitter followers, Facebook likes, etc.

I started my first online subject 'Introduction to Writing' which is part of the Professional Writing and Publishing degree I am undertaking at Curtin University.

I am currently undertaking the Australian Writers' Centre online course 'Magazine and Newspaper Writing Stage 1.'

I attended a talk with bestselling author Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love) as part of the NSW Writer's Festival and gained some great insight into the real world of writing. A week later I was very excited to meet Liz on my flight to LA. What a lovely person she was and she graciously spent time talking to me about my writing plans. And replied to my tweet the next day!

I have decided to enter the Australian Writers' Centre 'Best Blogs 2014' competition. They have a number of categories with some amazing prizes, one of which is a chance meet with a publisher to discuss the possibility of publishing a book based on a blog. Some of the categories in the competition that I've entered are 'Best New Blog' and 'Outstanding Humorous Post' along with a 'People's Choice' round. As my blog is so new, I will endeavour to increase my posts from once a week to at least twice a week to better showcase my writing style.

So that's the update on my 'plan'. I'm happy with how far I've come and know that this would not have been possible if I didn't spend time setting some ambitious yet achievable goals right from the beginning.

Never Mind the Clean Undies

When I was about 18, like most girls that age, my friend Marg and I loved clothes, shoes, nightclubs, our first cars and boys.

In no particular order.

We also loved to drive around on most weeknights in our clapped-out cars to gossip about all of the above.

One evening, I was standing on my bed to get a better look at myself in the mirror. I was working out what to wear that coming weekend to Tiffany’s Nightclub. I had pretty much decided on the dress; a very bright, multicoloured halter neck, but I just wasn’t quite sure about which shoes to choose.

At the time I was really into the brand ‘Mr Christian’. They had the most beautiful shoes in a range of amazing colours. I loved a couple of their designs so much that I bought several pairs in a few different colours.

What to wear with this dress?

The red sling backs with the chunky heel or the bright green flats?

Solution. I’m a genius! Put the dress on and then put on one red shoe and one green shoe and stand on tippy toes to reach the mirror and see which one would go best. Best to get me a boyfriend was most likely what I was really thinking.

Bring Back Some Bedazzle

I spend a lot of time travelling around Asia and one of the things I love about it is the people. I love how quirky they are. You never quite know what they’re going to be into.

One of the best things I’ve seen yet is this taxi in Singapore.

I happened to hail this one down at the airport and was surprised to hop in and see that it was bejewelled like no other taxi that’s gone before. The entire interior of the car, from the dash to the glove box to the doors was completely covered in sparkles.

This could only be the work of a BeDazzle!

You may remember The BeDazzle that initially surfaced in the 1970’s. It was a 'simple tool used to fasten glitzy rhinestones, studs and patches to clothes and other materials.'

It was voted #100 in the Top 100 Gadgets of all Time, although a commentator in Entertainment Weekly magazine did once describe the BeDazzle as: "The cheap-ass rhinestone-studding tool favoured by art teachers and over-excitable mums everywhere, the biggest piece of crap sold on late-night TV since the Thighmaster and the reason women own shirts with glittery kitty-cats on them."

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to My Root Canal

Some years ago I had a bit of time to kill before a dental appointment so I went window-shopping.

I called into a little boutique shoe store. I was their only customer that morning and got chatting to the sales assistant, who I’ll call Ruth.

There were random shoes and shoe boxes piled high and covering just about every inch of floor space. Ruth excitedly explained that they had just taken delivery of the new season’s stock.

With great animation she began to tell me all about the latest trends, suggesting this and that.

I felt it only fair at this point to let her know that I was only browsing before heading to the dentist for root canal and I wasn’t planning on buying anything.

‘No problem,’ she said. She really just wanted to see what the new styles looked like on a real live person and insisted I try on literally dozens of pairs.

She seemed so thrilled by it all, how could I possibly refuse?

Besides, Ruth was just so nice.

The time came when we had to say our farewells.

I wished her luck with her shoes.

She wished me luck with my root canal.

A little while later, I lay back in the dental chair waiting for whatever it was they jabbed into me to work it’s magic and take me to a happy place. It was circa 1988 at the time and I’m pretty sure dentists only used horse needles back then.

The dental nurse came in and tapped me on the shoulder.

She was really sorry to do this, she really didn’t feel comfortable about it at all but it was going to be necessary to search my bag for a stolen item.


Life, Love, Adventure and Travel

Writing about life, love, adventure and travel.

Here are my top 5 thoughts about what each of those four words mean to me.

Sailing in the Whitsundays in 2012

1. I know how lucky I am to be here. After a serious health scare in 2010, I live my life to the full. No regrets.

2. Freedom. I feel blessed to have a partner and a job that both give me the freedom to do anything I choose in my life.

3.  Being Australian. To be born and raised in this country is a privilege. This truly is the lucky country and if you don’t believe that, take a look at what some others around the world have to contend with.

4. Making a difference. Over the past couple of years I have realised that we can truly make a difference in this world. Find something you are passionate about and give a little bit of yourself, whether it's donating your time or raising funds and awareness for something worthwhile. I am passionate about Animal Welfare and have raised in excess of $10,000.00 for charity.

5. Making things happen. Nothing is accidental in life. If you want something work hard, make plans and take the necessary steps to make it happen.

When a Gorilla Gram Becomes Madam Lash

I have spent almost my entire life searching for (legitimate) ways to make money.

I have been lured in by countless money making schemes and have had more first, second and third jobs going at one time than I care to remember.

Many of these jobs lasted merely a day.

I’ve tried Tupperware, hairdressing and real estate. I’ve been a Jenny Craig consultant, a camp counsellor and a wedding decorator. I’ve driven a lunch truck, worked as a waitress, a bar attendant, a hotel receptionist and as an usher. I’ve been a tour guide on the Sydney Harbour Bridge and at the Sydney Opera House. 

I am, for now, a flight attendant.

My earliest memory of trying to make money goes back to when I was just six years old.

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