The journey begins…from Newquay to Nepal
Newquay’s airport is cute. You go in the front door and pretty much come out of the back with not a lot in between. It’s a post-industrial chic, crinkly shed. A product of recent EU investments in Cornwall. But don’t get me wrong, I love it, big airports are the domain of endless travelators and crowds. There is no heavy scent of perfume lingering in the air at Newquay, just the distant smell of sheep reminiscent of childhood camping trips. The staff are also awesome.
Most people don’t know there’s an airport in Newquay, but ever since Poldark it has steadily got busier and on occasions a crowd can form at the simple waist-height partition boards that divide the gates. You see all sorts of people on the plane, I have sat next to Lenny Henry and Nigel Farage on my weekly commute (though not on the same flight). Last week I had a good chat with Wayne Hemingway of Red or Dead fame and the week before Lord Taylor. It is the friendliest flight in the world in my experience. I’m wearing my boots, in case the luggage gets lost, not my idea, a requirement from the trip organisers.
At sunrise, we were off to Gatwick and the big smoke. But not before some lovely cloud watching over the fishing village of Polperro and remote vastness of Dartmoor.
Forty minutes later we’re on the ground and a quick bus ride and I’m at the baggage carousel. My bag is too heavy. It’s 18kilos, 8 kilos over where it needs to be by Lukla. I can only just lift it, and despite tripping over the Dyson in a spectacular slow motion fall down the stairs at 5am, so far I am injury free and keen to stay that way. My knees ache as I twist awkwardly to get the rucksack on my back. No trolley for me, I haven’t got a pound.
And then I spy Airportr, and its promise of ‘luggage freedom’. A quick tap, tap on their iPad and me and my bag are signed up and in the briefest of moments I bid it goodbye. I have three more flights to go so still plenty of scope for lost luggage on route.
But who cares, I feel light as air as my 18 kilo load disappears. My phone buzzes with the Track your Bag announcement. My luggage is being ‘carefully handled’ across London by itself (well by Andrei).
Joy, so far not lost. I on the other hand I was free to explore London in my 12 hour layover until the next flight. Sometimes I love the sharing economy.