It’s been a journey of firsts. First time getting a plane on my own, first non-direct flight I’ve ever taken, first long haul flight that hasn’t had TVs in the back of the seats…

But hey, you get what you pay for. Besides, it’s all about the destination (is what I kept telling myself whilst trying to get some kip alternately on a cold marble floor and across a row of seats whose armrests plainly say “we are not for sleeping on”). I got a good solid half-hour shut eye before deciding it wasn’t worth the effort and voting in favour of the staring blankly at the grey speckled walls and wandering around aimlessly as a way to pass the time. I must say that airports are very boring between the hours of 12 and 5am; no people to watch, no games of “guess the nationality” to play (it was too easy to guess that the cleaning staff in Madrid airport were going to be Spanish).

Had I not already spent 12 hours waiting around for my connecting flight I should think the 11 and a half hour flight would have been more bearable – but on the plus side I did catch up on some sleep and at least I didn’t have to go through security again or pick up my baggage (previously having been clueless as to how it worked with non-direct flights). I don’t really feel like I have the right to complain about the lack of inbuilt TVs when personally I’m still pretty amazed by how aeroplanes stay up. It was quite dull though – the monotony was occasionally broken by the arrival of food (I really enjoy the fact that transatlantic flights are obliged to provide food) or the renewed squawkings of the child a couple of rows down; nothing like a 3-year-old going “deedleedleeedleeedleeedleeedleeedle” to keep you entertained.

The food provided its own source of entertainment: at least 30 minutes of distraction spent in attempting to navigate my way through a meal balanced on a tiny tiny tray table without elbowing my fellow passenger or throwing it all over myself. Mission accomplished.

About 8 years later we landed and faced the joy of immigration (I literally don’t think I’ve ever been in a longer queue, and the guy behind me kept muttering angry things in multiple different languages, very strange). Spent ages waiting for my bag because I was at the wrong place (doh) so ended up getting out a lot later than I’d expected and the poor taxi guy had had to wait for like 2 hours but hey ho.

Got to the hostel fine and its a shame I’m only staying one night because the people here are all lovely and it’s really chilled; spent a bit of time chatting last night and am very reassured about the whole trip: there’s loads of solo travellers and they all love South America. Good sign!

Hopefully going to get the bus to my next destination soon, bit scared I may miss it but we shall see!