© 2019 Emily Chhin

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Jan 16, 2018 - Departure

Departure from Toronto Pearson airport at 12:45AM. Scratch that, 2:30AM due to a delay because of the crappy, snowy weather Canada was experiencing. What a great start to the trip!


The minute I realized I wouldn’t see my family and boyfriend for the next 5 months had me balling my eyes out before I entered the line to check in. I meant to leave them with smiles, but I couldn’t help myself–I was so scared! This was the first time I would be travelling 20 hours on a plane halfway across the world, not to mention I was going on my own. At least I had the other guy from Humber going with me.


It was so embarrassing to be crying in front of all the airport workers on my way to the boarding area! I even almost lost my boarding ticket, because I left it in the bin of my items to be scanned and then it fell out. A worker found it and didn’t hand it back to me right away, asking if I didn’t want to go anymore, because he would go instead. I think he was trying to cheer me up…


There was nothing, and I mean NOTHING, that could have mentally prepared me for this plane ride. It was the worst experience ever. 15 hours stuck in one economy-class seat in a claustrophobic plane might not seem so bad until you’ve actually experienced it. Before I got on, I was like, “yeah whatever, 15 hours ain’t so bad, I’ll just sleep the entire way!”


You will NOT get any sleep on this plane (unless maybe you get a window seat where you can rest your head… or first class). There will be someone who is sick and coughing up a storm, there will be a crying baby, there will be that pair who is talking non-stop the entire way… Your legs will start feeling tingly, you will be hungry with nothing to do about it (everything in the airport was closed before I could purchase anything! Get there early if you want to stock up on snacks/meals for the plane ride), you will begin to wonder why you decided to go on this trip in the first place.

At least the food was pretty good. They fed us dinner at 4AM (technically it should have been breakfast, but in Asian countries, it’s 5 or 6PM). AND free alcohol is included (which helps you pass out during the flight–or so I thought… I just ended up feeling nauseous).

Then fed us again 12 hours later.

We landed in Taipei 2 hours after we were supposed to board our connecting flight. Yeah… we missed it, but luckily, EVA Air had no problems putting us on their next flight at 8:30AM. Thank. GOODNESS.

We got served even MORE food even though this flight was only 2 hours long. It felt like all I did during the flight was eat and then it was time for landing. Unfortunately, I was careless and put my cup of water on the bottom portion of the pull out table and it slid off onto my seat. I had a wet bum the entire last half of the plane ride… as if I wasn’t already exhausted from 24+ hours of no sleep…

We arrived around noon and (heavens be upon me!) my 2 checked luggages arrived safely and soundly. That was one of the things I had been super nervous about since I always heard stories about people’s luggages getting lost or damaged. I tied 2 pink ribbons onto them to help me spot them right away on the conveyor belt.


Despite the jetlag, sleep deprivation, and wet bum, all of this disappeared the minute I stepped out of the airport. I was met with what I only ever dreamed of seeing: the streets of Japan. I felt like I was in a dream the entire ride from the airport all the way to our seminar house. I was instantly rejuvenated and felt like a little kid travelling for the first time, wide-eyed and amazed by everything around them.

What I learned:

  1. Pack an extra change of clothes in your carry-on (I was wearing a thick sweater and pants because Canada is cold, but it was so humid in Taipei that I was sweating buckets and felt so gross. PLUS, my pants got soaked on the plane ride and I had nothing to change into when I landed.)

  2. If you have a later flight (ie. midnight), arrive a bit earlier so that you can stock up on snacks/food/drinks for the plane ride.