When it came time to fly back to Sydney, I was a little nervous. I had been charged for excess baggage on the way to Lismore, and I didn’t want to incur a similar charge on the way back.
I keep clothes and some other personal items at home in Lismore, so I only ever take the minimum carry-on of 7kg when flying home. However, I was a little cavalier in my packing this time around, and when I was approached in the queue, my bag weighed in at close to 9kg. I was forced to pay an extra $65.
I left a few of the items I had taken with me to Lismore at home, but even so, my bag still weighed 8kg. Carrying two laptops (one personal, one work) seemed to be the biggest issue.
So I packed the jacket I was planning to wear, with my Bluetooth speaker and computer cables in the pockets. I was still convinced that they were going to approach me in the queue again, but thankfully the plane was running late and was full, so there was little time to worry about what I was carrying.
It was lovely at the airport to run into some people who were also heading to Sydney for an exhibition at the NSW Parliament of 100 photographs taken in the weeks after last year’s Lismore floods.
In many country towns, there is no real sense of “six degrees of separation”; it’s generally only one degree of separation.
In chatting with one couple at the airport, we established that they were likely living in a house where one of my cousins lived back in the 70s. We also established that someone we mutually knew had recently started a new job, replacing someone who had recently moved to Sydney, and who was now working with my friend (also from Lismore) who was coming with me to the exhibition opening.
These country town conversations are never about what you do for a living, or where you went to school, they’re about where you’re from and who you know. “You’re from such and such town or street? Do you know such and such?” And quite often you do.
I arrived in Sydney safely and on time, and I was happy to have avoided another excess baggage charge. I was also glad to have had the opportunity to catch up with some old friends and make some new ones. It’s always nice to come home.