Take Off!


The number one question that slid into my Instagram and WhatsApp inbox as I prepared for take off was, ‘How are you feeling?’

With mere moments until departure – I queried how I could answer this huge question before it was time to switch on airplane mode. The truth is, there was no succinct answer – I felt so many things.

A bit of budget shameless branding on my suitcases
My overweight cases made it through. I have never breathed such a sigh of relief!

It feels unreal  

Up until a day before the flight, the trip did not feel real. In the world of post-covid travel, there can always be hiccups last minute. I joked to friends often that I wouldn’t feel like the trip was happening until my bags were checked, I was through security and actually sitting on the plane. 

Now that I am, and reflecting here…this still feels surreal to be honest. I’ve worked really hard to get to this point, but the work of living this life has not even begun. That will be the real challenge I suppose! 

Whilst looking out at the blue skies and fluffy clouds way way above the grey skies of London, I can’t reconcile that everything I have been working up to over the past year has resulted in this. Staying up late, getting up early and refusing to take my eye off the prize has led me to this very moment. On a plane back to the same place that last year, I had tears in my eyes when I left. 

I feel nervous 

Even as someone who’s done it a couple of times before, there’s always going to be nerves that go along with picking yourself up from the place you were born and going to live somewhere else.

Packing is a huge stressed. (We’ll talk more about this later!)

You would think I’d be better at it as a person who owns a domain called ‘She’s Up and Away’! Trying to cover all the bases that might need to be covered for a 9-month stint, with stops in other countries that don’t necessarily share the same climate was definitely rough! Initially, I had high hopes and thought I could condense my life into one suitcase. However, a few SHEIN orders in, I realised I was truly playing myself. Two cases would be 100% necessary.

Later when my two trusty yellow peeps started threatening the weight limit, I had to have a serious word with myself. There was no way I was taking three cases! 

My hoarding tendencies brought about some nerves about life as a nomadic transient person. How on earth would I be able to manage as a woman who clearly needs stuff to thrive? 

Luggage tag courtesy of new travel company Globe Native!

I feel grateful 

So much gratitude that it’s unreal.

To my family, my friends, my mentor, my inspirations.

As well as some for myself – for not just continuing to write lists about things I want to do and actually getting on with it.

And bucketful of gratitude to Andrea Valeria for her amazing remote jobs website


I feel tired 

The month of November, I’m very fortunate to say, was like one big leaving party. I got to see so many friends, and a lot of London. Some places more than others!

The hard work mentioned above, also took a huge toll on energy levels. I don’t really feel like I’ve taken a breath since my reemergence ito society in July.

My camera roll loved it all, my FitBit sleep tracker did not.

As I board, there’s no doubt in my mind that I will be sleeping for the majority of this flight. 

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A post shared by Charlotte Gray (@charlotte.upandaway)

I feel excited 

More than anything else though – I do feel excited. Looking out at the actual rain coming down on the airport tarmac, I am shimmying in my seat in anticipation of getting to the sunshine that I have been so desperately missing. 

So in answer to the question, ‘How am I feeling?’ At this moment in time, I’m feeling literally all the things! 

Charlotte Gray
Charlotte Gray

Thanks for spending some time Up and Away with me!

I’m writing here to keep track of not only my travels to new places, but also my daily journeys through learning, loving and life.

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