Graeme Murphy's Foolproof Packing Plan


Forget dressing up on the plane for waiting photographers. These days, the Australian choreographer prefers to chill out in trackies.

How do you pass the time on a flight?

I love classical music. It not only relaxes me but also inspires me. I usually have my fabulous companion, Janet [Vernon, Murphy’s wife], with me. She’s doing a crossword; I’m playing Words with Friends on my phone. A long-haul flight is one of the few times I get the chance to read an entire book, too. 

What was the last book you read?

It was a Richard Flanagan novel but not a new one. I often buy a book at the airport and take pot luck. Sometimes it’s not so successful but other times it’s fabulous.

How has flying changed for you over the years?

In the days when I was touring with The Australian Ballet or Sydney Dance Company, you were often photographed on the runway or stairway and had to dress to the nines. Reporters expected you to do a shoulder lift or something spectacular after you’d been on a plane for hours! The nice thing now is that flying feels much more casual and you can use it as chill time.

What do you wear on the plane these days?

Semi-smart trackies. I like comfort. I wear enough suits so I prefer to take it down a notch when I fly. 

Do you have any other flying preferences?

Janet and I often sit across the aisle from each other because we like a quick getaway.

Do you always travel together?

Always. We met at The Australian Ballet School in 1966 and we’ve worked together all these years. Travel is a lot easier when you have someone to talk to and Janet is more organised with it, which means I can be a bit more random.

So she does the prep and you just have to show up?

I have to confess, that is the truth. We’re a good team. 

What’s your packing plan?

I try to book late flights because if I pack that morning, I only throw in the bare essentials. If I pack in advance, I always take far too much. The worst thing is coming home and realising you didn’t wear 90 per cent of the items in your suitcase.

How do you spend your time waiting in the terminal?

I’m not a big shopper but I always shop at the airport. Sometimes what was a half-empty bag is straining by the time I get on board.

What’s your best advice for flying?

Use the time creatively. I love the fact that you’re forced to be static. Time out of the studio, out of the theatre, is absolute gold for getting your thoughts in order. 

Top image: Lynette Wills

SEE ALSO: Travelling with Ian Thorpe

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