First comes the anticipation. The countdown to the trip, the waiting for the day to arrive. Then there is the night before, frantically trying to mentally calculate if I have in fact packed everything I could possibly need forgetting that even if I do forget my toothbrush I can of course very easily just buy a new one…
I don’t like the waiting. I generally pick an early flight. Mostly because that means cheaper prices, but it also means that you can just wake up and go. The waiting around until it’s time to leave, I just don’t like it. I pace, I feel anxious and I cannot just sit down and relax.
Once I get to the airport, I can breathe again. Each step brings more of a calm. Of course security is frustrating and my anxiety spikes again a little as I am trying to unpack my laptop while wondering if this time I will have to take my boots off because I did once, but not another time. And then I forget to take my bangle off which sets off the metal detector so I have to go through again, holding up the people behind me.
There is something about those long corridors, the sterile, bright interior that I find brings me back to earth and makes me feel grounded. Of course the real pleasure will come when I step into the plane, but for now I can take a seat, pick up my book and pretend to read while I really just people watch.
People are very interesting and there is no denying that most of us enjoy the simple pleasure of watching others. I think airports are one of the best places for it. Everyone is there for a different reason. A different journey. They might be visiting friends or families, they might be taking off for long term travel. They might be about to be reunited with someone they love, or even to get a final chance to say goodbye. They may travel all the time or have saved every dollar they could to get this opportunity to experience a place different than the one they have always known.
I find myself thinking about what lead people to this exact moment, what they are saying goodbye to and what they are about to experience. It is the ultimate place of transition.
When the announcer says it’s time, we enter the plane. I still don’t quite understand what the rush is as seats have already been assigned. Maybe people are just trying to sneak on oversized baggage?
I feel most comfortable in the window seat. I used to think everyone was like that, like it was a stupid question as how could you not want the window seat? I get it now, people like different things, and maybe not everyone likes to have their faces pressed up against the glass as this amazing machine glides over oceans and across landscapes that change so rapidly. From my window seat I have experienced the sun rise and set from above the clouds shooting the most vibrant colours making me feel as though I was the first person in the world to experience it. And when it is dark I can rest my head on the side and fall asleep.
Not all flights are perfect. Some are rough, the turbulence reminds me that I get severe motion sickness and I struggle. But even then my mind doesn’t think of the other thousand thoughts that usually occupy my brain. Things are simpler.
The anticipation is gone, the journey has begun. There are so many expectations but there is nothing you can do in that moment but sit. It forces you to allow yourself the time. Time to rest, to read, or to binge watch movie after movie. When do you allow yourself to do that in real life?
Many people have a fear of flying, but for me flying forces you to block out the world below. It makes you disconnect. And for that reason, I love it.
On Saturday the 9th of December I take off to Europe for Christmas. It will be my second time, this time visiting Germany & Switzerland. It has been a long time in planning and I cannot wait. The flight has a short connection in Changi, Singapore making it a pretty solid 24 hours of flying. I hope to catch up on my reading challenge, get the equivalent of a good night’s sleep, and maybe watch a movie or two. It will be a much needed rest to wind down after finishing work and to prepare for a month of travel.
Be sure to check my Instagram stories as I share bits and pieces from the trip!