Embarking on a journey with 200 strangers, you’re traveling at speeds you’d get arrested for if you were on a public road. You marvel at the towns below as you ascend and they shrink until they disappear.
You have a childlike excitement in your eyes and may be the only passenger on the plane that’s still fixated on the scene outside the window: clouds so close you could touch them, illuminated by brilliant sunshine. It may be part of your routine, but you still feel a sense of awe whenever you’re on an airplane and you’re glad to be alive during an age in which you get to enjoy it.
Later on during that same flight, you watch as a man rows ahead of you writes lines of code on his laptop. You watch a film over another man’s shoulder on the screen in front of him because your own screen is just too close for comfort. You don’t mind being unable to hear the audio because this is just a prelude to you zoning out to reflect. Life is so busy, and this is one of the few times that you’re at peace with doing literally nothing.
Your eyes drift again and you notice another person with a laptop doing what seems to be some kind of report. Your own laptop remains stowed away in your carry-on in the overhead compartment. Feelings of guilt try to creep in remind you that this is a great time for uninterrupted productivity.
You’re aware that the passenger next to you hasn’t gotten up so much as to use the restroom in the past seven hours. After observing them drink multiple beverages including tea and wine you wonder how it’s possible, and you think ‘Let’s not make it difficult for them should they need to exit the row in a hurry.’ You’re in an aisle seat, your laptop is a little bulky, and there’s a book you still haven’t finished sitting on your lap. ‘Reading is productive, too,’ you think, and you relax.
You used to dread the idea of traveling solo on long flights. Now, it’s second nature and you move through airport terminals without apprehension. You sit at gates for hours waiting to board connections and don’t feel bored or anxious. By contrast, no matter how many times you do it, every time you board a flight you feel excited. Knowing you won’t land for 10 hours or more doesn’t seem so bad and you’re excited about how the world now seems pleasantly smaller. Earlier in the day, you were in the Orient and before it ends you’ll be in the Americas. No place on the planet you dream of is out of reach.
It doesn’t matter that you’ll do it again in a week; if you were asked to do it again within 24 hours, you would. Maybe it’s because it’s your livelihood, maybe it’s something else, but it makes you feel alive.