It is Thursday evening, April 20, 2017, as I sit at my laptop and click away at this post. I’m in an airport, wrapping up a quick three day business trip, and waiting for my flight to board. I have a long wait ahead of me as it’s been delayed over two hours. So if this post rambles on and on a while, it’s not my fault.
First up, a confession. I don’t like to travel. There, I said it. This probably puts me in a tiny minority of humanity. Over the years I’ve gathered that it’s a Big Deal for a lot of people. They dream about them, plan for them, take them, and then talk about them long afterwards. There’s a seventy bajillion dollar industry built up around it. Clearly, there are people who live for this stuff.
Not me. The way I look at it is: I have a house. I dreamed about it, planned for it, bought it, and plan to stay in it for a while. It’s got food and running water and it’s where I keep all my cool stuff. Why would I want to leave that? For me, travel just brings discomfort. I have to leave all my cool stuff behind. I have to go outside and bump into other people. Sometimes I feel sick, sometimes it triggers anxiety, it’s almost always inconvenient. And the worst part? I have to pay for all that.
However, every once in a rare while, I don’t feel sick or anxious or put out and everything seems to just come together. My best flight ever took place back in 2010. Here’s what happened.
First, it was a stormy day. Everybody who knows me knows I love storms and dark clouds and rain and lightning and all that. Well, when I boarded the plane, a good ol’ storm was a-brewin’. It was enough to keep the plane at the gate for maybe an extra half hour or more. While I’d normally be inclined to grumble at the delay, this was just fine.
Second, the plane was completely full. That’s what they said at the gate. That’s what they said boarding the plane itself. But when I got to my row, it was completely empty. Huh. So I took my seat and watched as people filed in. Sooner or later someone would sit next to me, right? You know, full flight and all. But eventually every single passenger sat, the crew closed the doors and there sat I, in a completely packed plane: all alone in a row to myself.
Third, it was a stormy day. Yes, I realize “stormy day” was the First Thing, but it got even better after we went wheels up. The plane left the ground and headed towards those big, dark clouds I’d been eyeing for a good long while now. I assumed that we’d soon be engulfed in a sea of formless grey, windows quickly blocked with nothing to see. But as we climbed into the towering, monstrous forms, colored in every shade of dark you could imagine, the clouds steered clear of the aircraft, almost parting with a respective bow to let us pass. It was an amazing view in what felt like the eye of the storm.
Lastly, I had one of my manuscripts-in-progress with me. I spread everything out: laptop, notes, a whole seat just for my snacks and drinks, while the rest of the passengers sat elbow to elbow for the whole flight.
Man, if I could somehow work it so every flight was like this, I might just leave all my cool stuff behind more often.