The grounded feeling of flying

I love flying.

There is nothing quite like being thousands of feet in the air, looking out the window and not being able to see anything within my reach, except for the wings of the plane. I love passing through clouds and watching, amazed as they disappear around me. Even being stuck for 1 or more hours with at least 100 strangers doesn’t faze me. I enjoy listening to how people react to certain situations in a confined area, as they seem to forget that they won’t be up there forever, that the ground will be beneath us in a matter of time.

Usually it’s children that cause stress for many on planes. But we shouldn’t always blame the children! There is an abundance of people who fly regularly, and many of them may come across as rude, but the flight attendants always smile and respond as positively as possible. There are also the drunk people – who may have enjoyed a few too many beverages before getting on board and end up having a loud conversation with their new friend sitting next to them. There may even be an exchange of phone numbers because some sort of relationship has been established – whether it’s business or personal.

I am happy to keep to myself on planes – as I said, I like to watch and listen to the people around me. If a passenger next to me strikes up a conversation of course I engage but I also understand that it is just friendly chit chat because they have nothing else to do, and want to seem interested in whatever the person next to them has been up to, or brag about what they’ve been doing, so that they are at least occupied for part of the flight.

It is a good way to meet people, if that’s what you want. I remember years ago when I was coming back from a solo trip to Europe. It had been a full-on holiday, on a Contiki tour with a bunch of other keen young adults, ready to explore. I had also spent some time with my mum’s cousin in Holland, which was lovely. Despite a great trip, I was looking forward to unwinding with a wine or two on the plane before arriving home to see my boyfriend. Luckily for me, I was sitting next to a lady who was also enjoying a beverage and was keen for a chat. We talked about our time overseas and our lives in Melbourne. At the end of the flight we said our goodbyes and never saw each other again.

A time to reflect

I don’t mind it being just me and my own company either.

I find that my mind is clear when I am in the air, and I know exactly what I want and how to achieve it. It’s a good time to reflect on life, and hear nothing but music in my ears, or the sounds of a plane full of people. I think about family, friends travel, work – you name it, it will most likely cross my mind as I sit up there in the clouds.

I always try to get a window seat, especially if I am going somewhere I have never been. I like watching the horizon, as the plane lowers to the ground, and seeing buildings and/or clumps of greenery and water beneath me. Apparently, this choice of seat means I’m selfish but hey, I know what I like. If the window seat isn’t available, I make do.

When I step off the plane, I am sad that this time of reflection is over, but excited at whatever awaits me. Being on a plane adds an aspect to travel that doesn’t happen anywhere else. It is crazy to think that when I am in the air, I somehow manage to feel so grounded.

The hours, sometimes days that follow hold a refreshing memory of that feeling – the feeling of complete possibility, of never-ending opportunity.

Although I have nothing planned, I am looking forward to my next flight already, wherever that may be to and whatever I may be thinking about at that point in time.

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