5 flights down, 2 to go

Traveling can do strange things to my mind.

Somehow, I’m more cognizant of the length of my fingernails.

Right now, I’m sizing up every person around my plane and assigning the roles that each person will play in the event of a crash.

The two Army sergeants in front of me will be operating the emergency exit doors, which I find morbidly comforting.

There isn’t a second of the flight that I don’t think about it going down in flames.

At the same time, I dote on sappy music and think about how wonderful my life has been, just in case any of the equipment on this tin can falters and we do succumb to my darkest nightmare scenario.

The feeling of “being on the road” has a curious effect on me. Especially alone. Though I find it hard to pinpoint where exactly these emotions come from, I am stirred by the constant forward motion and find beauty in the funniest details. At times, my excitement to connect to each person I meet dwindles as travel times are delayed at every airport. Yet, my faith is always restored on the following flight where I’ll meet a 50-something who’ll tell me about all his life philosophies, and I find him so endearing and think “You know what, sir? You’re doing it right!”

I am ultra mindful of how many clocks are in my hotel rooms, since my cell phone can’t keep track of what time zone I’m in (a flaw that has made things difficult without a watch in my suitcase).

In one day, I go from feeling completely overwhelmed by my career, to feeling a desperate loneliness that I convince myself a hotel bar drink will fix. It doesn’t, and the groggy/time change/post-turbulence nausea sets in after a long day.

When I’m in the air, I calculate every step of my life that led me to this moment. While in a hotel room, alone, I calculate what all my next steps might be.

I constantly keep the book I’m reading in the seat pocket in front of me, yet I never manage to read it. It’s just comforting to know it’s there. 

Today I’ve stepped off in three cities. From thousands of feet up, they all look the same.

Though I’ve been in the air for many years of my life (child of divorce), I am still completely enamored with seeing the vastness of the ground from above.

I feel tiny up here.

I feel like starting a blog called “Thank You, Pilots!” where I would glorify every single pilot that walks this earth, and profusely thank them for not killing me each time our wheels hit asphalt and smoke emerges from the rubber tires.

I find comfort in the smallest things on the road. Conditioner is one of them. It’s amazing how much difference conditioner can make after using a hotel’s shampoo.

All of this feels overwhelming. I’m constantly reminded that there is so much more to see, and I wonder how much time I have left navigating this globe.

Travel, for me, has a way of bringing all of life to a head.

Bucket lists resurface. Ambitions are recalculated. Distractions reassessed. Anxiety reigns supreme.

Mostly, my respect grows exponentially for those who do this more than I do.

It’s a daunting place to be – constantly on the move.

I miss being “home” – wherever that is…and I’m trying to do my best to make each little nook of my hotel room(s) feel like more than just a place to rest my head.

5 flights down, 2 more to go.