One of the greatest benefits to being a freelance writer is the perceived freedom to do whatever, whenever, wherever. Since I’m just starting out, I work more hours as a freelancer than I would in a typical nine-to-five, salaried job, but I am continually inspired by my reality: I can stay in bed all day if I want to.
I don’t want to – because I’m so excited to work – but it’s the principal. If I wanted to, I could.
That’s not what this is about though. Moral of the story, my schedule is flexible. Flexibility means more opportunity to travel. And if I’m lucky, that includes flying. One of my very favorite activities.
I’m probably in the minority on this one. But I seriously love everything about flying. Let’s start from the top.
Karma is a real thing. And my karma is like a hulkified good angel. Like actually. The one time I don’t follow the recommendation, I’ll be stressed, sweaty, and full of regret. That’s why I arrive 2 hours early for domestic flights and have spent significant time at airport gates.
I frequently get through security 15 minutes after I step foot in the airport and literally roll my eyes at myself. But alas, it’s not a risk I’m willing to take.
One of the best decisions you can make as a flier is to not check luggage. C’mon people. How many shirts do you need? Unless you’re making a cross-country move, throw some plain Jane outfits in a carry-on; put your valuables, liquids, and laptop in a backpack; and thank me a thousand times over.
Seriously though, use a backpack. Stop trying to be cool with your Adidas duffel or oversized Kate Spade – it’s not worth it. Back problems aren’t funny. Plus, a backpack leaves you hands-free, ready to take on your travels. And it simplifies the chaos. Trust me.
While many people think airports are jungles, I enjoy them. People-watching is primo. Kids roll around on suitcases. Dogs sit quietly in bags. Pilots and flight attendants rush to their next planes. People reunite near baggage claim. It’s good stuff.
But one of my absolute favorite things about flying is good ole airport relationships. Love ’em.
They’re such an anomaly. My nonpickup pickup line is, “Are you headed home, or somewhere new?” If they say, “Home.” (and don’t reciprocate the question), I know where I stand, but most of the time they’re excited to talk. I’ve had great conversations at 35,000 feet.
I want an update on all the people I’ve met.
How’s studying abroad in Paris? How’s military life in South Carolina? How’s your rescued pitbull – who had its own seat on the plane – doing?
These relationships are cool. While they rarely extend beyond the flight, they’re an opportunity to talk with someone I’d never otherwise meet.
How wasteful to not say hello.
When I’m not chatting up my neighbors, I’m staring out the window. Give me dat window seat. Mountains. Sunsets. Deep thoughts like, “What is life?”, “What is my purpose?”, “We are so small.”
The view out an airplane window is amazing. It doesn’t get old. And best of all? Star gazing. In the past few months, the big dipper has been right outside my plane window. Take that image in and never forget it. I hope you have the chance to see it someday.
Last but not least, I’d be amiss to not include Auntie Anne’s pretzels (sans the cheese sauce they don’t warm up). Flying is the only time I get these delicious salty bites. But the cheese sauce. Get it together Auntie Anne. Cold cheese is for the birds.
P.S. I eat it anyway because cold cheese is better than no cheese.
Cheers. Go enjoy your flight.
I hope you experience how beautiful it is.