10 Things You Should Try Before You Fly

There’s nothing that opens up my soul more than floating above the clouds in a large metal bird with strangers. In all my 24 years, I still have yet to accept the finite facts surrounding physics, gravity and the reality that a large hunk of steel can transport humans through the sky to another time zone. It’s mystical to me – which is why I prefer to entertain these enlightened thoughts that come from analyzing this inconceivable experience.

We wait in numerous lines, are herded like cattle, shuffled through a wind tunnel, have our personal belongings fingered through, and then sit on a sticky chair – wondering who else had their sweaty ass here not too long ago. An agitated voice of a woman comes over the loud speaker, and you check the screen, double check your boarding pass, triple check the screen, and then smile with the excitement of a 10-year-old at the entrance of Six Flags over Texas. You stand in another line and then finally, you board the plane to sit on yet another questionable, and quite uncomfortable, chair.

Glances and smirks with other passengers are always exchanged but no one – that I have ever met – chooses air-bus as their primary way to get out of the house, socialize, and deeply connect to other human beings. Though all of our lives are colliding at this moment – seeing as how we are all traveling to the same place – it tickles* my curiosity at how we all can still be so deeply rooted in our own constrained realities. (*For clarification, I’m not speaking of the kind of tickling that makes you laugh so hard that you pee your pants. Rather, the type of tickling that is slow, sensual, heightens your existence, and forces you to be completely present and fully aware.)

My usual Dramamine-high keeps me from reading, writing, or being productive in any way but right before I pass out and slobber on my cabin neighbor, I always seem to have the most philosophical, inspirational, and transcendent thoughts. Today I forgot the nausea suppressor however, and I can only cross my fingers and hope to the plane-gods that my motion sickness does not cause me to upchuck my graham-cracker and coffee breakfast on my stranger’s shoe.

Per the usual, after the mini anxiety attack that caused me to secrete moisture from areas of my body that I didn’t know could perspire, I ceremoniously said ‘fuck it’ to the inevitable turbulence of take off, took a deep breath, prayed to God, ran through my list of what I am thankful for, and now I stare out of the belly of the metal bird while imagining myself dancing on top of the clouds.

I cannot remember the last time I did not sleep through the entirety of a plane ride. It’s glorious! Eavesdropping on the conversations that surround me. Smiling at how the earth looks like the work of a magnificently talented quilter; I want so badly to just reach out towards the ground, grab it and wrap it around me. As for these oversized suspended cotton balls called ‘clouds’, all I want to do is taste one.

image - Blue Pylons
image – Blue Pylons

10 Things I Challenge You (And Myself) To Do On Your Next Airbus Ride:

  1. Strike up a conversation with someone that wouldn’t normally interest you at first glance.
  2. While waiting at your gate, give your neighboring stranger a genuine compliment.
  3. At the gate or in the belly of the bird, share one of your life goal’s with a stranger and see what advice they may have.
  4. Ask your cabin neighbor what they do for a living and be genuinely interested in their response; there’s nothing more that we humans love than to be asked about our overall well-being.
  5. If you see someone with a book, recommend one that inspired you/changed your perspective; see if they have a recommendation for you!
  6. At the bar, during your layover, buy someone a drink without hitting on them.
  7. Look at people in the eyes as you pass them (instead of staring at the ground!) and share that beautiful smile of yours!! It will warm their hearts and maybe even encourage them to pass it on!
  8. Traveling can be stressful for most people; offer to help someone put their luggage in the overhead bin. Or, offer to trade seats with someone if you see two people wanting to sit together.
  9. As you go through your airport-to-gate-to-plane routine, don’t hesitate to eavesdrop on conversations and see what others have to say that may be applicable to your life-adventure. Journal these thoughts when you get to your gate or on the plane!
  10. Experiment: Attempt to see people as they really are; spiritual beings in physical bodies. People have so much more to offer us when we choose to view them as humans and as reflections of ourselves, rather than “people in our way”.

Happy Travels! Thought Catalog Logo Mark

More From Thought Catalog