Mar 29 2012

The Joys of Flying

Sarcasm? Not at all.

You could probably say I travel more than the average person (although, honestly, not as much as I’d like to). One summer not too long ago, I was home only two weekends from the beginning of May to the end of August. I’ve had my luggage lost. I’ve sat by my share of crying kids. I’ve missed connections and encountered customer service agents with no concept of service. I’ve certainly experienced the hassles and inconveniences that plague modern air travel, but I’ve realized that, despite them all, I actually look forward to flying.

In the quest to balance work, grad school, freelance assignments, and the rest of my life, time has become the one thing I continually crave. Sure, it’s not always easy to get comfortable in a 17-by-32-inch space, but when else do I have the freedom to delve into a book for more than an hour at a time? When else do I have permission to people watch without guilt or the license to become completely lost in thought? When else am I actually required to turn off my iPhone and take a break from the neverending flood of emails and the constant current of social media?

I have a love of long-form journalism, and while waiting for a recent flight to Indianapolis, I sat in the airport and finished an article I had been digesting in small bites over the past week as I ate my morning cereal or bounced along on the Metro into D.C. It was wonderful to reach the end in one sitting. Then, on the plane, I became engrossed in A Year in Provence, a book I’d been trying to dive into for an entire month but hadn’t been able to concentrate on for more than two pages at a time. I ordered a glass of wine and lost myself in descriptions of life in rural France. When we landed, I felt refreshed.

Unencumbered by the real world on the ground, the time in transit can be a mini escape. And that’s where I find joy in flying.