In the past year, I’ve taken more trips that involve air travel than any other time in my life. And it’s been one of the best parts of my life since graduating. Here’s what I’ve been geeking out over:
1. Someone waiting for you: Now, I’m not really talking about those types of trips where you don’t even see the city because you’re in business meetings all day. I’m talking about you’re-flying-to-see-your-best-friend trips. The kind where you sit on the plane and think, “I’m rocketing through the sky toward a REUNION!” I get extra-excited about seeing my people. Because I’m gonna get off that plane and run toward a best friend hug. One of the loveliest things I’ve ever seen/felt/experienced is that tiny moment of seeing the person you’ve been missing when you get to wherever you’re reuniting. How incredible they are, in all their my-person-is-here-with-me glory! Margaret Atwood said, “Farewells can be shattering, but returns are surely worse. Solid flesh can never live up to the bright shadow cast by its absence. Time and distance blur the edges; then suddenly the beloved has arrived, and it’s noon with its merciless light, and every spot and pore and wrinkle and bristle stands clear.” Isn’t that just it? It’s noon with its merciless light. Wow.
2. Feeling older: I’m 23 and flying makes me feel like I know what’s going on with things. Like, “Oh, yes, TSA guy, here’s my ID and bag full of tiny cosmetics because I CAME PREPARED.”
3. Treating yourself: I almost always buy a book or magazine in the airport. And it’s always a non-serious indulgence (example: On the way to AWP in Boston last March, I bought Mindy Kaling’s “Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? And Other Concerns.” And it was delightful.). And I never say no to a Diet Coke, in the airport or on the plane (okay, also in general). Perhaps this is the kind of wild living that contributes to the I-feel-gross-post-air-travel feeling we all get.
4. Snacks on the plane: This sort of resembles “snakes on a plane,” which I would not love. But snacks on a plane? Yes please. I love pretzels and Diet Coke more when I am on a plane than any other time. They brought those Cokes SO HIGH UP.
5. Social media-ing it: Who doesn’t love (to hate) those over-the-wing Instagrams? I mean, there are air travel emojis for a reason, y’all. I love tweeting things I see in the airport. And things I’m thinking about while I’m in the airport. And just reading tweets while people are whooshing about me in the airport. It feels like, “Yes, I am in the world.”
6. Walking with a bag: I love over-the-shoulder bags. I love having my hands free to swing by my sides (I mean, hold my phone and read tweets while I walk). I love packing a bunch of books and walking around with them. Okay, I can’t really explain why I like walking with a bag. People have their things, and this is one of my things.
I think mostly I just love the movement of travel: how it means that I live in one place that is full of its own joys, but have also lived in other places that gave me an idea of the world’s sweetnesses in the first place – and that I can return to them.