I love to travel for fun, but I also used to travel for business a lot – one year I traveled over 250,000 miles, which was kind of great for me, as I got 3 free trips to Europe out of it. At one point I was flying to New York almost every week, and had the SNA to JFK thing down pat. I routinely got upgraded, back when that actually meant something, and I can tell you that the American Airlines Thursday night meal from JFK was steak with really good potatoes and then a hot fudge sundae. Combined with 3 free glasses of red wine, I was usually asleep somewhere over the middle of the country and was pretty happy by the time I got home. Air travel is obviously very different now, and American Airlines is ridiculously different (the planes are uncomfortable, and I have not encountered a non-angry AA employee in years), but I still don’t mind it very much.
I have friends and family who do not like to fly, and some who are afraid of it, and I do understand the downside – you know, crashing into the side of a mountain and burning to a crisp. But flying for me is actually peaceful; I enjoy the fact that I CAN’T do anything else for some period of time. I’m not a very calm person most of the time. I need to structure my time and make lists in order to feel in control of my life, which is pretty important to me, however false the feeling of control is.
When I’m on an airplane I can’t do anything else – I can’t think of 20 things that would be a better use of my time than reading or watching a movie, I’m forced to relax. While I shouldn’t need to be 30,000 feet in the air for this, it’s just how I’m wired. As you can imagine, I’m violently against the rising trend in wifi on airplanes. I can even nap – do you know that people actually nap in this world NOT on a plane? I could no sooner nap during the day than I could whip up a thermonuclear bomb in my guest bathroom. I can barely sleep at night – when it’s okay to sleep. Barely! Even then I sometimes wake up wondering what else I could have accomplished with that time.
Lately I am battling a depression that seems determined to make it a fight. This is a three day weekend, which can throw me into a spiral for a number of reasons. Determined to not have unstructured time, I scheduled at least 2 events a day and as a result I am pretty much exhausted going into a workweek. The plan to distract myself so much that I would not have time to think – about last year or the year before and how happy I was – was fairly ridiculous, and somehow the darkness still found me at the gym, at the winery, sailing on the ocean, alone and with friends. It helps to look forward, but I am really trying to find some peace in the present.