An Ode to Airplanes
As much as I relish in the energy the body absorbs from dance, yoga, long walks, and good stretches, there is one particular physical experience that quite literally rises above all others.
I will never get tired of the feeling I get when taking off in an airplane.
Rolling slowly away from the gate, moseying around the maze of concrete
until the plane turns its nose towards the expectant runway.
An unassuming ding signals the flight attendants to take their places.
A calm, steady pause,
like a soft inhale,
just before the engines fire. We pick up speed, everything roars in your ears.
I always hold my breath until I feel that gravity-defying dip of my body dropping away as the plane levitates up and up.
My heart races, pressure pushes in on the sides of my head because, really, this is not a natural state for us.
In the air.
But when I was little my dream was to be Peter Pan and this, as of now, is the closest I will get to flying.
The existential thrill. We, all of us humans on this plane, are in this together.
And yet as I watch the ground shrinking below, I feel blissfully alone, above the world.
Body and spirit torn away from one place and shuttled with insane speed to another. Who could have imagined this possibility 300 years ago?
Thousands of planes take off every day, but I still choose to believe that it is magic.
I know it’s an experience that terrifies a lot of people, that stomach-dropping, head-floating sensation and the general fear around being that high up in the air with no where to go, but I don’t think I can ever get enough. At one point in my life, I lived for that feeling. During my 9 months traveling around Europe via budget airlines and the occasional bus, I swear the moments in transit were just as exhilarating as discovering new cities.
The Art of Travel by Alain de Botton is a book that eloquently explains so many feelings I have had during my own expeditions. On the subject of take-off, he poetically writes,
“…the swiftness of the plane’s ascent is an exemplary symbol of transformation. The display of power can inspire us to imagine analogous, decisive shifts in our own lives, to imagine that we, too, might one day surge above much that now looms over us.”
Any experience, when repeated so many times, can become banal and ordinary, but somehow I doubt- I hope- that this particular one always keeps its thrill for me.
All of this is really a long way of announcing that I am in fact traveling tomorrow, and am seriously looking forward to that exciting moment of taking off from Tangier and landing in London for the weekend, followed by Stockholm for several days, then all the way back south to Marrakech before languidly trekking back up to Tangier. Two weeks of travel and exploration, hopping from rain to snow to sun. I am so excited. This feeling never gets old.
Being slightly obsessed with researching what to do in each place I visit (well, I should say what to eat), I have already bookmarked a handful of new places in London to check out and an overwhelming amount of cute corners in Stockholm. Marrakech will involve a little bit more "winging-it" since it was kind of a last-minute addition to the travel plan. Even considering all of this, if any of you reading here have been to one or more of these cities and have recommendations of places to see, eat, walk, shop, whatever, please do share with me!
Also, while I am away for the next two weeks, I decided that I will be taking a little hiatus from blogging. I want to let myself fully soak up each city, refresh all of my senses and come back to you a newly inspired writer- rosy and full. In the meantime, you can follow along with my journey through Instagram where I am sure to be sharing my adventures every so often.
Until the return!