View of the Yorkshire Moors from my plane window.
I wish I could describe the sense of peace travelling solo provides me with nowadays; notebook in hand, maybe a gin & tonic/glass of red wine if I’m feeling fancy. It’s not glamorous by any means as I'm never flying business or first class - my flight back to the UK from Amsterdam on Monday involved a vomiting child and minimal leg room. I was graced with a window seat though which made up for the lingering smell of stale sick and disinfectant. Despite the negatives, there’s something comforting about being alone with just your thoughts for company, flying across the planet at ridiculous speeds. Air travel is a wonderful feat in itself.
I’ve narrowed down my love of flying to one central point - it’s the anonymity it grants me. I am wearing a camel coloured coat and toting around quite the hazard in the form of a wheeled suitcase, but you, you have no idea who I am. It’s freeing. Airports grant us the opportunity to be surrounded by a large section of the general public going here, there and everywhere. Much like train stations, with the added glamour of clear plastic travel bags and temperamental passport e-checks. The departure and arrival screens show flights to Abuja, Moscow, Manila and Chicago to name but a few far-flung destinations. I’m queueing up at airport security next to a woman who asks if I’m going to Africa, because she is and isn’t it wonderful to finally be going home? Don't get me wrong, I don't want to make my airport experience seem awfully quaint - I ended up running across Schiphol to find out the flight hadn't started to board yet, and the rushed goodbye at the train station 34 minutes earlier (so precise) wasn’t entirely necessary. Goodbyes are never good for me however so maybe it was for the best.
Maybe this is an ode to new places, as well as the actual notion of travelling. I have seen the Yorkshire Moors look almost post-apocalyptic, the Sahara Desert and its apparent ‘nothingness’ and the somewhat calming vastness of the Atlantic Ocean at night. Views and perspectives I would never get to appreciate on the ground are suddenly right in front of me. It doesn't matter that I'll probably be able to qualify for frequent flier air-miles soon - I still look out of the window with the wonder and amazement of a 7 year old child. For me, the art of travel is pretty addictive. And I quite like it that way.