PR1815 bound for Davao City — (12:25 nn) I am tens of thousands of feet above ground as I write this. The flight has been turbulent despite the good weather (Yes Mr. pilot, this is a shout out to you) but I don’t mind. Here, above cumulus clouds and blue waters, I am at peace.
Usually, when I ride an airplane, I brace myself for a crash. It’s because I believe that the more I travel, the higher the probability that I will figure in an accident. I am like that when I ride almost all forms of transportation (except trains, which are my favorite). I am fatalistic and I consider death an inevitability. But I digress.
Fun Fact: According to this article from the Economist, there is now an iPhone app called “Am I Going Down? Fear of Flying App” And it tells you that if you are flying from Heathrow to JFK on a Virgin Atlantic Airbus A330, there is a 1 in 5.4 million chance that you would crash. This is likely to happen if you flew on the same flight every day for 14,716 years.
Today, despite the rough flight, I feel uncharacteristically cheerful. I just realized that I love flying.
I know. I know. A couple of weeks ago I was ranting on Facebook about how tired I am from all the traveling. But forget the packing (and the laundry!), the traffic, the inconvenient taxi rides to the airport, the long lines at NAIA and the delayed flights due to congestion in Manila. Flying or riding an airplane, come to think of it, is one of the most glorious experiences in my life. Here’s why:
- No communication — When you’re a journalist who is on call 24/7, a couple of hours without internet or communication with the outside world sounds enticing. Fire broke out in Makati? The President called for an emergency public announcement? You won’t receive any of those alerts and you’re not obligated to write news about it. Being on a plane, for me, is a welcome moment of silence.
- No distractions — Some people like to sleep or read a book while waiting to get to their destination. Sometimes I take the opportunity to work. Without the distractions posed by social media and people bugging me about work, I am able to concentrate on writing or reading or even editing video material (yes, I’ve done that before).
- Time to mull over things — When I was younger, I enjoyed being alone. It allowed me to listen to the voice(s) in my head. Riding a plane, unless you’re seated beside a friend, is a chance for introspection. (Like just a while ago I realized that I needed to blog again.)
- Opportunity to read — Being on a plane gives me the opportunity to read the inflight magazine from cover to cover and finally finish that book I bought from Kinokuniya months ago.
- Clouds! (see photo above) — You’ve heard about that actress who got into a fight with a model over an airplane seat? She might have anger issues but I would have to agree that clouds are a sight for sore eyes. I have hundreds of cloud photos taken from the window seat of a plane. A couple of them are magnificent. Nothing beats waking up from a nap and seeing an ocean of cheerful clouds below you. You also get to have an unobstructed view of a golden or pinkish sky during sunrise or sunset.
- Inflight entertainment — This does not apply to local flights. But yeah, it’s great to be in a long-haul flight with a good selection of films and TV shows. Not only am I able to finish films I didn’t get to watch a few months back, I also get to check-out TV series that might interest me.
- Fastest way to travel — They say it’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey (or something like that). But for busy people like me, the fastest way to travel is still the best option. Who would have thought hundreds of years ago that people will find a way to fly and reach faraway islands in just an hour or so? Amazing, isn’t it?
(Follow or bookmark my blog for more stories on my travels and work as reporter-at-large for INQUIRER.net. I promise to write more entries in the coming weeks! Right now, we are just 30 minutes away from Davao City where I will give a workshop on mobile journalism/mobile videos. Interested in my workshops? Contact me here.)