As I sit on the plane, surrounded by the hum of the engine and the chill of the window, I can’t help but notice the person in front of me repeatedly adjusting their seat, each movement a grating assault on my laptop screen. The journey back to Portland, high above the clouds, prompts reflections on the comforts of home and the complexities of travel.
The monotony of the clouds outside my window is interrupted only by the occasional switch of my reading light, prompting a fleeting concern about its impact on my fellow passengers. The aircraft’s tracker places us somewhere above North Dakota, with the anticipation of returning home after a week away.
Absence from my family brings mixed emotions. While I miss the warmth of their hugs, the physical distance provides a respite from the daily chaos and interruptions that come with shared space. The yearning for home is accompanied by a longing for the familiar, the routine, and the control over meals.
In the solitude of the plane, I reflect on the unexpected challenges of being a plus-sized traveler, from the embarrassment of needing a seatbelt extender to the subtle nuances of navigating cramped lavatories. The desire for a world where such concerns are obsolete lingers as I observe the predominantly electronic activity around me.
Flying, with its exhilarating takeoff and the marvel of soaring above 10,000 feet, remains a source of joy. The anticipation of landing, with the unmistakable downshift of the engine and the controlled descent, adds a different thrill. The speed and force of the landing, a contrast to the graceful ascent, mark the end of the journey and the beginning of the familiar wait for baggage.
As I disembark, the awe of air travel lingers—a testament to the incredible capability of planes to traverse vast distances. The advice to keep fountain pens full serves as a whimsical reminder of the practicalities amidst the marvel of modern aviation.
(I drafted these thoughts in the last year as I started traveling for work.)