Well I’m off. I’ve been fighting off a lot of pre-travel anxiety the past 24 hours or so, but I’m proud about how I’ve handled it so far and hopeful for all of my adventure. Right now, I’m sitting on the plane, after taking off about 30 minutes ago. I’m in for a long flight, which is never something I enjoy. I get very bored and antsy but I plan to do some writing and reading to pass the time.
I woke up very early today, even for me. I was too anxious just lying there in bed, so I went downstairs around 3:00am to meditate on the rug next to Comet and do a little work before leaving the house around 5:00am. I had to fight back tears when Ben hugged me in our driveway before we even left for the airport. I savored every minute of the drive to the airport together and felt surprisingly relaxed. I used to have a massive phobia of flying, so much so that I’d find myself driven into a panic attack at takeoff. I have memories of airplane trips with my college track team where I’d bury my face in the lap of teammates as I melted into a hot fury of tears, tight muscles, and grasps at their sleeves. This morning’s takeoff was nothing like that. I’ve trained myself to remain relatively calm and breathe through the stress as we build speed on the runway. As I simply read on my phone, I noted my elevated heart rate and reminded myself that everything was fine and took slow breaths.
Because I’m flying Southwest, there are no assigned seats. I had a fairly poor boarding position, despite my prompt check-in the instant the online window opened. Because I’m traveling alone, I chose a seat with an older couple that were already seated together toward the front of the plane. Fortunately, they had left the window seat available, so I snatched it up. They seemed just as pleased with my selection, commenting that “thank goodness we got someone little.” They are fine seat mates so far, though I find myself oddly wishing they’d be a bit social. After their initial comment, I’ve heard nothing from them, not even between the two of them. You can bet if I were flying with Ben, I’d be nudging him to engage with me, at least occasionally.
Somewhat predictably, I’m already bored and find myself anxiously switching from book to book, trying to find something engaging. On any ordinary day, any of the books I’ve brought would be quite entertaining, but I need a bigger distraction while flying to curb my antsiness. The other thing I’ve already done is browsed the earlier available Southwest flights that would return me home prior to my purchased ticket. I’ve committed to waiting it out until I give it a good go there, and then if I still really want to come home prematurely, I can investigate my options.
The clouds and land below are the best distractions so far. Cloud cover viewed from above always looks majestic, like a whimsical cotton blanket enshrouding the landscape below. The various types of clouds present different personalities: wispy, airy tails; thick and bold billows, or frothy and ostentatious puffs. Through their gaps, the byways roadways divide the green patchwork land, delineating various properties, farms, and woodlands. We are too high up to visualize cars, but I can see larger buildings, streams, and swimming pools and I imagine all of the people rising for the day, eating breakfast, and traveling off to work.
With the three-hour time zone difference, I’m scheduled to arrive in Las Vegas around 9:00am. Because that will be far too early to check in to my hotel, I plan to take my time getting there, stop at a grocery store for some allergy-friendly food I can safely consume, and then hopefully at least store my bag at the hotel and rest in the lobby or walk around while I’m waiting for my room to be available. Given the hour I woke up and the fatiguing stress of travel, I imagine I’ll be eager to lie down on whatever crappy bed my room holds as soon as possible. I’d like to get my bearings and carve out a bit of a routine prior to bed and then I have all day tomorrow to take on as little or as much of the city as I can handle. As I look to the strangers next to me, eyes closed, lost in their own worlds, I feel a pang of ache in my heart, longing for companionship, a familiar smile, a loving hand squeeze from Ben, or someone to accompany me on this adventure. I’m trying to convince myself that it’s healthy for me to rely on myself and attempt this trip myself, but over the loud hum of the engine motor, it’s hard to ignore the gnawing loneliness inside.