I’m just back from a vacation and going through all the photos on my phone from the past week.
No matter how many times I’ve flown a certain route, I always find something new to look at below. The world seems to make more sense from up high. Seeing the great expanse of the Earth divided into neat patterns – fields checkerboarding the landscape and roads racing to the horizon – brings symmetry to the messiness of everyday life.
I truly believe that the window seat is meant for those who retain a sense of adventure about travel. It is for those who, no matter how many times they may have flown, hold on to a sense of wonderment as they hurtle down the runway and watch the ground disappear beneath them; for those who cherish that sense of excitement as they descend, nose against the pane, into the blinking lights of a never-before-visited city; whose hearts leap as they stare out across an ocean and spy a lonely atoll. That, after all, is why five-year-olds insist on sitting there.
The aisle seat, in contrast, is for those who value utility. It is the seat in which it is easiest to stretch your legs; to get up and wander to the toilet. It is the position for those who like to grab their bags from the locker and beat the queue off the plane. I tried to think back over my truly memorable flights. And I remember sitting transfixed as I flew over an endless desert for the first time; arriving into Cairns on a domestic route, as the flight path took me over the blue-green Great Barrier Reef teeming with life underwater and past the myriad colors of a London autumn; the unexpected glory of a sunrise that arrives hours too early when flying east; being hypnotized by a glowing Hongkong night; and looking down in awe at towering skyscrapers sprouting in between blue tarpaulins of Mumbai’s Dharavi.
Needless to say, on all of those occasions I was sitting in the window seat.
Everytime I travel, I am determined to do so with my face pressed against the pane, looking out in wonder. There’s just something so cool about flying and watching the world go by that never gets old.