Traveling is stressful.
Even deciding where to go can be exhausting. Beach or mountain vacation? Fly or drive? Hotel or AirBnB? Once you finally iron out the details then you have to actually book it all. Even the process of finding a flight can be a headache. After hours of comparing prices between airlines and trying to find the best arrival and departure times, I’ll usually just settle on something because I’m tired of searching.
Then starts phase II — packing. I typically find myself rolling, stuffing, and jamming every crevice of my suitcase in order to fit the clothes I want. Socks and underwear go inside my size 15’s. Shirts are rolled and placed on the bottom. Then comes pants, followed by anything that needs to stay wrinkle-free. Everything has it’s place. But, nonetheless, I ALWAYS find myself having to leave some clothes behind in order to get my suitcase zipped up.
Once I finally make it to the airport, find a place to park (good luck!) and make it through TSA, only then do I start to relax. Outside of an extreme situation, there’s nothing that could stop me from missing my flight. I can finally relax. It all seems worth it. The hours spent comparing prices. All the research. The time spent packing and the struggles to get to the airport and through TSA. I finally made it!
But for me, vacation doesn’t start until I get on the plane. And more importantly — up in the air.
There’s no other place on earth where I find more mental clarity than while I’m flying. There’s something so powerful about looking down on the earth and seeing it change right before my eyes. Watching something I once knew so well transform into something entirely different.
Buildings look smaller. Trees become broccoli-like. Cars move slower. And people are barely visible. What I once I knew of the earth has been completely redesigned.
But the landscape isn’t the only thing that seems to change. As I fly higher and higher, I start to see my earthly ‘problems’ for what they really are.
- That ‘big project’ I owe my boss when I get back? Is it really worth stressing about and ruining my vacation? Every other ‘big project’ I had got done on time. Why is this one any different?
- Getting stressed about traffic on the way to work? I can always find a job closer to home. Or even work from home. I’m not stuck.
- That text I sent to the girl I like? What’s the worst that happens? She doesn’t answer? Big whoop.
- That pit in my stomach because I’m comparing myself to others and feel like I’m not where everyone else is? Relax man. You do you. Everyone has their own timeline.
While I’m flying, problems I once had while on earth seem insignificant. Or at the very least, easily solveable. It’s like I’m able to think straight, and even think two moves ahead.
With my mind decluttered, I’m then able to focus on more meaningful issues. The hard hitting questions. The ones we know we need to ask but oftentimes are scared of the answers. Or at least I am.
What do you want to do with your life? Is the 9–5 really it?
Who do I truly enjoy spending time with? And how do I spend as much time as possible with these people?
Is this job really my passion? Or am I just in it for the money?
What truly makes me happy? What can’t I go a day without doing?
Am I surrounding myself with people that want the best for me? People that lift me up? Why do I hang around people that are bringing me down?
With this extreme 30,000 foot shift in perspective, I’m able to experience an immense sense of clarity along with it. I see things for what they really are. I’m better able to understand things about my life. And perhaps most importantly, I have the courage to ask myself the tough questions…And search for the answers.
While everything doesn’t just magically appear in bold letters…
“This is your destiny”
…I am able to better decode my life. I can ask myself the tough questions. I can sort through problems that once were entangling my mind and stressing me out. All in all, I have a better handle on the things that are important, the things that add to my life, and the things that are unimportant, and take from my life.
As most would say, clarity is usually found as a result of a perspective shift. Taking a step back. Looking at things from a different angle. Reflecting for a moment. I’ve not found a better mechanism to shift my perspective than flying. 30,000 feet up, looking out at the sky, the clouds and the earth’s surface. Thinking. Discovering. Understanding.