Saturday, March 15, 2014

fly the friendly skies

"There's no substitute for just going there."
-Yvon Chouinard

I love airplanes. For me, flying through the air is the only way to travel. This sentiment may have much to do with my absolutely debilitating motion sickness. Or my hurry up and get there mentality; I hate being late. But where my love of travel by air truly stems from is my father.

He loves to fly. He doesn't do boats (okay, he does, but he doesn't tolerate them well). Buses are brutal and trains rough. He, like me, has the motion sickness; the bane of all world travelers. We have thrown up in almost every major city in the world (and minor ones as well). We've tried pulse pressing wristbands, behind the ear patches, and Dramamine in every shape and form. But we still get hit. However, we don't give up.

Instead, we travel by air. Every time we would fly as a family (luckily, a few times a year), my dad would relegate us with his story about the first time he flew on a jet plane. It was the late 50s when my father learned he could go anywhere fast - and forever he would. My father walks so fast that when I was little I ran just to keep up with him. He's always on the go. Why should his travel be any different?

Except, that it should be different. It should be slow and calculated and most of all fun. Plus, as my father and I have both discovered, travel is excessively educational and all consuming. I remember my first time in Asia (last year), sitting in a Seoul Airport boarding area, when two dozen flight attendants and pilots walked into the seating area and sat down. I couldn't stop staring at them. They were, in a word, gorgeous. But they were also, just as I found much of Asia to be, unlike anything I had seen before. I didn't yet have my DSLR, but I had a point and shoot camera, and I quickly pulled it out of my bag and snapped a few shots. 

Not my best photograph, but I had to start somewhere. And that is exactly what I did. I began to look at the people around me as subjects; for my photos, but also for my memory. For my association with a specific time and place. 

I still prefer to fly, but I might think twice about booking a direct flight next time and take the bus, train, or boat. Especially if there are interesting people (who will let me take their photos).

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