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« Life after life | Main | Don't be a duffer, wear a puffer »
Thursday
Aug022018

The zen of the long-distance jetsetter

I seem to have hit a sweet spot in my ability to travel with equilibrium. I’m talking here particularly of plane travel, including the dreaded long-haul flights we all love to complain about.

I travelled a great deal as a child, teenager and young woman and then, submerged in jobs and children and strapped for cash, I went nowhere un-local for two decades. The first time I travelled to the other side of the world after this hiatus, I emerged shattered and sick, wondering if I might just stay in the Great Southern Land for evermore.

In the intervening 18 years there have been a few trips and, contrary to expectations, each seems to be easier than the last. I suspect this is an attitudinal shift more than anything, as I grow up (not before time!) and start appreciating how incredible life is.

Okay, so you have 24 hours plus in cattle class. Reframe it this way. You get on a plane one afternoon in Melbourne, and after one day – one day – you emerge for breakfast in Edinburgh. This is a voyage that, not so very long ago, took three months, and you were likely to die of the plague, or shipwreck or some other nasty on the way. So, you’re weary for a couple of days. That seems a small price to pay for the miracle of modern travel.

Also, as I meditate more, I am better able to disappear into a zone, into a little zen bubble as I strap myself into my cosy airline seat. No one can reach me here, no one can expect anything of me, there is not a damn thing I can do for anybody. There are movies. There are pleasant people bringing me meals at regular intervals. I don’t sleep, but then, when I get to the end of my trip there is that blissful falling into deep, deep, exhausted slumber which is one of life’s most luxurious experiences.

About that sweet spot I mentioned. I’ve grown out of youthful impatience and am not yet ancient. Before too long, I imagine I will start to feel my age, something I rarely do yet. Everything will slow down and start to ache, and travel to the other side of the globe may well become a trial again. Although the genetics are promising. My dad only stopped long haul trips when he turned 92. So, maybe I have a few more years to practice my jet setting zen.

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Reader Comments (1)

I enjoy reading your posts, I guess I'm drawn to the introspection. I first came across one of your pieces in The Age back in 2010 …

August 6, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterOtto Maraasco

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