In recent months, I’ve been taking more and more trips between Cape Town and San Francisco. Now, this a long flight. It generally consists of two legs, one to the Middle East or Europe then the second to the USA. Total time in the air: around 24 hours.When it hasn’t been done in a while, long distance travel is exciting, but it quickly becomes a chore. Crossing 12 time zones, sleeping in airports and sitting on planes forever certainly exact a wicked toll on the body. Lately however, I’ve grown to appreciate what all that lonely time in the air does for my mind. Let me explain. If you’re reading this blog, you are probably a technophile who spends a ridiculous amount of time in front of their laptop and generally enjoys working more than the average person (just like me). In my case, I fell that The problem with this behaviour is that I rarely give myself the chance to unplug- I thrive on being hyper connected all the time- so constant email, task management, Twitter and RSS are what I thrive on. Even if you can live like this without experiencing fatigue or productivity losses, I find that a key element of mental balance can easily be crowded out and forgotten: introspection. Introspection occurs when we spend long periods alone, and delve into our mind to remember what’s important to us, what kind of people we want to be, and ask ourselves how things are going. It’s a surprisingly elusive state if you have constant access to Wifi or an iPhone with 3G in your hand. I love it. It’s a form of meditation. A session of proper introspection leaves me feeling more centered, relaxed, motivated and in control. It is highly recommended. Of course, I could do this at home (or in a hotel) once in a while, and I should. But somehow, I always manage to get busy and stay that way. I’ll work on improving. For now though, I’ll keep appreciating the silver linings of these long distance travel clouds. And why doesn’t this apply to domestic travel, you may ask? Because one can usually get onboard Wifi on local flights of course!
—This post written 11,500m somewhere above the Atlantic. Image credit: Shutterstock.