|The last train in Tokyo, December 2006.|
A thousand years ago, Europeans didn't know the American continent existed. A few hundred years ago, it took years for a traveler to go across the world. By the end of the 19th century, traveling around the world in 80 days was a fiction-worthy exploit. And now? Now, we can travel through continents in less than 24 hours. Isn't that awesome? What if we could see the world with the marveled eyes of a child? Or a time traveler?
Today, people make faces and complain in airports. Too much queue. I have to go through customs, open my bags, find a way to put all the electronics and toiletries back in. Too much wait at the airport. Not enough room on the plane. But do we ever stop to realize we climb inside iron machines to travel across the world in mere hours?
When I first flew for work 5 years ago - a press tour in Dubai, no less - I wondered if I'd ever get used to it. The thrill of watching the plane take off from the windows, my ears buzzing, my heart leaping, the airport, cars and houses becoming smaller and smaller. Sitting 36.000 feet up in the air. Watching the clouds from above...
What would a time traveler from the middle ages think of this? (He'd probably try to burn me for sorcery for a thousand reasons, but still, traveling in the sky!)
Anyway, it's 2016, I've traveled dozens of times since my very first press tour, and never got tired of the miracle of flights. I'll confess, sometimes, I think about it when I'm in the lavatory. This little action I need to do every day, I'm doing it 36.000 feet in the sky! I'm watching a movie in the sky!
Sometimes it makes me sad, because being able to fly around the world is a privilege. Entire families die trying to come over to Europe from conflict zones. But it also makes me even more appreciative of all these little things we are lucky to have without ever thinking about it.
Instead of focusing on what to buy next, how about we feel grateful for the little miracles of our daily lives? (Did I mention that we have clean water available in our homes? Electricity? Internet? I could speak about the miracle of Internet for hours)
Anyway. I'm flying to Japan in a few hours for a two-week holidays. And I'm as excited as I was the first time I hopped on a plane. This is a little victory of life appreciation and gratitude.