The Pure Bliss of Long Flights Alone

No Wi-Fi and No Expectations

Photo by Ross Parmly on Unsplash

On long flights alone I find myself staring at the clouds relishing in the fact that there is nothing in my reach except a book, a drink, unlimited tv shows, and an optional conversation with a stranger. There are no expectations. I have no service and I answer to no one. My husband cannot text me and ask what he can feed our kid for lunch or where the extra diapers are.

The unproductive options are limitless; I can’t even muster a guilty feeling for wasting time. I am in the air until I get there. Whether I drink a glass of wine and binge-watch an entire season of You or I read a classic novel it doesn’t matter. I don’t know anyone; there is no one there to judge me. Keep your Wi-Fi airlines, I don’t want it.

Airplane food is terrible. Regardless of what I eat there is no guilt because it’s all bad for me anyway. I once ate nothing but ramen noodles and Dove Ice Cream Bars on a flight to Hong Kong. No regrets. There is also no reason to feel bad about not exercising afterward because it’s not even an option. In fact, it’s discouraged. I once got reamed out by a flight attendant for doing yoga poses on the back of the plane on the way to Shanghai. I may have shown up with Cankles, but I never tried to exercise on a long flight again. Now I just buy compression socks.

Without access to Wi-Fi I’m not getting the news so there’s no point in trying to stay informed. No Trump tweets for 24 hours. How fucking glorious. One doesn’t realize how much emotional energy is spent listening to every terrible thing Trump has said and done, day in and day out until you spend hours without hearing about it. Instead I can spend my time catching up on hours of podcasts, tv shows, magazine articles, and trashy romance novels. It’s refreshing.

Eventually, on a long flight, I crave a little human interaction. I don’t need to try to seek out company because my assigned seat has conveniently chosen who I’m going to talk to. No thinking required. Sometimes I get lucky and the person sitting next to me is an attractive, interesting man who I can engage in some harmless flirting with. Occasionally it’s a local and I seek out great restaurant advice. One time I spent a day flying next to a grandma. She gave me a free history lesson and a rice pudding recipe.

The best part about talking with strangers I’ll never see again is I can be whoever I want to be. I can be a mother, a freelance writer, a snowboarder, a consultant, or just a traveler with nothing much to say. There are no obligations to follow up, get their number, or text them later to arrange the next playdate. We sat next to each other on an airplane and made polite conversation; there are zero expectations.

Sleep. Oh, glorious sleep. It doesn’t matter what time it is. If I’m lucky enough to be able to zonk out on an airplane, I bask in a nap. If I try to nap and I can’t, I embrace it. There’s something beautiful about ordering a cup of coffee and just sitting. Being able to enjoy a coffee when it’s still hot and actually taste the cream is a rare treat when you’re the mom of a wild toddler. There’s no laundry to be switched or emails to be answered, just coffee.

My absolute favorite part about long flights alone is I don’t even have to make a conscious effort to unplug. Most of the time I have no choice. And you better believe when the option is there to pay for Wi-Fi I’m not doing it. Why would I pay to be bothered? There is a reason that so many spas and wellness centers are restricting cell phones. The constant need to post on social media, check your emails, and view your besties Instagram stories on the regular never permits you the time to actually check out. Sometimes our minds just need to be idle. On a long flight, I am always able to detach myself and just be.

Put me on a long flight alone to nowhere and I will gladly laze in all my glory.

Freelance writer and mama to a wild one. I cover intriguing places, lifestyle, parenting, food, and feminism. “Writing is a form of personal freedom.”

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