So I’ve been home from San Francisco for 3 days now. Apparently my mind is still sitting in that window seat contemplating things….contemplating travel, the world, things.
Theres no better time to contemplate traveling across the USA then as you fly over it. What it would be like to travel the land by train or car or bus. See it on the ground instead of 32,000 feet above. Drop off the radar for a bit and just explore.
There’s no better place to think of and consider random life altering scenarios then confined to a window seat on an airplane 32,000 above land, staring down to the far off horizon for 6 hours. Sometimes it’s fluffy clouds reaching the horizon. Other times it’s looking down to the plains below or the mountain ranges that just stretch on forever.
On my flight this past Saturday the sky was extremely clear once we flew beyond the Rocky Mountains where everything appears gray and overcast from the time we hit Nevada. I do have to thank for American Airlines here because their interactive map was much more interactive and detailed then the interactive map on United Airlines. On American you had full control over the map. I followed the flight path, was able to zoom in if I was curious just what area of a certain state we were over, I was able to zoom out pretty far if I wanted to see the entire country. On United, the map was on an automatic zoom, only three levels: the world, the country, the state(s) we were over – not exactly interactive.
It was at this point, as we started to fly over the plain states, that I spent the majority of my time listening to a movie (Million Dollar Arm or Begin Again) but staring out the window to what was below us. The afternoon was so crisp and clear that I saw everything below me. The plains are wondrous to view. I saw streets, highways, rivers, lakes, barns, farms, silos, towns, cities, everything.
It made me think. Really truly think. From 32,000 feet above ground, the towns or cities I saw appeared to be close together. I pictured myself driving from one town to another, aimlessly covering the vast country, learning more about the land, the people, the culture then I have ever learned before. We know so little about it. I just want to see and explore it all. As we were over the plains states, I keep thinking of the song Fly Over States by Jason Aldean (see the lyrics below to better understand).
Each time I fly I have thoughts such as these. I wonder whats going on beneath the clouds. I wonder what it would be like to not get on my return flight, to stay in the city I landed in or to just go somewhere else from there.
Each airport I’m in I stare at departures board, try to see where the flights departing near my gate are going. I imagine trying to change my ticket to hop on one of those flights. I search the board for all the international flights to see what fun and exotic places are leaving soon then wonder if I can afford that ticket?
Have you ever thought of just showing up at the airport, carry on in hand to buy a ticket to someplace random, someplace you haven’t been to yet? No plans made prior, just going, just winging what could become a most phenomenal trip? I have.
One day I will make that happen……..one day when my bank account could afford a hit like, it will happen. I am making this a public online promise that one day I will enter the airport and purchase a ticket to someplace I haven’t before with no prior plans in mind but to travel and experience something new.
Fly Over States – Jason Aldean
A couple of guys in first class on a flight
From new York to Los Angeles,
Kinda making small talk killing time,
Flirting with the flight attendants,
Thirty-thousand feet above, could be Oklahoma,
Just a bunch of square cornfields and wheat farms,
Man, it all looks the same,
Miles and miles of back roads and highways,
Connecting little towns with funny names,
Who’d want to live down there in the middle of nowhere?
They’ve never drove through Indiana,
Met the men who plowed that earth,
Planted that seed, busted his ass for you and me,
Or caught a harvest moon in Kansas,
They’d understand why god made
Those fly over states,
I bet that mile long Santa Fe freight train engineer’s seen it all
Just like that flatbed cowboy stacking US steel on a 3-day haul
Roads and rails under their feet
Yeah that sounds like a first class seat
On the plains of Oklahoma
With a windshield sunset in your eyes
Like a water-colored painted sky
You’ll think heaven’s doors have opened
You’ll understand why god made
Those fly over states
Take a ride across the badlands
Feel that freedom on your face
Breathe in all that open space
And meet a girl from Amarillo
You’ll understand why god made
You might even wanna plant your stakes
In those fly over states