After two incredible weeks, our time in Thailand is coming to an end today. We’re currently sat in our guesthouse in Krabi, tapping away on our MacBooks like the ridiculous digital nomads that we are, and in two hours we shall be leaving for the airport. From there we will be flying with AirAsia to Bangkok, and after a short layover we will be catching another plane to Siem Reap in Cambodia, where we will be spending the next two weeks.
As I was sat here, typing an email to a magazine editor who will invariably ignore me, it occurred to me that catching a plane has become second nature to me. It’s no longer a big deal. It’s as normal as ‘I’m going to have breakfast now’ or ‘I’m going to sit and read for a couple of hours.’ After four months of full-time travel, planes have become as regular as cars when it comes to modes of transportation. So, I’ll be flying twice today, and I’m not fazed in the slightest.
I remember back when I used to fly on average two to three times a year, it would be such a big deal. I’d get so excited about it; I loved the whole process, from packing for the trip, to getting to the airport and checking in, to making it through to duty free, to sitting at the gate and reading, to boarding. I didn’t even mind the process of being on the plane; I loved every minute of take-off and touchdown. I relished the sight of the alcohol cart. The whole thing was a big and fun experience every single time.
I guess that the fact I also used to have really bad aerophobia, which I managed to conquer on my own, made the whole process that little bit sweeter for me. Every time I got on a plane it was like a big ‘sod you’ to my old neurosis.
And now the thought of ‘I’m going to be on a plane in a few hours’ doesn’t even make me flinch.
This post, however, is less about flying and more about what it means in the grand scheme of things (I’m sure there are some of you who are wondering what the hell I’m rabbiting on about at this stage). I find it sad how easily we fall into routines, and fail to recognise how many things that we experience on a daily basis are mini miracles.
That sunrise that you probably missed because you were still in bed? Miracle. The morning coffee that you barely tasted because you were downing it too quickly? Miracle. The car that got you to work this morning? Miracle. Your daily interactions with your loved ones? Miracles.
It’s so easy to become blasé about so many things, that we end up taking them for granted. I’ve recently started reading a lot about Buddhism and what the Buddha taught. I’m currently enjoying The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching by Vietnamese monk Thich Nhat Hanh, and he repeatedly stresses how important it is for us to be fully present in the current moment. And it makes so much sense to me – we get so wrapped up in the past, or what might happen tomorrow, that we’re failing to see what’s in front of us right here and right now.
And back to the plane journey. When it was an irregular occurrence, I used to get excited about it – and with good reason. Flying is amazing! But now I take it for granted because it’s become second nature to me.
I think it’s important for all of us to stop and really take notice of what’s happening right here and right now as much as possible. Look up at the sky and appreciate how blue it. Look into the eyes of your loved ones while they’re talking and really listen to what they have to say. You’ll be amazed at how much more you’ll get of life when you do this (and how much more alive and happier you’ll feel).
We can all live magical lives. We just have to learn how to appreciate that every single minute that we’re alive is a gift.