I don’t sleep on the flight from Newark to Heathrow, which is strange because I’ve always been able to sleep on planes. I don’t sleep but I doze, a restless, fitful state that is neither restful nor refreshing. I had hoped to arrive in London having fooled my body into believing it had gotten a good night’s rest.
But the best laid plans of mice and men, as they say. The lights in the cabin come on as we approach the coast of Ireland, sunrise just glimmering ahead of us. It’s as though we are chasing the sun, or perhaps we are fleeting the dark, but it matters little; they are bringing breakfast around and I watch the colours shift and change out the window, White-Harp tucked under my chin, Neutral Milk Hotel on my iPod, my camera in hand.
Sometimes I think I’ve forgotten how to be me. I used to think you only grew more sure of yourself the closer to an adult you became, but I seem to have lost the conviction of youth. The last time I made this exact (or nearly exact) same flight over this fair isle I was 20 years old, enamoured with the idea of transience and the unknown. I believed I would find not only meaning, but definition in the spaces between certainty.
Perhaps I did, and the definition I found was a desire for stability. But six years on my feet have begun to itch again, and I long to reclaim a measure of that transience and impermanence I so consciously sought. Wanderlust. L’appel du vide. I suffer from both conditions; the former occasionally, the latter chronically. It’s hight time I experience both at once.
People ask if I’m scared of travelling alone, of being incommunicado, unreachable. It is the same as asking how I can jump out of perfectly good airplanes. I have faith. In me, or maybe a higher power. Perhaps it is the same thing.