I’m on the last flight to Columbus out of Las Vegas. The time zones turned my entire Tuesday into a travel day, which started at 5:30 this morning on the Oregon coast; and I’m sitting here in the aisle of my final flight with a Spotify playlist and a half-eaten block of Tillamook cheese that I picked up at a gas station along the way. I’m ready to trade in the beef jerky and cheese block for a home-cooked meal and my own bed rather than my old sleeping bag. But the last week has been everything I could have imagined and then some. My best rest often comes with nature or out-of-the-ordinary experiences. Waking up to the sounds of the ocean and snapping twigs in the woods trumps the all-to-early chimes that come from my iPhone. Spending an entire day roaming the streets of a new city with no clue what’s around each corner is enlightening. Unplugging, even for a few days, was one of the hardest things I’ve done, but I was so eager to do so. I’ve got life rhythms embedded with social platforms or the regular checking of email, so forcing myself to rely on printed maps and fuel-powered coffee making was easier than anticipated. I haven’t shaved in awhile and I’ve got the dirtiest moustache on the flight. My jacket smells like a bonfire, which I wear with great pride and honor.
Travel has come easy for me for most of my life, with little stress or anxiety connected to rental cars, security lines, or uncharged devices. I know this is a huge blessing as many of my closest friends and family struggle with headaches, anxiousness about flight times, or the inability to fall asleep in transit. Ask the guy who sat next to me on my last flight and didn’t see my eyes open once from take off to landing; he knows what I’m capable of doing en route. Ironically, some of my best ideas and personal time happen right here in the aisle seat of a domestic flight, even with a toddler roaming the aisle every few minutes to give me a high-five. I love flying through the darkness of the night with my ceiling light shining down on my laptop and notepad, ginger ale on the pull-down table next to me. There isn’t a hamper of dirty laundry sitting next to my desk (they’re under the plane with everyone elses dirty clothes), and I have no dishes sitting on the counter to attend too. While most flights lack intimacy and personal connection besides the occasional neighborly conversation, nothing else matters but what sits on your mind when you are 10,000 feet above the ground. You can close your eyes and lean back your head, you can plug in and get some work done, or you can drink the night away one small plastic bottle at a time. To each his own. I’ve been thinking a lot about the stories I’ve heard of entrepreneurs that took off on yearlong adventures around the world with a laptop and a mobile job description. The world we live in is inspiring, and when we travel, we have access to a part of our imagination and our world that we may not have even known existed beforehand.
As we begin the descent down to Columbus, I’m entering back into the regular pace of the week with a heightened sense of creativity, leadership, and ownership. While there wasn’t a single significant moment or a single idea that is going to change the course of history that came with this trip, I’ve been reaffirmed of my own capabilities. I’ve taken time to process my personal investments and stepped back to ask myself the enduring questions of career, relationships, and community. Perhaps even more importantly, I’ve taken a moment to stop and look around; we live on a beautiful planet with some breathtaking views. I’ve met a few new friends and shared meals with other communities of friends and family. I’ve organized reviews of businesses that I hope to support, even from afar, and I’ve finished up a few notebooks that were down to the last few pages of emptiness.
Take time to do you. And if you haven’t figured out what it means to “do you”, perhaps it’s time to ask. Only you can ask that question and only you know the best answer. So what are you waiting for?