Thoughts Travel


January 18, 2017

We take the airplane more and more often, travel further and further and spend hours sitting in a relatively small box made out of metal. What would aliens visiting the earth think when they saw us, humans, squeezed in an aluminum can, staring at screens and enjoying tiny portions of food? Flying has always been the dream of many people throughout history, and many failed until we got where we are now, where flying isn’t a dream but reality, where it isn’t special and magic but ordinary and boring for most of us who are privileged enough in this world to have the ability to fly.

What a strange environment it is that we put ourselves in: Stuck in a small space with sometimes hundreds of other strangers, sitting so closely next to each other, faces illuminated by tiny screens that play silly movies, split up into rows that just leave enough space for similar looking women and men in uniforms and tidy hair to perform a strange ballet with safety vests and oxygen masks to then later hand drinks to the screenwatching mass of passenger while the hours pass by.

It doesn’t seem like many know what to do with their time during these flights – especially the long ones – so they ever so happily get lost in the standard entertainment program provided by the airline until they fall asleep or get interrupted by a meal. Rather than consciously using this time, we often hope for it to pass by quickly. We have long forgotten about the big dream of flying, ignore the reality of it and are unaware of the time we spend just sitting.

We should restart appreciating this wonder humankind has achieved, be more conscious about the effects every flight we take has and – when we book a trip – enjoy this special situation, or at least not ignore it completely.

  1. Be fascinated again

We should look at the world like little children more often. Can you remember the first time you went on a flight? Weren’t you nervous, felt a happy curiosity and still a strange fear of leaving the ground? Didn’t you flatten your nose against the small window, watching the plane take off, flying higher and higher until you could see the clouds beneath?

Why was it so easy to be impressed at that time, and why don’t we feel the same anymore? Isn’t it still amazing for humans to be so high up in the air? Even though flying has become so normal and thousands of airplanes cross the globe these days, it’s obvious that it’s actually not a natural place for us to be – without all the technology, the oxygenated and pressurized air, all the specialized people who develope, maintain and navigate this aerodynamic box with two wings, we would simply die up there or more precisely never manage to reach these hights on our own.

Look out of the window, watch the clouds passing by and be fascinated by the wonder of flying!


  1. Draw mandalas

Mandalas are, in general, very therapeutic to color in. Of course, you can also draw your own, however for me, I prefer to just color them in. You don’t need to create something, you can simply concentrate on a regular pattern and on colors. It calms you down, gives you the peace to just be in the moment while still doing something with your hands since it can be hard sometimes to literally do nothing. So rather than grabbing your phone and lose yourself in scrolling through social media, buy a coloring book, some pencils and start.


Situations to draw mandalas:

  • – you’re bored and don’t know what to do
  • – you have spent too much time on your phone but don’t know how to stop
  • – you don’t feel like doing anything but still want to be kind of creative
  • – you’re stressed and need to calm down
  • – you need a break
  • – you need an activity to do while listening to an audiobook/podcast
  • – there are too many thoughts in your mind and you somehow need to structure them or return back to reality and stop going round in circles
  • – you’re on a plane ride


  1. Make lists

Especially when we fly somewhere for our holiays, the plane ride is kind of the transition from everyday life into a “special” time of relaxing and exploring, a break from the normal days and weeks. However, many often struggle to leave all the work or everyday thoughts behind and keep thinking about things they have to do when they come back and things they should have finished but didn’t get to. Others might think about all the things they read about their holiday destination, all the activities they want to do and places to visit. Whatever plans you can’t stop think about: Write a list!

We keep thinking about the same thing over and over to not forget about them. So by writing it all down, we can assure ourselves that we won’t forget about them and can more easily let go of the thoughts – especially the one concerning things at home we won’t be able to finish before we come back anyway.

Structuring our mind is also cleaning it and realizing, what is really important and what we could actually let go. And who doesn’t want a calmer mind to start for their holidays?


  1. Watch GOOD movies or read a book

The huge amount of movies available on a flight often makes us end up watching some unspectacular and silly comedies we wouldn’t normally choose. So instead of randomly picking something, make the effort of going through all the movies and check if there’s any you’ve always wanted to watch but never got to. And in case there’s nothing that really appeals to you, always take a good book with you that you can read – on a several hours flight there’s enough time for it!

And for those who take a ton of books with them anyway: Get a kindle or any other ebook reader to make your luggage much lighter. Or if you prefer to have real paper in your hands, bring your favorite magazine to read first. While you probably don’t want to get rid of your book, you can throw your magazine in the waste paper and don’t have to carry it with you for the rest of your travel.


  1. Walk around

Unlike our normal days, we keep sitting for much longer on a plane ride. There’s no real reason to get up for anything else than the toilet and we even sleep while sitting. Being in this same posture for such a long time isn’t the healthiest – did you ever get tired and aching legs as I often do? – and even increases the thrombotic risk on long-distance flights. So instead of only walking to the toilet and immediately returning back to your seat, keep walking a bit or do some stretching and simply move your body for a bit. On long-distance flights, there are mostly some snacks next to the toilets so you even get to eat something while moving your legs!


  1. Get the vegan meal

Nowadays, many airlines provide all kinds of different meal options for long-distance flights. Of course, I had to include this, but not only do I personally prefer to eat vegan out of many different reasons, there’s a bonus for plane rides as well: Sometimes – I know, it doesn’t happen always – the special menues are served before everyone else gets their meal. So while your neighbor might be still waiting for his food, you can already eat and don’t have to wait hungrily watching all the people in front of you already getting their meal.

And of course: Always bring some snacks and water (to safe some money, bring an empty bottle and refill it after the security control)! You never know how hungry you’ll be, whether you’re going to like the food or not and how big the portion will be. Bringing some food with you is never wrong and the water will keep you hydrated.


There are obviously many more tips and things to mention for a nicer flight but this list is getting too long.


Fly consciously and get inspired!


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