Day 209 – Flight and Flames

Travel is a Zen-like state now.
I realised as I was walking to the gate in Sydney today that I’ve got my routine so well practiced now that I’m not even thinking about travel anymore. I just listen to my podcast or read my book and go through the motions on auto-pilot.

Clearly I’ve arrived at station unconscious-competence.
Or maybe conscious-unconscious-competence? … How meta can I get?

I pack my bag so that I can easily get to my ticket and booking papers. I keep all my electronics within easy reach for the X-Ray scanner. I sit at the gate so that I can easily get close to the front of the check-in-line when they call the tickets.

On Virgin, I usually book towards the back of the plane. I saw a row with only the window-seat taken one row from the back. By taking the aisle seat I was almost certain to have a free spot next to me, unless the plane ends up fully booked. Tip: single travellers rarely pick a middle seat between two full spots if they have any other options left.

By getting to the front of the queue I have an excellent chance of getting my luggage right over my head. Which isn’t important for anything other than being the first person off the plane at the other end. Tip: this only works if you know the airline is likely to use the rear exit. Also… only if you don’t have checked luggage, otherwise you’ll be waiting at the carousel anyway.

Every step of my journey is a well-practiced juggling routine.

There is something terrifyingly beautiful about bushfire.

I’d seen it on TV and video before of course. But at the tail-end of this trip I was surprised by an in-person view of a grass fire creeping over the hills. As we were coming in for the landing it still looked very cloudy around the hills of northern Melbourne. It looked like fog, so I didn’t think anything else of it.

But then it became clear the fog was attached to tendrils that were attached to fire.

On the one hand I was sympathising with anyone down there near any of the fires. On the other hand I was wishing my flight was a few hours later, because the thin fire-caterpillars in the grass would have looked all the better for it. Fire is beautifully terrifying.