In the coming months, I’m taking two very long international flights. While a younger Mary would have gotten all queasy just at the thought, the more enlightened Mary is so much better at finding inner peace these days.
Here are my strategies for achieving a zen-like state while travel.
1. Wear comfy clothes and take off your shoes on the plane. Put on thick fuzzy socks. Trust me, it’s relaxing.
2. Pack good snacks and water. There’s nothing worse than being parched and hungry and dissatisfied with the food selection on an international flight- especially those wee in between awkward hours when they turn off the lights.
3. Bring a book to read, and make sure it’s a good one. Not just a book you grab off the shelf. If you’re not genuinely interested, you won’t read it and it becomes extra weight. I tend not to bring magazines on flights. While they are fine for doctor’s offices, they just don’t sustain me long term.
*4. This one is my new personal favorite tip. Bring an ipod programmed with a couple hours worth of radio programs. I recommend This American Life series from NPR. They run an hour, and you can choose the subjects that interest you. I’ve been known to get so into them on flights that I actually laugh out loud or even cry (drawing attention from other passengers)…
5. If you’re a person of the creative persuasion, bring a journal to jot down ideas and insights. You never know when inspiration will strike!
6. Better yet, use the time to start your first novel. More on this idea to come…
7. Try to absorb the details of the moment. Concentrate on your breaths, observe the surroundings, and pay attention to what you’re thinking. This tip is totally stolen from Power of Now and other new age philosophies about living in the present. In my own experience, it serves a brilliant practical function of getting you to notice whatever anxiety or judgement you are dredging up and to squelch it. It also seems to speed time up (At least for me).
*8. Another favorite tip is to never check your baggage. You might be wondering what this has to do with finding inner peace on the plane, but in my own experience, it’s psychological. I feel dread flying if I have to worry about my luggage getting lost and waiting at baggage claim. It’s great sitting on the plane knowing that once you land, you’re free!
9. Finally, I consider all the much more hellish travel situations I’ve endured in my life. Hitchhiking. Crouching in the back of an overcrowded truck. Sitting on open springs on a smelly bus. I’m sure you have a few horrid memories in your history as well.
What about you? Got any enlightened strategies for flight appropriate body mind disassociation?