Surviving Long Durations of Travel

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Planes, trains, and automobiles, oh my!

I'm writing this as I'm about to embark on a 26 hour long day of travel. Two layovers, 17 hours in the air, and then I have the task of actually finding the airbnb's in an Asian country. It's been on my mind for the last two weeks - how am I actually going to survive this? My longest duration of travel has been from the U.S. to Europe thus far and it's been easily doable. I travel frequently, but I must admit the airplane rides are my least favorite part. Although, I find the actual airplane quite fascinating. It amazes me how this huge machine made of heavy materials with a bunch of people thrown on it is able to first, get in the air, and then remain there for hours, crossing over every terrain you could ever imagine. What a time to be alive, right? I have a small fear of flying, not that it hinders my travels in any way - obviously. Usually after a cocktail or two I remind myself that the journey awaiting me will be worth the hours spent cramped, bored, and slightly terrified on the plane. Besides, if the plane goes down, at least I went out doing what I truly love - seeing the world.

I stayed up late Saturday night, and even later Sunday night so I would be completely exhausted by two am on Monday morning. My Dad drove us the hour drive to Denver where we began our expedition on what was about to be the longest day of travel I've ever faced. I realized, you can't really think about it too much, don't give it the power to exhaust you before it's even happened. It's the same with long road trips, long days of work ahead, or any unnerving task, you have to just sit, or stand, and do it until it's done one step at a time. If you let yourself think about how long it will take you to complete the task, you may become irritated or anxious. First, just show up, then take individual steps from there. I'm getting in the car to go to Denver - one hour. I'm waiting for the plane to arrive - one and a half hours. I'm getting on the plane for 13 hours, but for the first two hours I'll watch a movie, the next three - five I can sleep; etc. Don't let the daunting reminder of time get in your way when achieving your goals, and that goes for any goal. Someone once said, "Don't let the amount of time something may take to complete deter you from what you're wanting to achieve, that time will pass anyway." Couldn't be more true. So be prepared to preoccupy your mind so you can kill the time.

How I deal with my small, sometimes large, fear of flying.

I'm an advocate of a couple cocktails while flying (but I always have plenty of water handy since traveling is hard on your body.) They help ease my anxiety that if this plane goes down in a fiery blaze, it will be the most intense and terrifying thing I'll ever face. Something nice I remember though is that if I survive, the odds of it happening again are likely a 0% chance. That's what I've convinced myself anyway, according to my logic. I always bring books, whether hard copy or on my iPad or Kindle. If you're going to be sitting there for hours, you may as well read something you've been interested in. The double whammy for me is that reading makes me incredibly sleepy. I also always bring a journal whenever I travel. Again, you have a great opportunity to write about your thoughts, goals, and ideals. Are there certain things that exhaust you or calm you? See if you can't use them to help ease your conscious for the flight.

I found I really enjoy the mobile games you can play on your phone, computer, or tablet. Solitaire is my jam. It's mindless yet intriguing. It doesn't wear me out mentally, but keeps me completely involved and wanting more. You just have to find things like that to take your mind away from the real task at hand - traveling for what seems like forever.

If a plane has wifi, then all of your problems are solved because you can zone out on social media - a favorite and unhealthy past time of mine. The plane to Japan did not offer wifi, so I wouldn't ever count on it, but you can research that information before flying.

At the end of the day...

The time it takes to get anywhere is equally apart of the journey as reaching the destination. It's cliché, I know - that doesn't make it any less true. Sometimes the grueling hours spent getting to the destination are what allow it to be that much more memorable, or appreciated. Sometimes - no always - you have to set your fears or discomforts aside to reach your goals. Again, this is true of life not just travel. And that's why I love travel so much, because it's a constant, friendly reminder that I need to always work hard and embrace the uncomfortable feelings to get to where I want to be. It's not only been a life lesson out there on the road, but one that I remember and practice back home in my "normal" life.

Surviving long durations of travel is what it takes to be able to see the wonders of the world. To meet it's people, see it's beauty, and relish in the culture that's been created. Before this trip to Japan I was truly fearful of the flight and it's duration. I was. But now that I spent 26, grueling hours traveling to reach a destination and share it with my family, the people who are apart of this heritage with me - who gave me this heritage - it's all so worth it. The time in the air doesn't compare to the time I've spent in the sweltering heat to reach the calming ocean waters. It doesn't compare to the lights, sounds, and smells I've recognized daily upon arriving. You know it's all worth it when you reach the destination, sit back, and think... damn, this is it. I'm really doing it.

Push your fears aside, they're only there to protect you, but often from things that won't actually harm you. No one is getting out alive, go live your dreams, I'm here to help! Cheers.

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