Travel--any sort, but especially flying if only because it's one of the extreme forms of transportation (not counting ziplines or bungee jumping) is risky. Stuffed with surprise, shock, suspense. New locations multiply the number of uncontrollable factors.

But it is also a relief. The very fact of kinetic energy destined towards an end is a promise of purpose, the hope of better to come. Exhilaration. Careening down a runway, building speed against the traction of rough gravel, wheels crunching hungrily for lift off and finally, heart jumping into the throat in anticipation, breathless, rising weightlessly into the air, faith placed entirely in the engine, pilot, mechanics we know nothing of.

I can't imagine life without travel, without experiencing new cultures and the people and locales around them. Growing outside myself, expanding my interests, being challenged to think and speak differently, never content with my state of being.

The sense of adventure is heightened by time. Knowing it has to end eventually, in some way, increases my sense of ambition from the start of the trip and I even play unintentional mind games. Every hundred feet ascended into the air I watch a slow-motion movie of failure. A distant popping noise like the firecrackers that sound like guns, scaring me for just a second until I laugh nervously. The pop and then deflating and twisting, the twisting and ragged turning until the engine sputters out its final stale exhale, and we're left hovering in its fumes. . . and then dropping. Dropping. Sinking to the earth for the final time.

To not travel outside oneself is to become too comfortable in a worldview. Its end is my own righteousness. It's breathing without a perceivable meaning, except my own physical life which will eventually disintegrate into dirt again.

How can we live believing that the meaning of life is us, is for us, is circled around us? This life ends too quickly, floating through the air and into the earth as weightlessly as a feather.

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