I can sit in front of my computer for hours, or just stare moronically at a piece of blank paper. A million thoughts and nothing. There’s no creative outburst. But when I enter an airport and put my luggage down the drop off, my writing blood starts pumping. When I get into a train and watch the sunset drop from my train window, my wind wanders to beautiful things.
By the time I’m nestling myself into travel seat, my fingers are already scratching. At first I ignore it, I catch up on some reading, and then finally it hits me: a word or a sentence, a topic, a feeling. The itching gets crazier and I need to start scribbling. By the time I’ve found my notebook or opened up my computer, words flow over each other like a river. There’s an occasional bump, some wood drifting, just to keep you on track, you ponder and think for a second, but then it continues and you’re not satisfied until’ you’ve established: Yes, this carries something that I agree with and it ends up somewhere I wanted to go.
They say you need to get bored in order to get creative. I don’t know if it’s exactly boredom I need. I think it’s a feeling of relaxation and space in your mind where you can let go of your work and everything back home.
Is it being in a small, confined space? Is it because this space is moving without me steering it? Maybe it’s the lack of entertainment, but then again, it also happens to me on long distance flight, with these nifty embedded TV’s: I’m perfectly able to neglect the neon and write. Maybe it’s the height of the little tables, maybe it’s knowing my phone’s switched off, maybe it’s simply being on the road. By now, I’m thinking my new desk at home should consist of two rows of retro Pan Am-style airplane seats.. Seatbelt off, no bloated legs and my boyfriend in a pilot suit. I like this idea!
Seriously, the one reason that seems to explain it is this: when you travel, you have to let go. There’s not much you can decide in an airplane, you can’t prevent a rainstorm and you can’t improve a thing, there’s nothing for you to choose but snacks, drinks, when to pee and whether to sleep, talk, read, write or daydream…
You put your life into the angel wings of a technical thing, 2 or more stress-resistant air-waiters and an engineer with RayBan sunglasses. Basically, you’re not in charge, you just have to float and flow and sit quietly until’ it’s safe again. Maybe that’s why some people are so afraid of flying – it’s the idea of not being able to control the outcome. But in my case, all I know is this: when I manage to let go, I get creative. And that’s definitely a thought worth taking into other situations in life, too. Because I might not be scared in airplanes, doesn’t mean I never get stressed. I hate it when my plans get overthrown by others, but I have to admit it has also led to interesting opportunities.
Seatbelt sign is on, cabin crew looks a little worried and we’re nowhere near our destination yet. Talk to you later!