This is how it goes: you board the airplane, sit on your designated seat, settle down and wait for the other passengers to do the same. If you’re very eager, you buckle your seat belt immediately. You watch the people bustle around you as they stash their carry-on luggage into the compartments. A few more minutes elapse and then, finally, the pilot announces that the airplane is ready for take off.
The airplane then cruises through the tarmac, slowly at first, taking this turn and that, until you reach a long stretch of asphalt at which time you will feel the airplane gathering momentum, faster, faster, faster. The velocity rattles your bones as the airplane speeds through the tarmac, and you are pushed flat against your seat. Your insides clench with anticipation and you wait for the lift, that sudden jump that allows the wings to gain purchase at the air and take flight.
And when you finally do feel it for the first time, it is the most exhilarating experience in the world.
You are airborne: a feat that humans before the 20th century only dreamed of.
For a long time, I’ve dreamed of riding an airplane. And even though it has become ubiquitous, a part of life, that isn’t enough to erase it from my bucket list. It’s just a really amazing thing, and I am glad to have lived and experienced it.