Nobody likes eleven hour flights. As much as I love going to places on the other side of the world, I don’t like eleven hour flights. But I need them.
I frequently find it impossible to disconnect from the world. I feel itchy if I don’t have a wifi connection that can help me connect with people. Some of that I’m sure has to do with the volunteer work I do for Worldcon, but it’s also because of how I keep in touch with the majority of my friends and family.
For the last five years I’ve lived at least several hours away from the large groups of people that I love and I used the internet very heavily as a crutch to keep in contact with them as I didn’t have the money to visit as frequently as I would have liked.
Now, while I have the means to visit my friends frequently, I still live mostly in isolation and my phone and my laptop are very real extensions of myself that allow me to keep up with the world around me and the world my friends are in.
But sometimes, I just need silence. I don’t get as much as I should. The ability to be connected to everyone has turned into what feels like an addiction, and even if I’ve sworn I’d put my phone away for dinner, I’ll sneak away to the bathroom to catch up. The ability to connect like this allows us to ignore our reality, and to a certain extent, ourselves.
So, what does an eleven hour flight have to do with this? Well, turns out that most flights from Tokyo to England or the US lack wifi. I cannot connect. It’s a blessing and a curse. After I get rid of the shakes that come with the realization that I can’t in fact open Chrome and play on Tumblr or Facebook, I relax. I listen to music, I read a book, I sleep, I ignore the rest of the world, sometimes I even write. I cannot be productive in the usual way that I crave to be, but I am given the time to recharge so that I can be.
I hate eleven hour flights. I love eleven hour flights.