Skip to content

On the Road

I used to love flying. As a child, I used to count down the days until the next plane trip. I used to love staring out the window at the clouds as we flew over them, leaving a whole world below us. It made me feel so free. I even wrote a story about the man that grew from that little boy who loved to fly.

I’m still a window-seat guy, but flying has become little more than something I do. It’s just part of the routine. I’m home for a few weeks, then it’s back to the airport and on to the next gig. Don’t get me wrong, I like what I do and I still enjoy flying. I love to travel and never dread the next trip, it’s just that flying has lost most of the magic.

I just finished watching Up in the Air and found myself identifying with George Clooney’s character. I don’t have near the miles he does, I fly almost exclusively domestic, but something about his routine rang true with me. I think that’s where the magic of flying went. It became routine. I guess that’s what growing up is, finding your routine. It’s kind of sad really, life can be little more than finding your place in line. I think that was also the point of the movie.

I fought it for a long time, the routine. I freelanced for 5 years after graduating college. Floating from gig to gig, never knowing where the next paycheck was going to come from, never knowing what the next day was going to offer. It was kind of exhilarating. My one constant for so many years was change; change of job description, change of venue, change of locale, I even moved to New York City with no solid job lead in sight. It was fun. Little by little, change became routine. It was just something I did.

Flying for me isn’t much different from driving anymore. I do both pretty regularly now. In both cases, you’re just trying to get to your next destination as quickly as possible so you can get to whatever it is you need to do. You do everything in your power to distract yourself from the mind-numbing process of long-distance travel. In both cases, the trip becomes one long blur with sporadic glimpses of real beauty.

Some of the most beautiful things I have ever seen have been through an airplane window. Some of the most beautiful people I’ve ever met I met on the road. There’s nothing quite like driving by the St. Louis arch right as the sun is setting. There’s nothing quite like flying over a sprawling metropolis in the dead of night and watching it light up below you on the 4th of July. Yet, sadly, the more I travel, the longer the blurs become and the glimpses of real beauty are even more sporadic.

It seems that this is just what happens as we get older. We find our routine and the blurs get longer and longer. The next thing we know, we’re 40 or 50 years old and wondering where the time went. Mid-life crises are nothing more than us realizing our blurs have gotten too long and it’s time for a little more beauty in our lives.

In Up in the Air, Clooney’s job is to fire people for companies that don’t want to do it themselves. His main method of easing the pain of job-loss is to help them make the loss a wake-up call, to snap out of their routine and re-focus on their dreams. I think that was the whole point of the movie. Everyone needs to break their routine more often and remember their dreams. We need to stop and take the time to see the beauty in our lives. It’s a little cliche, but I think it’s become a cliche because of how easy it is to get stuck. It’s crazy to think how many movies center around this very phenomenon.

This movie became a wake-up call for me. I went full-time last year for the first time since college 5 years ago. In so doing, I’ve pushed away a lot of the things I enjoyed doing for things that needed to be done. I started making excuses like, “I’m too tired right now, I’ll do it tomorrow,” or “I’ve got more important things to do,” or most often, “I need to catch up on all my TV shows.” Work time was for work, and everything else was for resting and relaxing. That left no time for hobbies or work to further my dreams or develop my talents.

I’m not going to make any pledges in this post, I know myself too well for that. Just look at this site. There are pockets of consistent posts spread over the years, but the last post was much too long ago. I will be writing more, whether here or elsewhere, but the main point of this post was to process the thoughts I had after watching the movie. In college, I was required to keep a weekly “Film Journal” for a semester, where I was supposed to write about the effects any media had on me during the week; to process what I was viewing a little more actively.

At some point last year, I made a goal to do this again on this site. As this is the first one, you can see how well that goal went, but I do need to do this more. I need to quit pushing off the thoughts that race through my mind after viewing some movies or TV shows. I need to take the time to process them. I need to take the time to seek out the real beauty in my routine.

  • Facebook User

    You always manage to make movies I don’t care for seem good.

  • Great post Luke – keep these up

  • Great post Luke – keep these up

  • Great post Luke – keep these up