I’m in the sky

I’m writing this post 30,000 ft above the snowy wastelands of Greenland.

We left Reykjavik at least 10 hours ago. Well that’s what it feels like. I think. It could be an hour or less. Or more. Time is meaningless when you’re in a flying metal cylinder.

Time in the sky is marked by the periodic arrival of the tea trolley (the tea up here is made of molten gold, why else would it be so expensive?). We’re chasing the sun west across the globe, suspended in perpetual daylight. This is part of the reason I like being in transit. On a train or plane or car anywhere, time stands still. Nobody really knows exactly where you are. You’re always just passing through. No responsibilities, no immediate obligations…everyday life is irrelevant. You’re just moving.

The landscape below us is unreal. I choose that word intentionally. How can it be real? How can those beautiful swirls of colour and contrast be mountains? It’s art. I saw where the glaciers end, a great frozen wave cresting over the hills for hundreds of miles. As if a giant wizard had pointed his staff at the ocean and condemned it to eternal stasis.

I felt moved to tears. I felt so honoured suddenly, to be part of it all. Water can move mountains. Carve canyons. The world is staggering. I’m a mere spec in the sky. A bit of pink gristle wrapped up in skin. My boyfriend is oblivious to my silent epiphany of course, he’s watching a film like a normal passenger. I tried to tell him about the glaciers but he told me to stop shouting. I think my ears have popped.

My view of the world is hideously artistic, I know that. I live in a dream. I’m not the brightest crayon in the…packet. I might be there physically but I’m always living stories in my head. When I go walking I listen to music and create scenes, a different kind of writing. It’s nice to have an imagination and all but it’s not really conducive to adult life. It’s sort of like the film Avatar. While I’m frollicking around in the meadows of my mind, real me is wasting away. The flat gets messy. I run out of clean clothes. I forget to defrost the chicken.

And what have I really achieved? I’m not the greatest writer in the world. My novel is unfinished and maybe not all that good. It’s hard to tell anymore.

My absent-mindedness is a bone of contention in my house. I have to make a real effort to do the important stuff. Go through the motions. Open my post. Answer my phone. Still, it’s good living with my opposite. He gently encourages me to be functional. And his blunt humour stops me taking myself too seriously. That’s important. Being able to look at yourself and laugh heartily at your own pretentions.

Sorry. Travelling always makes me introspective like this. It’s a self-indulgence. That’s the whole point isn’t it. Travel’s never really been about soaking up the culture and getting a tan. It’s about putting yourself in a new place and watching yourself still exist. Seeing how you feel, how it makes your real life look. Travel adds a bit to your sense of self and sinks into your outlook.

Who knows how much time this post has taken to write. Is it still today? Tomorrow? Does it matter? Where’s the tea trolley?


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