It was the first thing on a list of twenty things only travelers will understand that got me.
1. Some people avoid living near the airport — you[,] however, love being in the flight path.
The sound of large planes rocks you to sleep and it’s oh-so-convenient being five short minutes away from an international airport. Sometimes you stare out the window and wonder where each plane is headed to.
The thing I missed most during college was planes.
I grew up in ten minutes from the Detroit Metropolitan Airport. The schools were soundproofed because of the amount of flight and rail traffic that went over and through the city. (The playground at my elementary school was separated from a railroad by one wire fence. I’m still wondering who felt this was a safe decision.)
Even after my parents moved us half an hour away from the airport, we frequently see planes flying over the house, approaching Detroit from the north. It’s one of my favorite sounds.
Then I moved across the state in the middle of a cornfield, proceeded to field culture shock and an identity crisis while holding down two part-time jobs and a full-time academic career, and all I really wanted to do was move back home to civilization but mostly to planes.
They’re a sign of coming and going, moving and changing, traveling and adventure. And it’s the last I missed most of all. I felt stuck in Allendale, trapped into expectation by association with a culture from which I was still completing the leaving, emerging into my own. Planes meant exploring somewhere new, and I think, especially as I’m growing into myself as an adult, their symbolism of novelty impresses itself ever deeper on my soul.