Thursday, September 18, 2008
There is nothing like travelling for a living to make a person feel lonely. I'm sitting in Boston as I write these words, and I miss Lisa but that's not what I mean so I'm gonna try to explain it a little better.
I mean that it's easy to end up driving aimlessly around a strange neighborhood in a rental car because I don't know where the locals go for fun, but I do know I don't want to sit in my hotel room all day.
Try driving aimlessly around in a strange city and you'll see what I mean about feeling lonely. Maybe that's the wrong word - I feel like I'm just skimming the surface, like I'm most likely missing out on the uniqueness of the place I go to, and that if I only lived my life in more depth, I would be able to somehow absorb more of my environment.
I try to get out and about in our destinations, and for the most part I succeed - when we check into the hotel my first words to the desk clerk are usually "Where would you go if you were hungry" or "What do you do for fun on your time off". When I have overnights with Kitsch he has usually already scoped out the best restaurants in the area, and we are pretty proactive when it comes to exploring, and that helps.
But getting out and about isn't the same thing as feeling like part of the community, or like part of the same species. There are lots of times I feel like an astronaut in my little rental car bubble - I feel outside in some strange way, like I'm a reporter from another planet come to do a story on the bizarre customs and habits of the locals.
There are lots of times I see things at my job and think "Man, I wish Lisa was here to see that" which somehow actually makes things better - it would be a lot more lonely if I wasn't able to go home and tell Lisa all the minute and pointless details of my trips, so I am grateful for that. Sharing it with someone else makes it real, and I guess I must need to do that more than most.
Don't get me wrong - the occasional feeling of loneliness is a tiny price to pay for the incredible satisfaction I get out of my job, and I certainly wouldn't give up flying as a result of it.
...I just wonder if other pilots feel like ghosts once in a while as they are walking down the streets of a layover town, waiting for the next flight to take them back home so they can become people again, with friends and families.