Sitting in a small space with hundreds of people while trapped inside tonnes of metal is not my idea of fun but I endure it because I love to travel to see other lands.
It is not only the feeling of being confined in the aircraft that is confronting but also the arduous administrative and security processes we have to go through before finally finding our assigned seat.
That being said, the flying component forms a small portion of the overall travel experience and is only a miniscule inconvenience in the span of a lifetime.
The knowledge that I can be standing in Nanjing Road, Shanghai one day and be back in my house in Australia within 15 hours blows me away. The world is so small.
Gone are the days when the closest people got to other countries was hearing stories of faraway places on the radio or reading about them in novels.
As a child of the 60’s I had a picture book called “Children of the World” that had cute illustrations of a boy and a girl from 76 countries dressed in their national costume. Each page had a short paragraph written in the voice of a child about the characteristics of where they lived.
Every night before sleeping I would lovingly look through the pages and wonder what life would be like in other countries. My favourite page was Japan and I know this page sparked a lifelong fascination for this country.
When I finally visited Japan four years ago as a middle aged woman I remember feeling like the 8 year old version of myself being amazed by standing in ancient temples, walking next to women dressed in Kimonos, and spotting Mt Fuji in the skyline for the first time. I was in awe that the images I had stored in my imagination for so many years had come to life.
To me this feeling of amazement is the number one beauty of travel.