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Flying – it's not so bad

I'm writing this column the day before embarking on a short vacation – a five-day trip to Vancouver Island. It’s where I lived last year, and I'm excited to visit some friends, go for a kayak ride in the Georgia Strait, enjoy a beach fire or two and catch a soccer game in Victoria.

The lead-up to my trip got me thinking about how many people hate airports and flying. While everyone is always excited to go on vacation, it seems they dislike the process of actually getting to their destination. The annoyances start at the airport itself, where there are the customary waiting-around periods – whether it’s checking in, being corralled through security or awaiting the plane at the boarding gate.

Once on the plane itself, there are other displeasures that can sour the on-board experience. There’s the lack of legroom, the possibility of a baby crying, a smelly person sitting next to you or a kid kicking the back of your seat.

Despite these potential irritations, I’m always excited to fly and I tend to officially enter “vacation mode” as soon as I hit the airport. Once I’ve bypassed security, I always splurge on a tasty treat, like an Iced Capp or cinnamon bun, and I like to pick up a book, magazine or a print copy of The New York Times before I head to my boarding gate.

I also don’t mind the plane ride itself. At 5’9”, I’m not tall enough that the lack of legroom on airplanes is an issue. I’m pretty good at tuning out crying babies, and I’ve been fortunate – so far – to never have been seated in front of a seat-kicker.

While I like watching movies and TV, I generally feel guilty when I watch hours and hours of it at home – I feel like I could have used that time more productively, whether by exercising, tidying up or getting some work done. But on a plane, you’re stuck in your seat and there is little else to do than binge-watch movies or read. On long flights in the past, I’ve watched as many as three movies back to back, and I never feel like my time was wasted.

When I was living on Vancouver Island, I flew a lot more often, as I’d come back to Calgary every six weeks or so to see my girlfriend, friends and family. Those trips were always something I’d look forward to and I would circle them on my calendar weeks in advance. Since moving back to Alberta a year ago, I’ve only flown once – it’s easy to see why I’ve eagerly anticipated this voyage.

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