I have a love-hate relationship with traveling. As much as I love seeing new places, and meeting new people, and experiencing new things, I hate commercial air travel. The hatred is twofold.
First, it's that being in the airplane is actually scary to me. Sure, I understand the laws of physics, and the equation for lift, and I fully understand that airplanes are aerodynamic vessels that only need to go a hundred miles an hour before they take off into the air. However, that doesn't change the fact that it feels unnatural to me. I feel most comfortable on terra firma.
Jet-lagged in Denver, wearing a lanyard from Narita airport. I appreciate the irony.
Statistically, I am fully aware that air travel is one of the safest ways to get from point A to point B. There's no crazed motorist to contend with nor are there dear that could be struck while driving nor are there tornadoes that could swipe the car sideways and flip you ass over teacup in Kansas. And yet... I still hate being in an airplane. There's been a fairly high number of recent air travel mishaps in the news, and those have done nothing to assuage my fears about being in a flying tin can. Disco death trap Airlines? No thank you.
The second thing that I dislike about air travel is that you are trapped in the tin can with a million different disease molecules. There's no place for that air to go if someone else on the airplane is sick. If they are sneezing, coughing, hacking up a lung, you are stuck in a flying metal tube with that person and their disgusting illness. I'm not trying to vilify sick people, or say that they should be quarantined, or relegated to an iron lung, or forced to wear a biohazard suit that does not let any of their disease-born breath touch the rest of us. I feel like every time I wind up in an airplane, I wind up feeling kind of crappy afterwards. I don't think that feeling bad is solely the result of overextending myself on whatever trip I've gone on.
It also depends a bit, I think, on where your origin and where your destination are. So I've flown all the way from New York to Japan, with no ill effects as far as the common cold or flu-like symptoms or anything like that. I believe that it's because most people that fly that distance, where those little masks that are the germ protector masks. Even if they aren't feeling poorly, but wearing those little masks, they're affording everyone a certain level of herd immunity from germs.
Carry-on bag weirdness after my $3 thrift store carry-on bag was stolen in Baltimore. Y tho?
When flying from DC to Little Rock, however, I think that results in more people feeling ill afterwards. All you need is for one person to have a cold on that flight, and odds are pretty good that you can wind up infecting dozens of people from contact from surfaces on the plane. Even if they aren't going out of their way to be gross and sneeze or cough on people, it doesn't really need much for those little cootie germs to fly about and get into other people's immune systems. I truly have no idea how flight attendants do it. Perhaps they have just managed to get industrial strength immune systems after a certain amount of time on the job.
For all of those reasons, I drove from Idaho to Alabama for work-related training in June. I wasn't particularly thrilled about having to go to Alabama as I've lived there and visited there and I never had any real desire to go back. But, as Kurt Vonnegut says, "So it goes." I trekked eastward and southward to The Heart of Dixie from the beautiful Treasure Valley.
On a more recent trip to Baltimore, though, I flew. I just didn't have the time on either side of that conference to spend 4 days driving there and then 4 more days driving back.