Exercises for the Expectant Traveler
Here's four ways to prepare for your next flight.
When the following words are spoken to most people, thier eyes glaze over, fists clench and a sense of dread washes over them.
What two words have such a paralyzing effect you may ask?
Even my own hands started to cramp up as I typed that phrase. UGH.
Maybe if every flight experience I’ve ever had wasn’t such a nightmare I’d feel differently. But alas, I’m not going to hold out any false hopes about the airline industry striving to ease my fears.
That’s why we here at Escape From Clowntown Research Labs have carefully designed a series of exercise regimens to help you improve your next flight, no matter how badly the Airline screws it up.
I have reasons for my pre-travel PTSD
In October my wife and I will be visiting NYC for a week. You’d think that I’d be excited about the trip and the chance to see old friends, yet I’m already having many a sleepless night fraught with nightmares about this trip.
The reasons for this have been perplexing me.
Could it be that since my last visit ten years ago, and especially since the pandemic, that so much has changed in New York City that I’m afraid I’ll no longer recognize the place? Is it a fear that seeing these changes will somehow destroy my own gritty fond memories of the place?
Perhaps, this dread goes deeper to a more emotional and metaphysical level.
Maybe it’s a touch of “Harbinger Doom” that I’ve associated to my time in New York.
While I had plenty of great positive experiences from living in the New York City area, I also had some really bad mojo energy hitching along for a ride.
That soul sucking stress and emotional turmoil from working in the Advertising business.
The grinding daily commutes through the claustrophobia of the concrete canyons.
The generally crap attitudes I encountered.
All combined to start to wearing me down in a big way.
Of course it was all topped off by living through 9/11, and then a few years later, spending 12 hours trying to get home during the great blackout of 2004.
It motivated me to attempt my first escape west in 2005. However my timing and choice of city was off. I tried moving to San Francisco but found having a New Yorker attitude was way too caustic for that wavy-gravy city.
So back to New York I went after a few months, where I stuck it out for another three years until the calamity of the Great Recession of 2008 pushed my wife and I to move west to Portland, Oregon.
It was there that I thought I’d finally found a place to fit my mental space needs: Open spaces, big mountains, lots of nature and incredible beaches only a short drive away.
In terms of the upcoming flight though, maybe I’m also letting my last visit overshadow this trip.
My last NYC trip was in October, 2012.
I timed my visit to perfectly align with the arrival of Hurricane Sandy.
All of my trip’s plans for the week were literally blown to hell as 85MPH winds trapped me for three days inside my pal Joe’s home in Queens.
Two days after the storm, getting to my return flight at JFK proved to be a challenge of bus transfers around the many downed trees blocking all the streets. Thankfully the flight itself was uneventful.
Now let’s hope this Hurricane season is less worrisome and out-of-sync with my travel.
I’m guessing the other reason for my apprehension about this trip is that I no longer look upon New York City with the same eyes as when I first moved there. In fact, I no longer see most American cities with that same bright-eyed enthusiasm.
I’m a different man now. A bit more mellow, or less of a maniac, depending on who you ask…and which phase the moon is in.
Other than the offerings of museums, restaurants and the variety of cultures, the prospect of actually living in any large US metropolis gives me serious cringe. Honestly, it’s all kind of “been there, done that.”
All my time of living here in the Pacific Northwest has probably softened me up too much and transformed me back to my rural roots in Upstate NY. Both places do have a certain similarity which imparts a homey comfort to me.
Except for the six months of rain and the high number of Nazis, living in the Pacfic Northwest is just simpler and easier.
But with that said, ironically, if given the chance, I’d live in just about any European or Latin American city in a heartbeat. Most of my values have never truly aligned with American culture or politics so very little would make me uneasy about that decision.
Yep, for example, I wouldn’t have an ounce of dread over a move to Spain or Italy.
I’d just have to figure out how to do it without using air travel.
TELL ME YOUR TRAVEL STORY
Have a nightmare travel tale to tell? Tell me in the comments and if it truly is a real horror show, I’ll send you a free copy of my book of “2020 Our Nightmare Year.”
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UPCOMING STORY TEASE
Speaking of travel, I’ve been working on a top secret project that literally is a top secret and has taken me months to research.
By way of my father-in-law, I came into the posession of a US passport used from 1960-1965. This wasn’t just any old passport though, this was the passport of a man who worked for the USIA, which was a branch of the CIA that handled US propaganda and cultural exchanges. The USIA also provided convenient excuses for US spies to sneak into various Iron Curtain or Communist swayed countries.
After months of exhaustive research, I’ve found most of the info that pertains to the travel listed in this passport’s details, and Oh boy, do I have some wacky spy tales to tell you over the upcoming months!
So on top of all my other fun comics, keep an eye out for stories which will probably either guarantee me a visit from the CIA or a nice vacation to Gitmo. Fun times! Stay Tuned!
Here are a few outstanding Substacks that might tickle your fancy.
A.M. Sketching by Sue Clancy - A wonderful Children’s Illustrator who offers creative whimsy with your morning coffee.
The American Bystander’s Viral Load - Humor and lots of it.
Illustrated Journalism - The work of reportage artists and their historical legacy. Every post is gold!
Lower Black Pain - Audio and written stories that amaze.
Until next week, stay mellow and well exercised.