I love the in-between places.
On a road trip, the car can become a homely space. I have many memories of long trips in cars and the journeys hold a brighter place in my memory than the destinations themselves.
Similarly, on a journey by air, one’s own little corner of the plane can become a temporary home. This is perhaps more true on long-haul flights than short ones. Again I love the space thus given to relax and indulge in my favourite pastimes – reading, thinking and observing.
In fact, I write this as I come to the end of a long-haul flight – fourteen hours – from Sydney to Johannesburg. I am grateful for this opportunity for the introverted side of me to just be, and not do or engage.
Perhaps it is this introverted side of me that loves the waiting that is the journey. It gives me a chance to energize. No pressure to perform, no plans for a set goal – just be. In the waiting that is the journey, there is space for thoughts to bubble up and crystallize into words. Just as these have been formed.
Paradoxically, the very fact that one doesn’t need to engage can make meaningful engagement with others possible. Much of my day-to-day interactions with people consist of goal-oriented conversations – like the current project at work.
The sort of significant engagement that I long for is the kind I would expect to happen over a meal. In this time-poor world I don’t often get to dine with people outside my immediate family.
This makes me appreciate even more the conversations that can happen in those in-between places. The space created by the journey itself has made significant engagement with self and others possible.