Thirty seconds after arriving at the McCarran International Airport, this realization I keep compartmentalizing hit me again. It burned its way into my consciousness like the jet fuel smell was doing to my nostrils. I couldn’t push it away anymore and this annoyed me, but there it was: I hated flying.
It’s not that I’m afraid of flying, it’s just that the whole process kind of makes me uncomfortable. Between the security check point strip down, the looming armrest battles, and funny airplane smell, it’s hard to find your zen. But quite possibly the worst flying battle to try and overcome is a bad luck of the draw with seat assignments. Every time you buckle up for your next destination, you’re playing a risky game of social roulette. If you’re lucky, you get the cute newlywed couple or the mom and pop type who think you are, “A very well behaved young woman.” But I’m from Vegas. I know the odds of winning. The statistics were not in my favor.
I approached the gate with thousands of worst case scenarios running through my head. What uncomfortable conversations awaited me? Would I get another middle-aged business man seated next to me who drinks gin and tonics for six hours, only to spill them on my skirt and pass out with his head on my shoulder? Or would this be a repeat London trip, where I am seated next to the creeper who stares at my boobs for fourteen hours? Or what about that flight from Boston with the six screaming babies?
I looked at my ticket. This flight was going to be fifteen hours long? I was feeling nauseous.
I sat down at the gate and pulled out my iPod. I let out a big sigh as I turned on one of my travel playlists. As uncomfortable and stir-crazy as this process made me feel, getting lost in the music was the one way I knew how to cope. I mentally laughed at the concept: it really was just a matter of changing the song to change my tune.
As I started to feel better, my thoughts hearkened me back to my knowledge of psychology research on music. Listening to music has been scientifically proven to reduce stress and increase positivity. This is great news for travelers because music can then be an effective tool to reduce stress. Creating a playlist to pump you up and get you into an adventurous state of mind is simple and economical (and definitely cheaper than paying for a therapy session)!
But finding the right music to jam out to can be a hassle in itself. Certain music jives better for certain occasions. And because I’m all about improving travel experiences for the masses, I’ve decided to compile a series of blogs sharing some of my favorite travel tunes for each location I go to. And since this idea occurred to me while waiting for the A380 to arrive, I’m going to start with airplane travel. I’ve painstakingly scrolled through my music selection, written out, revised, and then re-revised my list of necessary tunes to get you from the gate to baggage claim anxiety free.
This one I’m calling…
Tuning Up: The Top Ten Songs for Airplane Travel
1. Sweet Dreams– Eurythmics. I feel like this song validates my feelings on flying. Sometimes things suck but I just have to keep moving forward. And after all, traveling the world is my sweet dream. Time to get over the airplane pity party and buckle up for the adventure ahead!
2. Stuck in the Middle With You– Stealers Wheel. Even though this song was written about the band members having a meal with some sleazy record executives, I find it has many applications. I never know who I’m going to get stuck talking to and sometimes I need a song to validate my uncomfortable feelings. The great thing is that it helps me to laugh at my situation. I can bop out to my own inside joke and by the end of it, feel confident that this is just one part of the journey. I can make it through, even if I’m surrounded by clowns.
3. Fly Like An Eagle– Steve Miller Band. While I’m partial to Seal’s version, either will do. By now I’m over the shock of my cabin-fever and ready to embrace this phase of my adventure. I chew on the fact that my butt is sitting 30,000 feet above the ground right now. Even without super powers, I start to feel like a bad-ass.
4. Go Your Own Way– Fleetwood Mac. Okay, while I know this is supposed to be a break-up song, it’s just so damn catchy. Plus, I’m a fan of going my own way and encouraging others to do the same. Now that I’ve established I’m kind of cool for even being on a plane, I can revel in how independent and awesome I am for choosing my own adventure.
5. Crush– Dave Matthews Band. Who doesn’t love Dave? The groovy bass and violin solos immediately put me in an altered state of peace, allowing me to enjoy the ride of the tail wind. Plus with lyrics like, “Just knowing that the world is round… Am I I right side up or upside down,” I have something to think about while in transit to my destination. The idea of standing on the opposite side of the world and still being grounded baffles me every time. Thanks for the mind bend, gravity.
6. Big Jet Plane– Angus and Julia Stone. This is one of my favorite songs to come out of pop culture recently. The string quartet and raspy vocals keep me floating on the Dave Matthew’s high while giving me another group to love. This song gets me pumped to fly, but does so in a mellow way. It’s a nice subtle reminder to embrace the trip, and that maybe somewhere out there someone is thinking of me.
7. Gypsy– Shakira. Now that I’m comfortable in the moment, I’m ready to pump myself up for the next phase of my trip. And while you may laugh at this top ten choice, I identify strongly with this snappy tune. The simple beat and familiar lyrics about nomadic life put me in the mindset for an awesome adventure. It reminds me that I am not the norm, but I am going to experience so many wonderful things because of it.
8. Where You Lead, I Will Follow– Carole King. Normally when I start thinking about all the upcoming adventures I’m going to have, I get a little nervous. Carole knows how to sing to my soul and remind me that even though I’m traveling alone, I’m not alone. Listening to Carole’s mother-daughter duet reassures me that I have a team of family and friends behind me in my pursuit of adventure. I know that regardless of where I go, I have friends and loved ones following my journey, wishing me the best. This song pushes me a little farther outside of my comfort zone with the knowledge I always have love and acceptance waiting for me when I come back.
9. Many the Miles– Sara Bareilles. I am a huge Sara B fan. If I could sing and play piano, I would hope to one day bring life and magic to songs like she does. Many the Miles is an anthem for adventurers, travelers, lovers, and life enthusiasts everywhere. She wrote it during a challenging time in her life as a pick-me-up. She preaches about enjoying life to its fullest, loving unconditionally, and traveling the distance to get to the ones you love. When the flight starts getting bumpy or the kid behind me starts kicking my seat, I throw this on for a foot-tapping ‘tude turn-around. I find this song especially helpful during that home stretch to your destination. It gives me a second wind of enthusiasm.
10. Across the Universe– The Beatles. My love for this song and The Beatles goes far beyond the scope that any paragraph could explain. I grew up on their music and Across the Universe was the first song I learned how to play on my guitar. When I’m traveling across the world, I love to get lost in the nostalgia and comfort provided by this song. I am immediately reminded how lucky I am to live the life I lead and to always be wary of what I’m putting out into the universe. Plus, the strong verbal imagery always pushes me to articulate my adventures in the best way possible.
So there you have it: My top ten picks for plane travel. I hope you enjoy them! Take the ones that move you and ditch the ones that don’t. This is all about creating a playlist you can jam out to while on your journey to your dream destination.
Didn’t see your favorite air travel tune on here? Leave me a comment with your favorites. I’m always looking to expand my music collection and would love your insight. =)
Happy adventuring! See you on the other side!