I just came back home yesterday from picking up my grandma’s youngest sister who lives in Solo, a city in Central Java, Indonesia. Here it is on the map. It made me think about journeys and long rides. And I just feel like writing about it.

We took a 9-hour train ride from Solo to Bandung. The train ride was beautiful. It gave me a chance to connect with my grandma’s sister. It also reminded me how I often go through deep reflections or process a major emotional release or gain an exceptional insight and clarity on long rides like this. Especially on plane rides.

I have shed so many tears or go through massive emotions on plane rides. When my grandpa died in 2009, my uncle and I flew immediately from LA to Bandung. We sat on different rows but I knew that both of us cried so much on that flight.

For some reasons, my breakups tend to be close to plane rides. And on those rides, I become extremely emotional. I could listen to a Coldplay song on the entertainment system and then burst into tears. I could watch an innocent movie and just cry a river. Plane rides have provided excellent space to wallow, tens of thousands of feet above the ground, and contributed to my healing process so many times.

I experienced massive fear of dying on my ride from Chiang Mai to Singapore. This happened shortly after those series of plane crashes a couple years ago. And it was as if I picked up the anxiety of everyone on the plane. I’m not normally afraid of flying. But that moment, I was filled with fear. But somehow, I knew it wasn’t only mine.

And almost always, I have to journal on my flights. Often times I don’t have anything to write on, so I would grab the paper bag you get for motion sickness and start writing on them. My journals have paper bags and scraps of paper inserted between their pages from these outbursts of desire to write and pen my thoughts.

My friend call this the flight therapy. My theory these days is just that my body vibrates on a different frequency while I’m flying. And this frequency brought me closer to perhaps a highest self. Or maybe not. But for sure, this frequency amplifies my emotion and pushes me to release them, one way or another. I think this phenomenon (for lack of better word), is also due to sitting still not doing anything much for a long period of time, and therefore sort of forces me to reflect on myself and my life.

Train rides have the same effect of getting me to be reflective. But not as much as plane rides do.

Of course, the emotions I released weren’t always sadness, frustrations, or fear. In the last plane ride and train ride I took in the last couple days, I actually felt a lot of gratitude. Huge gratitude on the plane ride cause I felt extremely loved and cared for. And on the train ride, I felt a lot of awe of the beauty of this world. But also lots of deep reflective moments of how humans can be so narrow-minded and how we should always teach kindness and love to the next generations.

Anyway, I find these rides amazing and fascinating. We take these rides to get from point A to point B. But often times, if you’re like me, we travel inwards from the outside into ourselves and learn something in the process.

Yeah, traveling for me is never just to see the world. It’s also a process to be at peace with myself and to learn more about myself.