Appreciation through child-like awe

I wrote this back in October on a trip from New York to London, I was getting tired of my Digital Nomad life and feeling frustrated and impatient by the constant long-haul flights. Re-reading this during my lock-down experience in France adds another level of gratitude I have. Gratitude for my travels, for all those times I left my house, without a signed document stating the reason, just to wander the streets and explore, and gratitude knowing that this time indoors is adding to my self-reflection and appreciation for all Earth can provide and the community of people I am lucky enough to have in my life.

I sit on the plane waiting for take-off, annoyed by an afternoon full of long security lines, grumpy, unhelpful airport staff, and people standing on the walking side of the moving sidewalk.

The row next to me starts to fill up, a family with two small children start to make themselves cozy, stuffed animals and all. This could have been the final straw in my patience level I think to myself, will I have the curse of a crying baby for the next seven hours flight?

But then, something small but amazing happens… the older of the two children smiles at me. His parents occupied by his squirmy little brother are not paying attention and he is asking out loud where is his seat-belt. I smile back, and tell him he is sitting on it, and thus begins an unexpected friendship and an important lesson.

From there I learn it is his first time on a plane, he is traveling to England, and he can’t believe that while he sleeps, we will be traveling across the ocean to a whole new country. The awe in his eyes and excitement in his voice in contagious. There is a button that leans the seat back! You can watch movies while on the plane! We get snacks! We are going to fly!

As the plane takes off he squeals with delight “THIS IS SO COOL!” and from that moment all the frustration and annoyance I had earlier in the afternoon melted away and I realized this was in fact very cool.

It is quite normal to take things for granted, as a digital nomad I fly at least once a month and the initial novelty of days at the airport has turned into a necessary evil to get me to the next destination. In this moment however, I was able to take a step back and see this experience from a new perspective, I appreciated it more and felt lucky to be able to be living this nomadic lifestyle I have created.

It made me question what else as adults we take for granted — our relationships, running errands, flexible work, our routines, choosing our own bed time 🙂

The lesson I learned that day, is simple, take moments to ask yourself “If I was a kid, having this experience for the first time how cool would it be?” Try it out and share what new appreciation you find in your life in the comments below.

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