I did so much flying for book tour last year — I think I took 50 flights? — that I don’t really miss flying at all, but I do miss Airplane Mode! Here’s how Rob Walker put it in his most recent newsletter:
I love the feeling of being so out of pocket that I may as well read a novel, or make notes about some long-shot future project, or fully focus on an episode of Snap Judgment, or whatever — basically do anything besides work that somebody else wants me to do. To borrow from a prompt in the book, plane trips are a great venue for “an appointment with myself.” […] I’m working on how to recreate this, and any answer will vary by the rules wherever you are. But consider blocking out a few hours of virtual “airplane mode” time — for you and you alone.
Rob also linked to this this NYTimes piece on rituals athletes use to stay grounded:
Kevin Love of the Cleveland Cavaliers said rituals are a support system for the mind. His 90-minute ritual before an N.B.A. game is full of activities that families can try at home, like yoga, stretching and listening to mellow, atmospheric music by the band Hammock.
“I named the playlist ‘Airplane Mode’ because it’s a way for me to just shut off,” he said. Families might want to create their own airplane mode ritual on weekend mornings where they play songs they’ve chosen together and do their favorite exercises or yoga poses.
I like that idea. Here’s what I wrote in Keep Going:
You don’t need to be on a plane to practice airplane mode: Pop in some cheap earplugs and switch your phone or tablet to airplane mode, and you can transform any mundane commute or stretch of captive time into an opportunity to reconnect with yourself and your work.
Less doomscrolling! More airplane mode!