Tom Vincent

Essays on hacking, travel and self-improvement

Taking off and landing

I start to write as I’m waiting for take off. The plane is huge: the wing spans as far out as I can see through the window. I’ve just been given a wet flannel. Looking around, everyone is as bewildered as I am. We collectively wash our hands with it, confused with what to do next.

Leaving my family at the airport was quite difficult. The fact that soon, I’ll be 6000 miles away only really sank in as they went out of sight. A refreshing admonition even after the four or so months mental preparation I’ve had.

After the tremor of the engines roaring, we slowly crawl across the runway and came to a stop. It felt like time had stopped; everything felt so exanimate. “Taking off and landing, the emptiest of feelings”.

Five minutes and 20,000ft in and we’ve already passed Canterbury, the distant shore line just in sight. A short moment after, I try to realise the sheer technological feet that’s passed by in everyday life: 300 or so passengers in a 230 tonne metal can, 35,000ft in the air… think about it.

The remainder of the flight itself was very uneventful. The two guys beside me didn’t speak English so, other than sleep in-between screaming babies left right and centre, the in-flight media centre kept me occupied.

Three films and a whole lot’a Indian TV shows later, we touched down in Mumbai. By that point, I was barely comprehensible; the heat was almost too much dragging round my luggage round the airport. Luckily, the stay was short lived; just making the connecting flight for the next eight hour stint.

17 hours in total, I had arrived in Hong Kong.

Passing through the slog at immigration, I’ve just met AT at the airport. We’ve planned a brief itinerary for the weekend; picking up the essentials and hitting the tourist spots. Here we go!