Amidst the sound of waves coming ashore, a sea gull screeches as it glides above the Atlantic. Sitting on a make-shift bench fashioned by pieces of plank-wood likely used to repair homes in this part of country susceptible to hurricanes (Dorian likely paid a visit a few weeks ago), I take a moment from reading my book and glance out into the endless body of water. I hear the distant purr of a small plane growing louder as it flies closer. I look up. There it is – an airplane flying above the very lands where modern flight was born back in Dec 17, 1903.
This past weekend, I paid a visit to Kill Devil Hills, NC, basically “Kittyhawk” from history books. I went mainly to visit the Wright Brothers’ Memorial and to see where the first successful flights took place – hallowed ground in my opinion.
It’s astounding how flight has transformed our world. All of a sudden, vast distances became significantly smaller. Mankind went to the moon. Wars started and ended with air power (Japanese bombing Pearl Harbor brought America in and ultimately ended with the atomic bombings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, triggering the last chapters of WW2). These days, we can get Amazon packages within days but the best part, we get to travel to places far and wide within days that would previously have taken months to get to by ship.
Flight has shaped humanity. With every culture, language, food, and smiles exchanged between people from pole to pole, our mind, body, and spirit expands. This expansion results in a butterfly effect. How many people have come up with wonderful world-changing ideas because of different and new perspectives? How many people have improved their lives because they began practicing gratitude after seeing how other people in this world can be happy even with so much less? How many new cuisines were invented (or brought back) because someone got to try a very obscure local food in some small town in some small, rarely-visited country? The impact of travel, made possible by flight, is endless! And I am thankful for all of it.