Stuck in the Airplane Zone

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Seat belt buckled...check!

Travel pillow...check!


You are settled in and ready for takeoff. The flight attendant’s voice is heard loud and clear in the cabin.

“Good morning ladies and gentlemen. The boarding doors are now closed. Please ensure that all carry on items are securely stored under the seat in front of you. At this time, any large electronic devices in use must be turned off and stowed away. Small electronic devices may be used in airplane mode.”

With your last text message sent, you follow the attendant’s instruction and turn your attention to your task list for the next few hours of flying.

Ready…Set…Lift off…

Airplane mode is one of the more recent features to come to smartphones and other electronic devices. This setting takes its name from the commercial aircraft rule against using devices that transmit radio-frequency signals while in flight. With airplane mode activated, handheld devices can remain turned on but no longer send or receive cellular signals. This serves as a convenient workaround allowing travelers to still use their mobile equipment for other tasks such as listening to music, journal writing, or reading a good book. Even more importantly, it allows pilots to operate the aircraft’s electronic systems and communicate with air traffic control without signal interference from passenger devices.

But let's say that you have never taken a flight before, how can airplane mode possibly relate to your life?

Traveling to new places whether by bus, train, car, or plane is an incredible opportunity that many of our WellTraveled Scholars have not been able to experience. However, their lack of experience should not be mistaken for a lack of desire. Nearly every student that comes through our programs demonstrates a longing to explore the world. In far too many cases though, this longing is met with a mountain of self-made obstacles and other distractions that deter the would-be travelers from their goals of seeing the world.

Introducing the WellTraveled Airplane Zone.

WellTraveled’s Airplane Zone is a way of life that aims to block out the distractions to pursuing your travel goals. Similar to the airplane mode on a smartphone preventing signal interference for airline pilots, our Airplane Zone focuses on preventing negative influences that could deter WellTraveled Scholars from their travel ambitions. Charles and I have learned from experience that distractions come in all shapes and sizes, so we thought it would be helpful to share some initial questions to introduce you to the WellTraveled Airplane Zone.

  1. Who is in your circle? The people who you choose to spend time with is one of the most important decisions in life and even has a bearing on your motivation to see the world. While many of your peers may share your desire to see the world, others may not and may go as far as to discourage you away from your travel goals. Recognize that there is beauty in diversity of opinion but hold true to your travel ambitions. Seek out meaningful friendships with those who will encourage you and will search for ways that you all can support one another to accomplish your goals.
  2. How do you spend your free time? Today’s culture is overladen with TV shows, movies, and video games that can soak up hours, days, and even weeks of your free time. The Bureau of Labor Statistics found in the 2016 American Time Use Survey that “watching TV was the leisure activity that occupied the most time”. Youth and adults alike invest significant portions of their leisure time in daily screen watching and many are completely unconcerned with how that time could be better spent. Time management is one of the components that we highlight with our students and it cannot be overlooked here. Each day we have the opportunity to decide how we will spend those 24 hours and if an activity is distracting us from our goals more than it is equipping us to achieve them, we must make the tough choice on what is more important.
  3. What thoughts are you harboring? In a previous blog post entitled Your Mind is Not Your Friend, Charles emphasized the importance of guarding your mind from harboring negative thoughts. When it comes to pursuing our travel goals, we can defeat ourselves by holding on to excuses about why we will never be able to travel and how we don't even know where to start. Before even attempting the journey to become WellTraveled, some can already count themselves out by dwelling on defeating thoughts. Instead of this, follow the tips on the art of setting goals and practice personal affirmation statements on how you can achieve your travel goals rather than all the ways that they are impossible.

So, what do you think? Are you up for a shift in perspective and ready to enter the WellTraveled Airplane Zone?

Educators/Parents - Help your students and children walk through each of the questions above and answer this follow up question - what steps must I take to lock into my WellTraveled Airplane Zone?

Students - What does your WellTraveled Airplane Zone look like? What changes do you need to make to get there?

Stay Educated. Stay Empowered. Stay WellTraveled.