words by George Bieker | Photos by Henry O. Head

“...it is against federal regulations to tamper with or disable the lavatory smoke detector.”

The words echo throughout the cabin.

I snap back to reality.

In my over caffeinated state, palms sweating and mind racing, I recall how much I dislike flying. In all honesty it may be my the most stressful part of my life. Don't get me wrong I am amazed by modern aeronautics but something about flying at 38,000 feet in a pressurized tube hurling through space at 600 mph puts me on edge every damn time. But something, something makes it worth it.

In traveling there is willingness to explore new things, to adventure, to understand that with new experience comes new perspectives. That no matter how much we prepare or plan, something unexpected always happens. Whether we travel to experience new cultures or new places I know that I will always return home changed. Many times I think that's why I chose this path and thus deal with the inevitable fear of flying...

You would think by now as a traveling climber and guide I would be used to it. I’m not. In all seriousness, flying will probably always stress me out. In fact, it may be one of the only things that does. But alas, after all the travel peanuts and too much coffee, the flight inevitably comes to a close and its time for an adventure to unwind. Here's what I have learned that aids in making the rest of my days as stress free as possible.

Tip #1: Always bring a coffee mug or thermos. Not only will your caffeine addiction be much cheaper, but you will protect Mother Earth from the trash produced by all those disposable cups and straws. My new Miir x Fayettechill Mug was perfect for the airplane, campsite, and nearly everywhere else.

Tip #2: Never forget business cards. Whether you have a business or not you never know who you might meet or where.That person sitting beside you at the terminal may be your next business partner, long lost cousin, or new best friend. In life, many times opportunities arise because of who you know not what you know.

Tip #3: A wise friend of mine once said, “You never regret a swim”. In the 5 years since hearing that statement I have yet to prove him wrong. Whether in the desert or in the mountains I have always felt renewed after a plunge. Not only is it a free bath it’s a way of approaching life. “Just jump in”. Need some stylish shorts & trunks? Look no further than the recycled polyester Davey shorts

Tip #4: Throw down the money for a subscription to a music service like Spotify. Not only will you enjoy ad free listening in-town but you can take your music with you literally anywhere. Short of practiced meditation I can think of no better way to center your chakras in the stress of the 21st century.

Tip #5: Go for it. Whether it's complimenting a stranger on their t-shirt or talking to someone because you find them interesting I dare you to take the chance. In an age of technology human interaction and compassion is what we need. You may just make their day. Worried about making a fool of yourself? Hakuna Matata...they probably won't ever see you again anyways.

 

George Bieker is a Fayettechill athlete as an avid rock climber, mountain guide, and traveler. He is currently working for the American Alpine Institute in Bellingham, WA. For more information or to follow his adventures visit georgebieker.com or @george_bieker.

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