Window shades open!

When I was a young boy of maybe six or seven years old I rode in a sleeper on The Overland night train between Melbourne and Adelaide. I didn’t sleep. Instead I peered out of the window the entire night watching the world go past.

I still do.

Be it plane, train, boat or just walking I look out.

I always try to get the window seat.

People who shut the window shades piss me off.

The world outside is too interesting to ignore.

If there is something to see then what’s the point of sleeping through it? Besides which, I can’t sleep in planes night or day. The best I can do is doze off for a short while and I doze best in bright sunlight. You want darkness? Use eyeshades.

Is my window interfering with your screen? Do you watch television in complete darkness at home? Why are you wasting your life watching the same things you could watch at home anyway and probably on a much bigger and nicer screen?

Sure I might watch a bit in the middle of the night, across the ocean or in the tunnel of a daily commute. But I’m always taking a peek outside.

Why are you travelling anyway? To sit in a room shuffling papers, to go shopping or just to get drunk?

Or are you out to see new places in the world? That’s what I’m doing. I’m exploring.

And yes that cloudscape is interesting. It’s beautiful. Or it’s scary and I’m looking outside so I know what’s causing those bumps. I don’t like bumps, but I do like knowing when they are about to hit.

I’m watching coral reefs like artworks in the sea, the flashes of lightning in a storm cloud. A glittering city like a jewel or Hell, an apartment block that wasn’t there before. A bridge emerging from the mist. Volcanic mountains towering so high they seem to almost touch us. Fractal floodplains filled a couple of times in my life. A fireball exploding across the sky. A stark and war torn desert land too dangerous to set foot in.

I’m seeing all that and more.

If you are the jaded type who doesn’t care for any of this then by all means put your eye shades on or bury yourself in some other entertainment. Drink or drug yourself and forget you are alive. But don’t spoil it for those of us who love and appreciate the universe for what it is.

A fascinating, beautiful and ever changing place.

Keep the window shades open.

Sunset approaching Singapore

The Sanin Coast, Japan

Coral reefs from above

The Australian desert

Storm clouds in Malaysia

Taipei at night

Sunset from the Sydney Harbour Bridge (train)

Flying over Afghanistan
Lightning over the Pacific
An acceptable compromise (electrochromatic window shades on a Boeing 787-8)

P.S. I also believe babies and children have a right to fly and I’m happy to fly both Boeing and Airbus (though Boeing is currently ahead with electrochromatic window shades!)

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