I hear it first, and close my eyes. Then I feel the rumble. The roar of the engine. I feel the power of the jets on my back, and soon I'm hurtling through the atmosphere at hundreds of miles per hour.
One slip by the pilot could lead us plummeting to a fiery death, but I don't push this thought out of my mind. It's exhilarating. Flying is one of my favorites parts of travel.
I always choose the window seat. I pull up my favorite music on my laptop and make photos with my iPhone. Eventually, I know, the plane will turn and a ray of light will sweep over the table in front of me and across my chest. This project is my attempt to see something different than the countless bored travelers who have taken a photo out the window of a plane.
Interesting things happen to me on planes. I discuss photojournalism and advertising with the creative director of Arby's commercials. Our engine gives out. I get drunk off the Turkish Airline's free wine with friends, and discover my favorite movie.
Once, I found myself flying into the world's most dangerous airport in the lower Himalayas. Turbulence threw our tiny plane up and down until I thought I would fly out of my seat. We drove straight down into a valley, and there was no turning back as we approached the runway cut into the side of a mountain at an 8 degree angle.
Our Sherpa guide, who had made the flight dozens of times, sat next to me. While he mumbled Buddhist prayers and clutched his seat for dear life, I couldn't stop grinning. We made eye contact, and I'm sure he thought I was laughing at him.
Really, I just felt alive. There's something about airplanes.