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Clouds from plane

Clouds (or: what happens to us at 30,000 feet)

by Emiel Van Den Boomen

You are in a plane. Right after take-off the plane reaches cruising altitude. High above the clouds, where the sun always shines, something happens to us. We get tired, but it’s a pleasant kind of tiredness. It’s like our mind immediately grasps the opportunity to take a break.

High up in the sky; no more down-to-earth worries.


My plane takes off from Düsseldorf airport (Germany). I am flying a small plane (Bombardier); 70 seats, but not all are occupied. Destination: Poznan (Poland).

We are flying above the clouds. I look around. A guy is already sleeping, unable to keep focus on the printed Powerpoint presentation he was reading just before take-off. Two ladies are reading a book and another man is desperately trying to handle a large-size newspaper without bothering his neighbor.

I look outside through the oval window and enjoy the endless tapestry of clouds. The sky above is blue, it’s almost picture perfect. From above the clouds life feels different, more peaceful.

Right after take-off my eyes quickly became heavy. I had to resist not to fall asleep immediately, because I wanted to write this post. A post about what happens to our body and mind right after take-off. Because something changes.


Far-away worries

Here is your sandwich Sir…enjoy“. A big smile from the flight attendant. I am opening my tomato, mozzarella and basil sandwich. With compliments from Lufthansa. While enjoying the food I look outside again.

High above the clouds my mind starts to drift away from all my daily worries. I remember those worries, but they seem far away now.
I don’t know why, but suddenly I also start to see images of my childhood: places I lived, people I have grown up with. Why does my mind start to reflect upon my life, to look upon the things I have achieved?

My mind is showing me images of last year’s holiday; I am wondering why my kids grow up that fast. I am thinking about all the travels that me and my wife have visited since 1993 (the year we met). We have been to many beautiful places and we are both so lucky; why do I need to get to high altitudes to start realizing that?

I am also starting to visualize new ideas, as if the shape of clouds and the endless blue inspire me. New ideas for business, new content ideas for my blog. What is happening to our mind this high above the clouds?

Well, our mind seems to just let go. High up in the air our body seems to be released from both gravity as well as our daily routines and commitments. It looks like it turns into a mode of reflection and consideration.

Tomato juice

The guy next to me is asking for tomato juice. He orders some salt and pepper to go with it. I honestly believe that only on planes people drink that much tomato juice….

I am enjoying the clouds and the clear blue sky….why can’t I stay in this place forever?


Suddenly the plane starts its descent. Immediately I start to think again about the people and meetings waiting for me in the afternoon. The worries return. My mind is changing to a another mode again.

My temporary escape above the clouds was once more fascinating. I am writing this down because I want to remember that special feeling…that feeling when I am high above the clouds; celebrating cloud escapism.

Until next time.

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Heidi Wagoner December 30, 2013 - 17:44

This is great Emiel, you took me right there to that moment as well. It is some great down time. I just wish there was more space. 🙂

Emiel van den Boomen January 1, 2014 - 23:25

More space….inside the plane you mean Heidi? LOL

Heidi Wagoner January 2, 2014 - 00:18

ah yes, more space inside a plane. 🙂

Andrew Wyatt December 30, 2013 - 14:06

Really well written Emiel, I enjoyed that. It’s strange the feeling of calm that encompasses your body while flying but then almost as soon as we land everyone is desperate to collect their belongings and catch up with the stress they missed out on for the last few hours they were above the clouds.

Emiel van den Boomen January 1, 2014 - 23:26

Thanks Andrew. It is maybe also because we cannot go anywhere once we are up in the air. No stress needed…


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