A Traveler Under Open Sky

70.6 Hours.

47 Flights.

2 years, 3 months, 19 days.

Dozens of books read.

Hundreds of podcasts listened to and YouTube videos watched.

Thousands of hours spent studying, thinking, dreaming, planning.

Years of an obsession that only some understood.

On August 3, 2017, I took to the sky a certificated student pilot. I landed a certificated private pilot.

It is telling that your pilot’s license never technically expires. Aviation is a lifelong passion, a chronic infection of the soul, and the certification process reflects that. I’ll have to do certain things to legally remain able to fly myself and passengers, but I will be a card-carrying pilot for the rest of my life.

I will forever be a student of aviation, and I am now free to explore on my own. I am free to cast off the lines and rise with the shimmering heat, to trace nature’s map and read the story of man from above. It took me 35 years of dreaming to get here, and now, to paraphrase Beryl Markham, the air has taken me into its realm; it has enveloped me entirely, leaving me out of touch with the earth, living in space with the stars.