Call me shallow, but one of my great pleasures airborne is peering through my cabin window to the outside world. I love the thrill of take offs and pressurization, of seeing my city zooming out by the second, of reaching that perfect altitude and soaring just a little above the clouds. Sometimes my heart thumps out of anxiety, and my eardrums feel pierced and I have to force myself to yawn or chew candy, but I never let the view get out of my sight. It’s a surreal experience every time, the marvelous feat of engineering and design and physics (geek mode), and how measured the aircraft’s movements should be in order to keep it on its path and timing, and being in sync with the natural elements (ultra geek mode). [Serious note: Is there a science show episode where they explain these things? In my imaginings I fancy flying a plane, and not as the flight attendant. I don’t think I can handle people.]

Most of the flights I’ve taken happen in the mornings or late at night. In the few times that I rudely awaken to catch an earlier morning flight (4 or 5 AM), I came to actually like, since at the very least you don’t have to book a night’s sleep at the point of destination, and you get to set a full day’s schedule upon landing.

And the very bonus side of a bleary-eyed morning flight is… SUNRISE!

It’s magical, just how you’re above a blanket of clouds and everything seems gloomy, the cabin lights are off, passengers knocked into a stupor, and then (when you’re lucky to sit at the right side of the plane) the sun starts to creep in, stealth-like but radiates its light in sequence, and just as we descend the sky is bathing in its glow. The crests of mountains appear, and the seas glisten in reflection. A brand new day awaits —¬†what a way to make this trip more infinitely promising!

As a sentimental traveler I cannot stay still without snapping pictures of such beauty before my eyes — the one above is a flawless shot of the sunrise over Kota Kinabalu‘s waters.