The worst turbulence I’ve ever experienced was in an Alaskan bush plane, flying over a snowy mountain range to land on a remote beach to go surfing.* There was one other guy on the plane, who just so happened to be the nephew of one of the Miracle In The Andes survivors. He wasn't too stoked when I brought that up mid-flight.

Another time, in Indonesia, some friends and I were taking a 12 seater from Medan to the island of Simeulue for a surf trip. We shook the hands of the young, Western pilots and asked, “how’d you end up here?”

“It’s the only place that’ll hire you without any experience,” one replied.


I’m writing this on a relatively small airplane, heading to a remote Indonesian island. There are 20 rows, 2 seats on each side of the aisle. The safety card playing peek-a-boo in the seat back says it’s an ATR72-500/600. Whatever that means.

Thinking of all this makes me think that the smaller the plane is, the bigger the adventure ahead.

This island we’re going to has been dreamily described to us as “like Bali 50 years ago," but also with warnings like, “just don’t eat the roadside meat. It is probably dog.”

It reminds me why we look a little farther on the map. Why comfort is not always the goal. It’s the excitement we find in places only small planes go, where the roads are bumpy and it's best to order fish.


*All for a Mountain Dew commercial, randomly enough.