i travel alot.
not often, per se, but when i do i travel far. at the bare minimum i travel 30,000 miles in order to keep my gold status on American Airlines and maintain the privilege of boarding first and using the express First Class/Business Class lanes at the security check...woo hoo!
At times, I travel without notifying anyone in my family. I mean I am 26 years old and a facebook or twitter update should suffice as adequate notification. Sure my mother would be notified if my plane never made it to its destination but what if nothing was every recovered of me if my flight went wrong? No piece of clothing? A laptop? No body? As we have seen by Air France 447 from Rio to Paris things don't always go as planned.
Since 2003, after a rough landing in São Paolo, I have maintained a ritual of touching the outside of every plane that I board. From large 747's to Embraer regional jets I always tap four fingers on the planes twice and then drag three fingers down below the four finger taps, for a total of 11 touches. Each touch of the plane represents a letter. 11 touches, 11 letters that spell out I-L-OV-E-Y-O-U-M-O-M. I figure the outside of an airplane is alot more resilient to fire and high-impact crashes than a human body.
So if one day, my flight takes off over the Pacific or the Atlantic, and never makes it to its destination she will always have the main cabin doorway with 11 of my fingerprints on it, even if their is no more physical me to speak of. One last momento to let her know that her son never forgets her no matter where in the world his passport takes him...