By Andrew Quach
Coordinator, Government and Industry Affairs
After growing up outside of Los Angeles, CA and attending college in-state, I moved to Washington, D.C to live and work in the center of American politics. Although living in our nation’s capital was always a dream, relocating proved more difficult than anticipated. One hurdle I encountered was air travel. Despite the infamous Los Angeles traffic I was all too familiar with, I was never burdened with air travel to see family and friends. Thankfully, with the help of paper, I’ve learned the best tips and tricks for making it back across country for the birthdays, holidays and other special moments I don’t want to miss.
From the very beginning of my trip home, paper plays a central role. An important lesson I’ve learned is to always print your boarding pass. If you’ve ever tried to rely solely on a digital ticket, you know the anxiety that comes as you’re waiting in line with delays to board the plane and your phone battery is in the red zone. After a close call with my phone nearly dying before I was able to board my flight, I now always elect to print my boarding pass, even if it’s only as a backup. Having the paper option relieves some of the stress of traveling and allows me to use my phone for other purposes.
The usefulness of paper doesn’t stop at the gate. While many flights offer internet connection, it is often expensive and far from reliable. Rather than deal with the frustration of spotty internet service, I opt to spend the five hours from Washington to Los Angeles reading a new book. These days, most of the words I read are filtered through a screen, but it’s refreshing to have the opportunity to hold a physical book in my hands. On my most recent trip back home, I opted to explore Bruce Handy’s Wild Things, a book discussing the joys of reading children’s literature as an adult. I had just barely passed page 200 when I felt the plane descending.
In a blink of an eye, I was back at LAX, waiting to board my flight back to Washington. The few days I was able to spend with my loved ones never seem to last long enough; it can feel that way for them as well. Too often, saying things like “I love you,” is relayed through an impersonal blue text box in a generic font. My parents know that too. That’s why every time they drop me off at the airport, they leave me with a hand-written letter. They’re never too lengthy, nor are they especially complex. Usually, these letters are just reminders not to spend too much time in front of the computer, to eat healthy meals and to call my grandparents. But they always end the same way: with an “I love you.”
Paper plays an invaluable part in helping me stay connected with my loved ones. From the start, my paper boarding pass helps alleviate some of the stress of air travel. During my flight, a paper book helps pass the time. When my time back home is over, and I’m starting to miss my loved ones again, that letter from my parents gives me a piece of them to hold on to even when we’re thousands of miles apart.