The survivalist culture of airplane travel must die. This is what the future looks like, and it's a wellness lover's paradise.
The maxim goes, it’s all about the journey, not the destination. But there are few places this feels less true than a cross-continental flight. Rather than something to savor – the magic of flight! – airline travel has become an endurance experience.
First, there’s all the stuff we can’t control – sudden schedule changes, time-consuming security scrutiny, unexpected delays, those panic-inducing thoughts of missing a flight. Herded between dreary terminals (on rolling sidewalks!) and surrounded by fast food corridors and discount booze, it’s no wonder we grasp for the free cocktail, indulge in the soft serve and relent to the 24/7 cycle of in-flight movies. Given that flying has become a set-up for germs, jetlag and nauseating stress, it’s forgivable that our coping mechanisms are more numbing than nourishing.
Maybe flying isn’t rigged to intentionally undermine wellbeing, but in terms of the status quo, it certainly isn’t designed to support it. But change is in the air, according to Local Time co-founder Gabriela Delano-Stephens.
“What if the norm was feeling awake and exhilarated during your journey, not just by the destination that’s inspired your adventure?” says Delano-Stephens. “Instead of bracing for adversity, what conditions allow you to embrace the adventure?”
This flight of fancy is the impulse behind Local Time, and its lofty vision to inspire “nothing less than a travel wellness revolution.” To Delano-Stephens, this means creating a culture shift in flying, where micronutrients replace substances and travelers arrive to biophilic terminals with plants, natural light and food that nourishes wellbeing.
Futuristic as it sounds, says Delano-Stephens, “anyone who’s ever encountered Norway’s Oslo Airport can feel what’s possible when wellbeing – versus survival – is prioritized in the context of airline travel.”
And if you haven’t experienced Oslo, then picture disembarking into a terminal with living green walls, mood-enhancing plants, vaulted skylights, curved walls, fountains and natural thermal energy sources. Also, food courts with healthful options like vegi woks and fresh oysters or juice bars with oat-milk recovery drinks. While Oslo has amassed accolades for having the world’s ‘greenest airport terminal’ (soon to be the first energy positive airport city), other aviation hubs are following suit.
If ‘change starts within’ (to evoke another adage), its apropos that Local Time makes its debut with a supplement series called flight pack, plant-based micronutrients designed to “rebalance the impact of flying on the body and optimize wellbeing before, during and after a flight.” The Local Time mission of “micronutrients with macro impact” ultimately extends from seed to supplement, from personal wellness to planetary wellbeing. Couple this with the prospect of soaring between an ever-growing list of eco-centric airports, and the notion of ‘travel wellness’ doesn’t seem so contradictory.
If Delano-Stephens has her way, reclaiming the journey-as-destination mantra is a poetic invitation.
By Welling Savo Justin