This note is the tenth letter in the 104-days-of-summer-vacation series. You can also follow the full twitter thread here, and leave any thoughts and comments that might come up!
There are 1765 kilometers which separate Singapore and India, and I made that trip today in less than 4 hours. We take the speeds at which we can get around for granted these days, the opportunity to make new memories in old places is precious.
As I left the airport and made my way back to the house where I grew up, everything still felt the same. There’s something deeply comforting about the static nature of where I grew up, a small town called Virudhunagar. I’m reminded of the summers I’ve spent collecting interesting-looking rocks in the small villages which surround it.
I’ll be spending 10 days here with my grandparents, 10 out of the 365 days that we have in the year. It is worth noting as an aside, we spend the most of the time we will ever get to spend with our parents when we are young.
The average age of moving out is about 27 years old. Assuming that each of us make a genuine effort to spend 2 weeks of time with our parents every year, and that they live a long healthy life, at the time of moving out we’ve already spent over 85% of the all the time we will ever spend with them.
That hits a little hard, and hopefully even inspires you, my dear reader, to spend just that little more time with them.
When I met up with my friends yesterday, I realized that some of them haven’t seen each other since the previous year. It took me traveling across half the world, to bring this amazing and wonderful group of people together again. That’s beautiful, the power of the plane to unite old friends, and bring together families.
There’s been conversation recently about sustainability and the scaling back of the use of planes. It’s indeed true that planes are terrible polluters, and we desperately need a solution to minimize the carbon emissions from planes. At the same time, beautiful human experiences like this are enabled by planes, and I really don’t want to deprive people of the joy of flying.
In Making energy too cheap to meter, Ben Reinhardt talks of energy superabundance, where he asserts that access to clean and near unlimited amounts of energy is the key for civilizational progress. To fly around the world in a metal can, is the clearest and closest thing to magic, and to scale it back would be to take away a true modern marvel. Energy superabundance says we might not have to if we focus on solving the right problems.
When I was 12, I asked my dad for a radio controlled plane - I was mystified by those tiny things that cut through the air. Planes were my first technological love, I’m not sure I’ll be where I am today if not for them. And I’m prepared to fight to keep them around and accessible for as many people as possible. I hope that this short letter might convince you too.