Friends in High Places


The sunrise was golden. The mountains were beautiful. The plane was cutting smoothly through the crisp air. That’s when my friend, sitting next to me on the small plane, handed me his bag and reached for a sick sack. We were pretty high up, around 8,000 feet, and the small planes MAF flies in Papua don’t help much with motion sickness at all. I tried to do my best to lend a hand by listing off all the tips I’d learned from my extensive personal experience:

MAF planes are well-stocked with motion sickness bags … in case you ever find yourself aboard one.

MAF planes are well-stocked with motion sickness bags … in case you ever find yourself aboard one.

  • Lean over
  • Don’t be afraid to gag a few times
  • Don’t close the bag when you think you’re done—you might not be.

And most important:

  • Don’t throw up on me!

An hour later, he was kissing the ground and we were laughing. I was glad to be there for my friend when he needed it, because, really, I was just passing on the love.

Two days earlier I’d been in the same spot, head between my knees, as my pilot, Kevin Lynne, fought through cloudy weather at 11,000 feet. A virtue of all MAF pilots I’ve flown with is their instant friendship with all their passengers. Uncle Kevin didn’t let me down; instead he helped me get over my turbulent stomach with his own helpful tips (and more than a few witty comments that kept me entertained). I was grateful to hop back onto land after an hour of flying.

So I was able to relate to my friend’s discomfort and glad I could be there for him. After all, as I’ve learned, friendship isn’t confined to a certain place (high or low). And everyone can use a friend—especially in high places!

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