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Woman's Mom Explains Why She Sits Silently For Hours On International Flights Without Even A Pair Of Headphones — 'I'm 61, Just Chill'

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woman sitting silently on airplane, no distractions

If you're like most people, your carry-on bag for a flight is full to the brim with a gazillion different ways to pass the seemingly interminable torture of a plane ride, especially if it's a long international flight. 

But one woman has gone viral for the way she approaches this in the completely opposite way by bringing nothing at all. Her attitude about it really says something about the way all our electronic devices have changed our lives and why it might be time for us to take a page out of her book.

A travel influencer's mom sits silently on flights, even long international ones, without even a pair of headphones.

If you're anything like me, just the very notion of this is making your skin start to itch and your breath quicken. Not even a pair of headphones? Like... just... sitting there?! Listening to the hum of the plane?! Personally, I'd start trying to break my way through the little airplane window. 

But that's how one TikTok travel influencer's mom rolls, every time, no matter how long the trip. The influencer, Sophi Cooke, known as @cookestraveltok on the app, recently shared a video of her mom Pat doing what she called "raw dogging" her recent flight to Europe with nothing to entertain her but... her own thoughts?



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Over the footage of her mom just chilling, the influencer wrote that her mom's "beige flag" is that she "raw dogs every flight, no matter how long." Noting that the flight in question was nine hours long, she went on to say her mom had "no iPad, no headphones, no book."

At first when I saw this video, I noted that Pat is clearly watching a movie so this isn't strictly "raw dogging" — and then I noticed it's not a movie she's watching at all. It's just the plane's map screen that shows you the time and temperature and ETA of the flight!

Pat explained that rather than be entertained, she sits silently on flights with her thoughts and just 'chills.'

Now, I hear what you're saying: "So what? When I fly I like to just look out the window." Okay, fine, but this is an international flight, at night, over the ocean. Look out the window at what?!

Pat really is doing something different here, and after the video of her "raw dogging" her flights went viral on not just TikTok but Twitter too, Cooke made a follow-up video in which Pat explained why she prefers to travel in silence.



"Okay, so here's my rationale," Pat said. "I'm 61 years old, I appreciate the downtime." Okay, but what are you doing with those nine hours of downtime, Pat? "Think about your goals. Maybe your regrets, maybe your fantasies. And just chill!" Pat, I say this with all the love and respect in the world: Absolutely not!

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Though, to be fair, Pat added that even she relies on a few external stimuli: "obviously wine and chocolate." (Okay, now you're talking!) But booze and sweets aside, people on TikTok were definitely shaken up by Pat's method.

"Your mom is built different," one person wrote, while another exclaimed, "Hust alone with her thoughts?!" Others joked that they too do this all the time... when they're dissociating. (Same, to be honest!)

But not everyone was turned off by the idea. Many thought it sounded like a nice escape, with one person with ADHD saying they'd "love 9 hours to think, reflect and recharge!" And it turns out, science says Pat might be on to something too.

Pat's approach and the reaction it garnered shows just how uncomfortable we've all become with silence — and it's harming our mental health.

If you're of a certain age, you remember a time back before cellphones where we all did quite a lot of what Pat is doing on her long plane rides — just sitting, quietly, with nothing but our thoughts. We did it in traffic, we did it in waiting rooms, we did it restaurant tables while waiting for our friends to turn up. This used to just be... normal.

But now, nearly all of us have lost this skill. The minute more than a few seconds go by, we pull out the phone or iPad and entertain ourselves. And studies have shown pretty conclusively that that's really, really bad for us.

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Psychologists say that the constant stimuli provided by our devices not only overstimulates us, exhausting our brains, but it also insulates us from life's small uncertainties, like what to do with ourselves during the uncomfortable silence of a waiting room or, yes, even a flight, which makes even bigger stressors feel even more difficult to handle when they come along (roughly every five minutes it seems nowadays).

The data is pretty clear on how this is impacting us. A 2022 survey by the American Psychological Association found that more than a quarter of Americans are so stressed they can't function, and incidences of anxiety and depression have been increasing for years, starting long before the stressful political upheavals and pandemics of our current era.

And when it comes to helping remedy this? Mental health professionals say mindfulness practices are among the greatest tools we have, from meditation and breathing exercises to — you guessed it — simply sitting in silence with your thoughts. "Raw dogging" life for a few minutes a day, if you will. (Medication and therapy help too, of course.)



Personally, I'm still never setting foot on a plane without my noise-canceling headphones and a minimum of 15 downloaded episodes of at least five different "Real Housewives" franchises. But we might all benefit from re-learning — or learning for the first time ever, for the younger among us — how to just sit in stillness and silence like Pat does now and then.

And when all else fails, there's always wine and chocolate. 

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John Sundholm is a news and entertainment writer who covers pop culture, social justice and human interest topics.