Travel People Watching: Beats, Braids, Booze and Beads


The smell is so overpowering; it comes from two rows forward. It is a good smell, but in such a large dose, it becomes a threat to me. Sometimes strong perfume triggers a migraine for me. Sensing the situation deserves a little offense, I reach for the pain reliever.

I love to fly. There is such diversity on an airplane, more so when flying overseas, but a national flight will provide a beautiful collage of colors, textures, smells, sounds – some louder than others – some screechier; some smoother; and surely some snorers.

There are passengers donning their Beats enjoying the tunes. Some choose to watch a movie to pass the time. Others determined to get ahead – or perhaps catch up – are frantically typing away while others are snoozing and some are snoring! A few strike up conversations with their travel companions while others meet for the first time and share their story.

Are you interested in the story when you meet someone on a plane? Do you ask questions? Which ones: What do you do for a living? Where do you come from? Where are you going? Business or pleasure? Who do you leave behind or who are you meeting up with?

Everyone has a story. Some are more eager to share theirs. Some are sure to make it obvious they do not want you near their story. There is a variety of ways that you can sit one inch from another person and keep your space personal:
Don’t make eye contact.
Keep busy in your newspaper, smart phone, or laptop.
Probably the surest is to put on headphones and don’t make eye contact.
I make it my goal to get the ‘story” 🙂 Yes, I am that type! I love people and I love unique stories.

This trip is over a 2,000 mile journey. I have shared stories with a woman who met the founder of my first career company. He ran for president years ago. I have held a high regard for him because the company was run with integrity under his leadership. He is a man who worked diligently; served our country by way of military service; honored veterans; philanthropic and certainly an entrepreneur (having run many large corporations).

Now there are all sorts of giggles happening, and oh yes, it is in the row with the powerful perfume. Not sure if the two things are related, but I am curious.

I have shared stories with a pilot going home for a month long motorcycle tour. He gregariously showed me pictures of past trips he took. I was so inspired by the sights he had seen with his small group of riding partners. He explained that it was an annual tradition for him. He was always the main ingredient to these trips which often times included new members and some seasoned. He enjoyed determining the locations a year in advance; mapping out each stop and sight to see along the way. He would be free flying in the wind for three weeks, just a quick stop at home in the Carolinas to gather up his bike and belongings to get him through. He shared another part of his story, he had a passion to help wounded warriors so he had created a website and had begun raising funds to help out American service men who had been wounded in action. This was a big man, I am guessing well over 300 pounds, with a big heart to go along with his frame. He didn’t catch much of my story and that is okay. I know my story, so I would rather spend time hearing your story anyhow. But it was funny because at one point he says, “You’re not one of those Bible thumpers so let me tell you this story…..” Perhaps if he knew my story, he might not have? 🙂 If Bible thumping is reading mine daily….than count me in. I listened to his story. He doesn’t like people pushing the Bible on him. Neither do I. So I didn’t.

But I can’t help but talk about God, because he is at the heart of my story. He gives me my heartbeat, he has already written my story I am just looking to him to help me walk it out. Some days I don’t listen so well and those days are a little to a lot more difficult! The days when I get up early enough to hear from the Lord first are generally the best days. They are the ones that allow me to sit graciously next the precious new person and listen to her story even when she is not at all interested in mine.

So the guy in front of me who downed the two booze bottles is now snoring, next to the woman in braids. The woman to my left is typing frantically on her laptop, the woman to my right is sleeping, so I think I will shut my eyes for a while too.

That is, until I hear a snore and am mortified to learn it came from me! Perhaps it was just a gasp for air….to be safe… Back to work I go. And a little more story gathering when my window seatmate takes a break.


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