My trip back to Charlotte from Geneva was a bit hectic. I was rerouted, re ticketed under the wrong name, and my luggage decided to extend it’s holiday and stay in London for the weekend. The long flight from LHR to CLT turned out to to be quite pleasant – the staff were generous with the alcohol, the plane wasn’t decrepit, and I had a great Brit named James sitting next to me.
James is an engineer from Bristol, and he loves Charlotte. He has spent a lot of time in Fort Mill, South Carolina and shares the same feeling about this area as I do – the city itself doesn’t have anything particularly exciting, its the people that we have met here that keep us coming back. James has traveled the world and wanted to hear about my travels. He also inspired me to throw Egypt back on the travel list.
Throughout the flight James continuously assured me that he would eventually shut up and not talk my ear off for the entire flight. While he was making these statements I laughed to myself, thinking of my blog post where I stated that I prefer my neighbors to be polite yet mute, and for them not to encroach on my strange in flight activities. He later emailed me and cited that exact excerpt.
James had quite the sense of humor and kept his promise that he would not get up a million times (I had the aisle seat). I felt comfortable enough around James that I didn’t hesitate to start drinking at 11am (I had actually started a bit earlier at the airport) and I enjoyed his conversation. Yes, sometimes I prefer to have a mute seat mate but it was nice to have someone interesting to talk to that day. He also seemed to really appreciate my stories. James told me that he was sure that I would end up famous someday. I told him that I hoped it would be for writing a book.
I gave James the link to my blog and the next day I received a very well thought out response from him, including the aforementioned cite to my blog. I was rather impressed by his response.
James, you were wonderful to sit next to, and I enjoyed the conversation. Thank you for making me feel so interesting! It is always wonderful to meet a kindred spirit. And no, I didn’t think you were misspelling words in your email, some of my most favourite people add “u’s” where (according to Americans……) they don’t belong. Love it.
Thank you for not judging my alcohol intake, and I’m sorry for the beer cans everywhere. I don’t usually drink beer on planes, but for some reason it felt right that day. Perhaps i was inspired by the French (were they French?) guys decked out in Houston Texans gear having a proper tailgate in the rows (not seats, as they stood for the duration of the flight) ahead of us.
Here’s the takeaway: traveling isn’t just about the destination. Some of the coolest people I’ve met and most interesting experiences I’ve had, have happened on planes, buses, and in airports. Just because you’re on a plane headed for home does not mean your adventure is over.
Embrace all of it.