“A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving.”
– Lao Tzu
Yesterday I touched down in five countries in one day; Portugal, Spain, England, Canada and the U.S. The photo I posted today is of a fellow traveler asleep next to an Emigrates Airline ad. The reality of travel versus the fantasy.
But those hours spent on the road offer the gift of talking with strangers who for a few minutes, or hours become friends.
Like the young German woman in front of me on the long Iberia check-in line. We noticed each other’s braids and she demonstrated on me different ways braid my hair. When she reached the counter she was there for a second and then ran off. I saw her ten minutes later with her head hung low. “My flight to Madrid was on another airline. I missed my flight by five minutes. I need a hug.”
The Scottish man I talked with at the Madrid airport said he was pro Brexit. He summed it up this way, “Make pretend I give you 20 pounds, but you only give me 6 pounds back. That’s bad business. The UK has given more than it gets back for long enough.”
From Madrid to Heathrow I sat next to a British couple. They went to Madrid to celebrate the wife’s birthday. On the first day there the husband had a bag stolen from under a restaurant table with her birthday gift cards and money in it. “That put a damper on the trip,” he said. “Just like Brexit is putting a damper on life in the UK. I don’t care which way the vote goes at this point. I just want it done with.”
From Heathrow to Vancouver, I sat next to an elderly Indian woman. When she heard the flight attendant tell me the vegetarian meal I’d pre-ordered wasn’t onboard, she gave me two of her homemade roti with chutney.
My goal on such a long travel day was to be as kind and patient as possible. I give myself four out of five stars. Being kind goes a long way when we’re sitting in a tin can far above the world, and there’s nothing we can do but hope we arrive where we want to go.