strangers

Plane Friends

Over the past few years of travel and many flights… I’ve noticed there are two kinds of people on airplanes:

1. the person you sit next to who wants to talk
2. and the person you sit next to who doesn’t want to talk
 
I’ve always been the second person. I have a routine I follow when I travel. I checkin in on my phone, I have my 1 travel bag filled with my essentials: laptop, charger, book, journal, phone, protein bar. I hate getting to the airport early; I breeze through pre-check. Then I go pee. I get a water bottle, I put my headphones in and my sunglasses on. I get to the gate, walk on the plane, sit down with my “don’t bother me” face. If there’s wifi I work, if I can’t work, I read or listen to an audio book, and if it’s a long ass flight I try to sleep OR If I have a plane question (see post here) I’ll journal on my plane question. I try to make my flight time as productive as possible so I don’t lose hours in the air.
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One of my best friends, Heather, she’s the opposite of me. She’s the other type of plane person. Every plane she gets on she always has a story for me about the person she met at the airport or sat next to on the plane. It’s always entertaining and she’s always happy with whomever she meets.

Earlier this year, I decided I was going to be the other type of plane person. I decided I was going to take my sunglasses off, not immediately put headphones in or read until wifi is available. I put my “more approachable” face on and I sit down in my seat.

This year I’ve made 3 plane friends and couldn’t have been happier with each person who has sat next to me on some of my flights. I’ve learned something new from each of them and felt connected to people I wouldn’t normally talk to or have little to nothing in common with. I think it’s amazing we start out as strangers at the beginning of the flight and just a few hours later become friends. The best part is how the conversation starts with each plane friend. It’s almost as if the universe put these people next to me on my plane knowing I set out to make plane friends this year (#intention.)

Friend #1: The plane is running late and this girl my age runs on and sits right next to me. I notice 15 minutes into the flight she had cactus earrings that match perfectly with my cactus shirt I as wearing (I love cacti btw, my favorite plant.) I tell her I love her earrings and she says “AH I wanted to tell you I love your shirt but you looked like one of those “don’t talk to me” people on a plane.” I literally burst out laughing and tell her all about my plan for all my flights going forward and how I’m setting out to make plane friends. Hours later after sharing each other’s life stories and everything in between she said she was happy to be my first official plane friend. We exchanged contact info and follow each other on instagram. #missionaccomplished

Friend #2: My seat is next to this guy in his late 50s on a conference call. He’s rushing off the call because we are about to take off. As I’m about to ask him what he does for a living he asks me if I drive a motorcycle because of my leather jacket (LOL – my resting bitch face is softening up yay!) Hours later after talking about what we do, what’s important to us, and sharing travel stories and recommendations – Halfway through he tells me he has a fake death sentence. He has some rare blood deficiency that at any moment could make him sick and he would die within a few months. He flies once a month to this specialist in NYC who tests his blood to make sure he’s still fine EVERY MONTH. Ever since he found out about it he’s been living differently. He has started and run multiple companies in his life and he stepped down in majority of them to enjoy travel more. He travels all over the world now and works a minimal amount. He goes on these crazy rock climbing and hiking trips with his daughter who’s my age. That wasn’t even the most interesting thing about him… it was that he hangs out with homeless people in Denver, CO just for fun.

Friend #3: It flight was a red eye from Honolulu to Minneapolis so I sat down and fell asleep. Upon waking up I realized the guy sitting next to me looks like he could be my brother… red hair and freckles galore. He looks like he’s in the military. I ask him if he’s coming from home or going to home. He says he’s visiting back home. I learn the town he’s from in Wisconsin has 1200 people in it…total. I explain my high school had 2,000 people in it. He grew up on a farm. Not like the farm I think of like a handful of chickens, cows and a few horses. I’m talking like 600 cows they milk EVERY DAY. Talk about different lives growing up. He starts telling me he hunts right out his backyard and last year he got attacked by a bear but only had to get 12 stitches like its no big deal… UM WHAT. He’s in the marine corps because that’s what every generation before him has done. They enroll right after high school and then they move back home and work on the farm the rest of their life. I was shocked. How can you not want do something different and explore the world? He said he loves where he is from and is so excited to get out of the marines and go back to his families farm. It’s his dream.

Three plane friends down – many more to go.

If you are person type 2 on planes I say for fun make it a point to make a friend on your next flight. See what happens. You never know who your sitting next to.

Happy flying!

-Ginger Out

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