“It’s going to be about an hour and a half before we take off.”
Those are the last words anyone wants to hear while seated in a cramped plane cabin. Correction, those are the second to last words you want to hear… only behind “The plane is going down.”
There was a collective groan as my fellow passengers and I came to grips with the reality of the situation. As a seasoned traveler, I knew an hour and a half could easily turn into three. We’ve all seen the Thirty Rock episode.
In the case of this morning, it turned into four and a half hours.
In the midst of it all, they made us change planes, which only prolonged our experience but probably was a good thing because it got us moving around. The surprising part of it all was that, for the most part, everyone handled it civilly.
I’ve written before about how I don’t sweat this stuff. It often leads to interesting experiences you would have otherwise missed, so in a way I kind of enjoy it. Today was no exception.
After schlepping our bags back and forth to two different gates on opposite ends of the airport’s longest concourse while the airline figured out what plane they wanted to put us on, I got to know a few of the people on my flight. As we settled into our new gate to wait for our new plane, I started chatting with a young man from New Zealand.
I was completely fascinated by his story and, admittedly, a little jealous. He’s a chef who is making his way around North America, working in different restaurants and learning his craft.
“You’ll never regret traveling,” he told me in his thick accent after I mentioned how I’ve wanted to visit Australia and New Zealand. “Seriously, you gotta do it.”
We engaged in a fun conversation from there about everything from music to foodd to photography. It made the time fly, even if our plane didn’t. Talking to this young chef, I was inspired.
The photo to the left showed up in my Facebook feed this morning. It’s a philosophy I’ve been thinking a lot about lately that I really connected with when I saw it in writing. In so many things in life, it seems like there’s always some kind of end goal you are “supposed” to reach and no one is really paying attention to the path takes to get there. Go to college, get a job, get married, have kids, the end.
I’ve never been motivated to fulfill that goal in that way and I’ve often been frustrated because I could never put my finger on why. Then, today, it clicked. I’m genuinely more interested in the story… and not overly concerned about reaching that mythical end goal. Am I saying I don’t want to get married or have kids? That’s not what I’m saying at all. But I have no desire to settle into that traditional model. Perhaps that’s why I could never make myself settle into something that was just “okay.”
So, what does that mean? Does it mean I’m going to up and go spend two months in a foreign country on the other end of the world. Maybe. Maybe not. I don’t think it needs to be that drastic (but it could be). What I do know is that up until recently, I’ve been an observer… fascinated by other people’s stories and not really adding anything of substance to my own.
This experience of finally coming into my own over the past couple of years is exciting and scary. I’m more motivated than ever to make my story worth writing about.
The things you learn while delayed at an airport on a cold February day….